Posted at — Jan 1, 0001

Capital is a social formation built out of people and technology.

It is useful to think of it as an entire system, analogous to an organism.

Like an organism, it operates in the world by

  1. Taking in information.
  2. Processing that information into its internal state.
  3. Acting based on its internal state.

Broadly speaking, its parts can be divided into those that are directly part of the state, and those that are within individual firms.

Within a firm, assuming labor is sufficiently disciplined, decisions about firm behavior are typically made by executives. Overall, their decisions are motivated by

  1. The desire for success in terms of personal monetary gain and prestige.

“Learned desires” As human beings, we acquire desires that are “learned”. These are the fossilized remains of past experiences of being either disciplined or rewarded for an action. Over time, we learn associations between new states and existing desires, and then these new states become desires in and of themselves.

To give an example,

Ideologized/fetishized understandings. In practice, many actions are not driven by desires directly, but instead by thoughts/heuristics we have acquired through conscious education or the ambient culture. For example, many executives restrict their actions to a certain set due to education they received in business school, and not to an intrinsic belief that what they are doing will lead to personal gain for them.

Their decisions are typically motivated by:

  1. A desire for personal monetary or prestige gain.
  2. A desire for

However, because those within the state do not have their own independent base of power. However, …, those within the state tend to get their incentives aligned with industry over time.

those within the state tend to get captured by groups that do have independent bases of power. Usually capital