I had a bit of a eureka moment while re-reading some of Timothy Mitchell’s Carbon Democracy in preparation for writing last week’s post. It happened while perusing Mitchell’s account of the so-called Oil Shock of 1973. For those who don’t know, the Oil Shock happened when various oil-producing countries in the Middle East threatened to cut the supply of the oil to the USA due to US opposition to a peace settlement in Palestine at that time.
The official history for what happened during the Oil Shock is based on economics 101: supply went down, prices went up. What could be simpler? It’s science; a law of nature. Mitchell has a different explanation for what occurred:
Since interruptions in the supply of oil from one source could be made up from another, the embargo against the United States ‘never happened’. Other factors contributed to the sharp increase in oil prices. In the US Congress, the leader of the militarist wing of the Democratic Party, opposed to a Middle East peace settlement, introduced emergency legislation requiring the government to prepare a mechanism for fuel rationing and a programme to reduce the country’s oil consumption. Commercial users of petroleum products and the individual motorists began to panic, unnerved by the public discussion of the ‘oil weapon’ the Arabs had unleashed against the West. Uncertain about future supply, consumers purchased more petroleum than they needed. Governments worsened the problem by mismanaging the crisis, adopting emergency measures that impeded the distribution of oil and made the shortages more severe. Public debate contributed to the sense of threat, linking the oil embargo to a wider ‘energy crisis’…
My eureka moment occurred when I realised that Mitchell’s analysis of the Oil Shock was almost identical to my analysis of the corona “pandemic”. Mitchell’s point was that nobody had empirically proven that the Oil Shock was caused by an actual supply shortage of oil. In fact, no system of measurement existed which could prove such a shortage. What evidence there was suggested that there was no supply shortfall. The Oil Shock was caused by the government overreaction and a media frenzy that caused the public to panic.
If we take Mitchell’s exact paragraph and swap out the Arabs for the Chinese and the language of oil for the language of virology, it serves as a perfect summary for corona:-
Since the definition of a ‘case’ had been altered to focus on an arbitrary test not centred around actual illness, the pandemic ‘never happened’. Other factors contributed to the sharp increase in ‘cases’. Governments around the world introduced emergency legislation and embarked on mass PCR testing that created a perceived spike in ‘cases’. Hospitals and citizens began to panic, unnerved by the public discussion of the ‘bioweapon’ the Chinese had unleashed against the West by eating bat soup. Uncertain about future supply, consumers purchased more toilet paper than they needed. Governments worsened the problem by mismanaging the crisis, adopting emergency measures that impeded the distribution of cheap treatments such hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. Public debate contributed to the sense of threat, linking the ‘pandemic’ to a wider ‘climate crisis’…
Now, we might say that the eerie correlation between the “Oil Shock” of ’73 and the “pandemic” of 2020 is simply because in both cases there was panic. But there’s much more to it. In both cases, the official narrative is supposedly based in “science”. In reality, real science had nothing to with it. The basic conditions to conduct real science were not even present.
But this lack of real science was not just an omission caused by panic or an error of judgement. Something else was at play in both the Oil Shock and the “pandemic”. That something is the Technocracy. The Technocracy is to science what Macbeth is to Duncan; an imposter; an usurper; at the rate we are going, even a murderer.
In this post, I want to map out the distinction between science and Technocracy. Modern economics is the Ur-discipline of the Technocracy. It’s the one that started the whole thing. Virology is the latest addition to the team.
To clarify terms, I am not including in the definition of Technocracy all of the applied sciences like chemical engineering or other engineering disciplines. Those have a solid grounding in real science. It’s disciplines like economics and virology which belong to the Technocracy. These claim to have a grounding in science, they borrow the prestige of science, but they are a very different beast.
In order to understand how technocracy differs from science, we need to start with an explanation of what science is. What better way to do that than with the founder of modern science, Isaac Newton.
Newton was trying to account for the regular movements of the heavenly bodies. Our solar system contains thousands of celestial bodies, some more prominent than others. Out of this mesmerising display, humans have been able to find regular patterns of movement. The ancient Babylonians, Indians, Chinese and Mayans figured out that the patterns of movement would recur over enormous stretches of time. This gave rise to the study of astrology.
Finding patterns is the basis of all science. Science does not explain anything. Rather, it sets out to account for regularities in the behaviour of objects. The laws of nature are a lot like the laws of man. For any law there is a person who is willing to break the law. For any law of nature there is a set of phenomena that don’t follow the law because they have been deliberately excluded by the set of assumptions that ground the law.
Newton made a number of assumptions in developing his Law of Universal Gravitation. His genius was to simplify things down to the point where such a law could be calculated at all. The solar system contains thousands of bodies of different sizes and masses. Trying to calculate the regularities between them, the “effect” they have on each other, is an impossibility. Even with modern computers, there are too many variables. There was certainly no way Newton could calculate it by hand back in his day.
Newton re-formulated the problem by making a number of simplifications. He ignored all the other bodies of the solar system and concentrated on just the planets. He considered only pairwise interactions between the planets. And then he realised that, because the sun was so huge, he could rule out the interactions between the planets and just worry about each planet in relation to the sun. These simplifications gave him a calculable set of problems to solve and those calculations gave rise to the Universal Law of Gravitation.
Let’s call this method of simplification reductionist science. We leave out all the objects that we assume are too small to matter and focus on the big things. Note that much of historical scholarship implicitly involves the same methodology. Historians focus on the big names, the Napoleons, the Hitlers, the Alexanders and they treat all the other people as if they didn’t matter. Is that valid? Yes and no. The important point is to be conscious that it is a simplifying assumption you have made in conducting your analysis. In reality, it’s very hard to remain conscious of our assumptions. That’s why real science requires that you make your assumptions and your methodology explicit.
What about other social sciences like economics. Does the reductionist method work there? This question is of importance to our discussion because modern economics is the Ur-discipline of the Technocracy. It is the template which other technocratic disciplines like public health have followed and it increasingly sucks all legitimate science into itself like a giant intellectual black hole.
Most historical efforts to measure the “economy” have been motivated not by scholarship or science but by government’s desire to levy taxes. Measurement was done on the subsection of commerce that was worthwhile to tax such as the trade in grains (or tea, if you’re King George III). It may very well be that modern western society is the first civilisation to try and measure “the economy” as a generic object of study.
The word “economy” comes from the Greek oikonomia which means household management. In ancient Greece, as in most societies throughout history, the household produced things of value – growing vegetables, cooking, cleaning, knitting, mending etc. It was this value that oikonomia referred to and it’s fair to say that nobody in public life in ancient Greece or Rome paid the slightest bit of attention to it. On the contrary, to worry about such base matters would have been seen as highly dishonourable.
Why has our civilisation become so obsessed with “the economy”? One of the reasons is the aforementioned Newtonian revolution in physics which proved the powers of mathematics and measuring things. This really was a revolution and many scholars of that era thought of Newton as an almost godlike figure. We might, without hyperbole, liken it to a religion. Combine this obsession with measuring things with the growth of trade and the desire of governments to tax that trade and you start to see the emergence of our infatuation with “the economy” and also the rise of the nascent Technocracy.
Given this history, it’s not surprising that modern economists would formulate the problem of measuring the economy in the same way that Newton approached the problem of the celestial bodies. Just as there were too many objects in the solar system to allow calculation of all the variables, there are too many variables involved in economies. In fact, economies are way more complex than solar systems because the behaviour of human beings is far more unpredictable than the behaviour of planets. So, the challenge in this case is even greater than the one Newton faced.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, there is also a qualitative problem in economics. We want to measure the “value” of an economy. But value is a moral judgement and moral judgements belong to the realm of philosophy and even theology. That goes against the whole program of the Newtonian (and Cartesian) revolution where truth is only what can be measured. A priori, one would not expect that economics is amenable to reductionist science. But that didn’t stop modern economists from doing it anyway.
Let’s look at a practical example of the difficulties in measuring the economy.
A farmer grows a tonne of wheat. Let’s say that the entire tonne of wheat is going to be turned into breakfast cereal. The farmer will sell it to a wholesaler who then sells it to the companies that make breakfast cereal. Those companies then sell the breakfast cereal to supermarkets and those supermarkets sell it to consumers. In between, the wheat must be transported several times and various bookkeepers need to keep tabs on the debits and credits. How do we measure the “value” of this chain of events; this subsection of “the economy”?
Firstly, we need to decide which events to include or exclude. Is the value of the wheat realised when it is harvested, when it is sold or only when it is eaten? We might say only when it is eaten. But even then, with apologies to the squeamish, some of the wheat will be excreted from the bodies of those who ate it. In our society, we assign no value to that excrement. We flush it into the ocean. Out of sight, out of mind.
But there have been other societies throughout history that have assigned value to excrement and even paid people for it (see the book, The Farmers of Forty Centuries). Should the value of the excrement be included in the value of the chain of events beginning with the harvesting of wheat? Isn’t it just another link in the chain? If so, our reasoning becomes circular because the excrement will fertilise the fields that grow another round of wheat.
All these steps along the process are transformations. The wheat plant is harvested for its seed. That’s a transformation. The seed is then turned into breakfast cereal. That’s another transformation. Eating the breakfast cereal transforms it into energy in a person’s body and also excrement which can be used to fertilise soil. Which of these transformations do we include when measuring the “economy”?
Choosing which things to measure and the weight to give to the measurements is a judgement call. There is a kind of folk economics which represents common sense judgements about value. Common sense tells us that the wheat itself is where most of the value is created in the chain of events. Without it, there could be no subsequent activity. Therefore, the farmer is creating the most value.
It’s for this same reason that, for most of history, merchants, bankers and the other middlemen who move the wheat around were given low social status. They didn’t add much value to the process. They were, at best, a necessary evil. We see that economics is also tied in with social status and, therefore, politics.
Faced with all of these difficulties, modern economics nevertheless proceeded with a reductionist simplification in order to measure “the economy”. It ignored all the difficult moral and philosophical questions of value and decided that we could measure the economy by summating the nominal exchange price of every transaction. We simply add up the dollars and cents every time money changes hands and call that “the value of the economy”.
There are 99 problems with this idea. We’ve already outlined a couple. Let’s just take a couple more.
Firstly, this automatically rules out any transaction or transformation for which no money changes hands. If you barter with a friend, value has been exchanged but it won’t be counted. Similarly, all kinds of household value creation, ironically exactly the kinds of activities that constituted the original meaning of the word economy, are not included. Growing vegetables in a kitchen garden, cooking dinner, cleaning or mending clothes, raising children, some of the most fundamental activities that humans carry out, are not included in “the economy”. In a society which worships “the economy”, that’s a problem because it de-values those activities.
Even though modern economics claims to be objective and scientific, it has ended up creating its own moral valuations. In those valuations, middlemen and bankers have been raised from their historically low status to be top of the pecking order. This was inevitable because economics has always been a branch of morality and simply asserting that it was now “science” didn’t change that fact. We might also question the motives of those who benefited from this new set of ethical valuations.
More importantly, modern economics usurped to itself the right to create those valuations in the first place. In doing so, it took the valuations out of the hands of the public with their common sense judgements about value. This was the beginning of the Technocracy and the Technocracy’s war with the public.
There are also biological and psychological problems with the modern concept of “the economy”. Value is not a linear function in either a biological or psychological sense. A loaf of bread is of far more value to a man who hasn’t eaten for 3 days than to somebody who is 20 pounds overweight and has just polished off a box of donuts. Once you have enough food, more food is of no value. In fact, it is of negative value. Too much food will literally make you ill. Value changes with context.
In a biological sense, even basic necessities like water and food become poisonous when consumed past a certain point. A priori, we would expect that an “economy” that grows indefinitely would become poisonous at some point. And that is exactly what has happened in the post-war years in the West. Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and numerous other lifestyle diseases are the direct result. Of course, such health issues only serve to create further “growth opportunities” by incentivising companies to create goods and services to address them. (Hello, Big Pharma).
We can see that the simplifications of modern economics are fundamentally different from those of Newton, even though on the surface they look the same. Newton started with the observed regularities in the movement of celestial bodies. His simplifications were a way to account for already existing behaviour. With modern economics, regularities were not observed, they were created. The simplifications of modern economics do not account for the behaviour of an already existing object, they create an entirely new object. That new object is called “the economy”.
The creation of this object only ever made sense because, from the very beginning, it was tied in with politics. It’s not hard to see why governments would be in support of modern economics. Measuring the economy as a series of transactions allows governments to tax those transactions. Meanwhile, bankers profit by facilitating the transactions. Governments and banks then use that money to hire the Technocrats. This creates the nexus of modern political power: politician – banker – technocrat.
The new “economy” was only made possible by the establishment of central banks such as the US Federal Reserve in 1913. Prior to that, you had a vast array of different banks with different local scrips. Many transactions were off-the-record or done through local accounts with specific institutions. Trying to normalise prices was just one more problem to the 99 problems of measuring the economy. Central banks quite literally created the conditions in which the “economy” could be measured because they were tasked with creating a single currency and managing its nominal value i.e. inflation rate.
All of this created the post-war era which has been the golden age of the middleman. We inverted the economic values that have existed since time immemorial. For most of history, those who produced something were seen as valuable while middlemen and bankers were the lowest of the low. Now, the bankers run the show and they do so with the help of the Technocrats who produce the magic spells that bewitch the public.
“GDP”, “inflation”, “recession”, “economic growth”, “interest rates”, “unemployment”. There’s been a spell for every day of the week chanted out on the 6 o’clock news like a mantra in a medieval monastery. If the Newtonian revolution was quasi-religious in nature, modern economics is a full-on cult with its high priests dressed in ceremonial suit and tie.
“The economy” did not exist prior to the discipline of modern economics and the corresponding institutions such as the Federal Reserve which make it possible. It does not build upon the common sense folk knowledge of economics. On the contrary, it turns that folk knowledge on its head. It overrides common sense judgements about economic value. The average person is then told to “trust the experts”. They have to trust the experts because nobody that hasn’t been lobotomised by years studying modern economics at university would have the faintest idea what “the economy” is about.
Of course, it’s not just national governments who use “the economy” as a taxation vehicle. The entire post Great Depression international order has been tied to it. “The economy” is the vehicle for US hegemony. The US is the banker to the rest of the world and it takes a cut of every transactions that occurs in “the economy”. The abstractions of modern economics might be meaningless in a scientific sense, but they are of utmost political importance. They hold the US empire together.
So, how does all this fit in with the corona “pandemic”?
Virology suffers from an almost identical set of errors as modern economics. Neither “science” is concerned with the establishment of cause-and-effect. Both rely entirely on correlation. The best that can be said is that they provide a constantly mutating set of probabilities. But a constantly mutating set of probabilities in indistinguishable from noise. Just like a Rorschach test only tells us about the mind of the person who sees a pattern in the noise, so modern economics and virology only tells us something about the political agenda that lies behind the surface illusion. The Technocracy creates the narratives that facilitate the operation of political power.
Just as economics turned its back on the real questions of “value” by simply asserting that price = value, so modern virology turns its back on the real object of study and asserted that viruses were entirely commensurate with their genetic code. It then applies mathematical algorithms to those genetic codes. The whole thing is entirely meaningless, but, to the uninitiated, it looks like science.
Of course, virology and microbiology are also a part of the modern “economy”. Modern economics does not care what is bought and sold. It only cares that the number of transactions is increased. One way to do that is to sell pharmaceutical products.
The childhood vaccine schedule in most western nations has grown exponentially in the last few decades. So has the number of medications available for sale. Each “vaccine” and each medication is a transaction. Thousands of new medications are unleashed every year on an unsuspecting public. Each sale increases GDP and if there happens to be health side effects from the medication, well that’s just more trips to the doctor which also increases GDP. Modern microbiology and pharmaceuticals needs be understood with the framework of the modern “economy” where the only thing that matters is increasing the number of transactions.
The nexus of power in the modern world is politician – banker – technocrat. The economists are the Ur-technocrats but increasingly doctors, nurses, climate scientists and others have been sucked into their ranks to feed the monster. We might say that Technocracy is what happens when science is corrupted by money. But it’s far more intricate than that. Technocracy is creative. In partnership with politics and finance, it brings into being new configurations of power.
This was another point that Timothy Mitchell made. Periods of crisis reveal the nexus of power between politics – bankers – technocrats. The corona “pandemic” revealed the nexus of power that is the combination of testing laboratories, universities, globalist institutions, NGOs, pharmaceutical companies, national bureaucracies, health systems and MSM.
These institutions created the corona “pandemic”; not by an overt conspiracy but because the Technocracy creates new networks of socio-political relations. That network is held together by shared financial and political interest and ideology. It’s in exactly the same way that the modern “economy” was created by the ideology of modern economics alongside institutions like the Federal Reserve with the support of the governments of the West.
The Technocracy has almost nothing to do with science or with common sense folk wisdom. In fact, it overrides both of these. Having been told for decades to shut up and trust the economists, the public is now told to shut up and trust the public health bureaucrats, the virologists, the doctors, the climatologists or whichever other groups of Technocrats are wheeled out onto the 6 o’clock news. This pattern began with the advent of modern economics in the early decades of the 20th century and it has been continually expanded since then.
There’s one final point to make. The Oil Shock of ’73 was really driven by the underlying politics of the Arab oil-producing states finally getting control of their oil. That threatened the British and American government’s ability to rig the oil markets and the support the US dollar’s position as reserve currency. The Oil Shock narrative served to hide that underlying political reality while also giving the US casus belli for future military engagements.
What was the underlying politics of corona? We might be tempted to say it was a fight against China. But note that politicians did everything they could to downplay China’s role. Initially, there were even heartwarming stories of China sending medical supplies to Italy. That was followed by complete radio silence about China for the whole 3 years that China was running rolling lockdowns.
The underlying politics of corona was really about Trump and presumably also Russia given the Ukraine War began almost immediately after Trump was ousted. Just like the Oil Shock was the beginning of a long process of overt US military aggression in the Middle East, so corona was part of the endless haranguing of Trump and now a proxy war with Russia. Trump is a populist and so he is the mortal enemy of the Technocracy for whom the public’s job is to be guinea pigs in whatever “experiment” is being conducted this week.
The Technocracy is currently trying for about the tenth time to kickstart another “covid wave”. There’s a new variant with a new name. But it’s not working. The magic of the Technocracy may very well be drying up. Experts predict it might be a difficult time for experts in the years ahead.