Capital and Information

capitalism, marx

I was listening to a podcast this morning and it was talking about the rise of the Rothschilds and modern finance. One of the points that stuck with me was a comment that the Rothschilds had the most capital and the most sophisticated information network.

Capital and Information

Lets just sit with that for a moment.

I have been involved in various Marx reading groups lately, which I definitely recommend to other people. I am not ideological. I am not a marxist. But I am fascinated by systems thinkers and by architects of systems people that come to min are Freud, Marx, Hegel, to name a few.

It is hard not to use, and in most cases, misuse concepts from Marx. I myself am guilty of this all the time. So these reading groups are an opportunity to return to Marxist first principles.

So lets talk about commodities. For Marx the commodity has a vary particular meaning. It is something that only exists in a capitalist structure – where you exchange goods for one another through the medium of money. This money exchange means that all commodities have two parts: the exchange value (the value that we talk about with money), and the use value (what you use the item for).  So for example, when I buy an apple at the farmers market it has a use value (eating), and an exchange value ($1 or whatever I paid).

That is the foundation of capitalism the transformation of goods into commodities.

Now we have this thing called information. I wonder if information did not co-eval with commodities in the creation of capitalism.  Information in many respects to the concept of the commodity but it is not analyzed by Marx.

We could say that information is a commodity.  That it has a use value and an exchange value. But I would not agree with this, or that if we did say information was a commodity we would have to change the definition of commodity.

Question – does information have use value beyond exchange value? I posit that information’s use value derives from its exchange value. Outside of a capitalist system that lacks exchange value, information has no use and therefore is not a commodity.

But, you might say, what about literature. I might have a use for it for pleasure, or to learn something that will help my career.  In this case it does have a use pleasure. But is this the same thing has information? Is knowledge the same thing as information? Am I just quibbling. The transformation of knowledge into information is a similar transformation from a product into a commodity.  Isn’t it the same thing? Knowledge being the use value of information?

Well, right there this is different than a commodity.  A commodity is not split between product and exchange value, but between two types of value.  Information seems related to knowledge in a different way then the way a product is related to a product. A large reason for this is that knowledge is immaterial. If knowledge does have use value how do we realize this. An apple has roughly the same use value for everyone, although some people may enjoy eating an apple more than others. (Is this pleasure a fetish?) A law book though will have different use value for a lawyer than a doctor, or for someone being sued than someone not being sued. Again there are those deranged individuals that perhaps derive pleasure from reading about torts. What is this use value? If the law book helps or does not help in my legal case, will this then retroactively give a use value to the law book?

You see the difficulties here.

Some things I want to explore:

What was information, did it exist, before capitalism?

What is the relationship between information and exchange?

What is the relationship between knowledge and information?

What is the relationship between information and commodities?



Answer to Job – CG Jung

book, consciousness, jung

I read a commentary on jungian psychology a few months ago that referenced the Answer to Job, Jung’s analysis of the biblical book of Job and then other theological issues such as the Virgin Mary, the holy spirit, prophetic visions and what not.

All my reading now is filtered through a particular subjective lens.  Perhaps all reading everywhere is done through this sort of lens.

There is the general discussion of the idea of God’s unconscious. How he is blind or unconscious to his omniscience. This is not super interesting to me. What is most interesting to me about the depth psychology that Jung explores is the opportunity of human ‘evolution’ by integrating possibilities that lay in the unconscious.

Lets get the banalities out of the way. God is unconscious, or god has an unconscious. He is not aware of his omniscience while he is focused on his omnipotence. Why make Job jump through these hoops – when God knows that Job will ‘pass’? Why is God duped by Satan (his creation or son)?  Ok – the unconscious.

There is also a discussion of the feminine principle/Sophia and the lack thereof in contemporary protestantism, as well as an analysis of visions in the Bible.

But, what resonated most with me is the discussion of the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Holy Spirit (Paraclete), what are these things.  First, I never understood what son of man, son of god meant. And here, I might have misinterpreted it again, but at least I have a touch stone, a definition, that resonates with me. Son of man, that is the next incarnation of man.  If we think of consciousness as something that can evolve, the son of man would be the next evolution of consciousness.

Is divine consciousness qualitatively different from human consciousness? Both consciousnesses are creations of human consciousness and of particular human consciousnesses. The discussion in the book of Job is a product of Jung’s consciousness.  And this blog post here is a product of my particular human consciousness. But let’s look at Book of Job. God’s consciousness is not different than human consciousness in that they both possess an unconscious.  However this is this Paraclete -the holy spirit.

Lets say consciousness is spirit: psychology is the logos of the spirit (psuches) Mind is nous – that is what they do over in cognitive science or neuroscience – noosology. Is the noosophere of Teilhard de Chardin mind or spirit?  But I digress.

Consciousness is spirit.  There is this qualitatively different thing, holy spirit, that when a son of man possesses it, it makes him God. This is the son of god. Then next incarnation of God.

There is a split between man and god, as split put into relief by the book of Job, Job is more just than God, Job is abiding by the laws that God has created but himself does not follow.  We could analyze this with regards to Agamben, the state of exception, and the position of the sovereign.

The creator of the rule is not subject to the rule. But I prefer Jung’s analysis, or my analysis of Jung’s perhaps, that this represents a schism in consciousness that must be reconciled in by a third way, or a dialect process – an evolution, a spiral. The amorality of god and the morality of man must create a new being partaking of each – the son of man and the son of god.

The son of god arises from partaking in the soul stuff of god (the paraclete). The son of man arises by man acting with more consciousness than god, or by exposing the unconscious of god. God does not come into contact with his unconscious through the talking cure, but through the works and deeds of his creation.These could be also called the product of his active imagining.  God’s creation is a massive active imagining.

We still have the split, the son of god and the son of man. How do we reconcile these things? How do we reconcile the false dichotomy of the holy spirit and the human spirit? What makes a spirit holy vs human? Is it mere otherness? There always be an otherness that the human must integrate into his own spirit that accounts for his continued evolution  – ie individuation. Is this just the dialectic restated?