” ‘Peace, Peace’, they say – but there is no peace.”
Aight this is it. This is the point of no return. If you’ve made it this far and you still want to know more – I salute you! We’re about to open Pandora’s box, and I’m gonna really rub it in your eye holes.
It’s going to hurt.
Learning what I’m about to teach you shattered my world horizon into little pieces.
You might want to have a bag handy, in case you need to puke.
This is your final warning.
Oh hai thur. Didn’t expect to see you down here – you dirty girl you. I do like me some curiosity!
LET’S DO THIS!!!
So we’ve been tunneling through the matrix this whole time and we’ve just been avoiding the big question – but like, what heck is it?
What is the matrix?
The matrix is the ‘economy’.
So, what is the ‘economy’?
Well, the economy is a matrix of productive relations between people. This matrix does not stop at national borders – the economy is not and has never been something that a ‘nation-state’ ‘has’. Economic relations encompass the globe.
In order to understand them, what they are, and what they do, the primary unit of analysis isn’t the individual, or the firm, or the corporation, or the nation state – it’s the entire world.
There isn’t a single human being alive who is not enmeshed in/related to/produced by this set of economic relations in some way –
because we all have to eat.
Once we’ve started with a world-system of economic relations reproducing and expanding itself as our starting unit of analysis, we have totally left every variety of mainstream ‘economics’ behind. They cannot see this shit, because they do not look in the first place. They do not look, because they do not want to know. They don’t want to know, because if they did, well – they’d lose their cushy jobs as liberal lickspittles.
If you’ve made it this far – you are somebody who wants to know!
Congrats on being strong and awesome and cool, and I’m sorry for what I’m about to do to you.
Like any network of relations, this world-system has a basic structure. The structure of the world system looks like this:
- At the bottom, there are about 2 billion people living in slums with little or no access to any kind of productive activity. This is a short, brutal life in abject poverty with nothing to do and no way to better oneself.
- Then there are about 4.5 billion people who do have more access to the wage labour system, but they mostly have to get by on about $2ish a day, in atrocious conditions with zero social services. This is a short, brutal life with nothing to do but what the bossman tells you, and no time to better oneself.
- Then, there are the rest of us – the 1.5 billion or so people in the global north/the ‘first world’ who actually do benefit from the system. A good chunk of those are still pretty impoverished. There’s only a few hundred million people at the very apex of the system who actually get the ‘normal’ ‘middle class’ ‘lifestyle’ that has been blasted out of every screen as the achievable norm for decades now.
The situation is so obviously horrific on its face that the propaganda narratives are always necessarily –
“things are be getting betterer! poverty is going smaller downwards! capital is a tide that rises all the boats up high! zero sum game it is not that!”liberals
….buuuut this is all just desperate wishful thinking and self-deception. Even if things sometimes get better relatively in some ways for some people sometimes, in absolute terms there are always just more and more people caught in abject poverty and wage slavery. The way that neoliberal ‘economics’ measures ‘poverty’ is deliberately set up to obfuscate this.
If average wages go up, the exploitative and domineering structure of the wage relation remains fundamentally the same. Wages are only valuable relative to the cost of what it takes to reproduce that person’s life and what’s actually available to purchase, which is something determined by a country’s position in the hierarchy of the world system. Most people who can submit themselves to the wage relation (even this is a privilege, somehow) now work brutally long hours in insanely inhumane conditions to produce stuff they’ll never be able to afford. It all just shoots up to the top of the system – to the ‘first world’.
The majority of human beings alive now are utterly enslaved to the ‘first world’ –
more accurately described as the Core to the ‘third world’s’ Periphery.
This is a graph of global ‘wealth’ distribution done from a EuroCore perspective. It’s deliberately misleading because the shape of the pyramid and the size of the colored areas visually obfuscate the ratios both population and money wise. It’s also misleading because it doesn’t show the north/south geography, the antagonism of interests between core/periphery, the absurd power disparity, the imperialist dynamics that reproduce and exacerbate this situation, or the fact that ‘wealth’ is a concept only the top 8.7% have any use for. Nobody else is ever getting any ‘wealth’, that’s for damn sure. Even tho the graph is core-peeps lying to themselves, the situation is still obviously atrocious.
This is a better chart done by a charity org that has a little more of an interest in presenting the situation accurately. While this shape is far more visually honest ratio-wise, it still doesn’t show the structure of the social relations, the geography, the antagonisms of interest, the environmental devastation, or that these outcomes are not only structurally integral to capitalist social practice as such, they are also deliberately enforced and reproduced by coreworld apparati using both indirect economic and direct military intervention.
There we go, there’s the geography wealth-wise – and you can finally see the vacuum cleaner effect. Africa and South America have been sucked dry by the Cores for hundreds of years. China and India have brutally colonized themselves to build internal peripheries – cuz there ain’t much leftover after America’s 800 military bases worldwide. (Those bases are there to ensure that the plunder of peripheral accumulation flows one way and one way only). This map manages to hint at the imperalist dynamics, but completely obfuscates the population distribution in order to do it.
amerika and its butt buddies wage endless violence against the periphery to ensure surplus value extraction continues. people in the Cores not only accept this, they cheer it on swallowing bullshit propaganda about ‘spreading democracy and freedom’. all they spread is death, destruction, and extinction.
The truth is this – the world-system requires this structure of relations with these average ratios in order to function. It generated them in the first place! It reproduces this structure with these ratios over and over again at larger and larger scales – and it has done exactly this and only this for – I kid you not – the last 6 centuries or so. This relational hierarchy is mirrored in each individual nation state, but even a homeless person in Amerika massively benefits from the structure of the world-system – 40% of the food in NA goes straight into the trash uneaten, after all.
All those lovely Keynesian social programs the rich countries have, or used to have – they’re just slightly redistributing the spoils of their relative structural position to their own populations. Show me a noble welfare state, and I will show you six billion brown and black people dying in squalor underneath it.
And charity? Charity programs are like trying to cure cancer with a band-aid. To clean up the destruction caused by capitalist accumulation cycles, you’d need another economic apparatus just as powerful right behind it. Charity is a fart in a hurricane by comparison.
Your country’s position relative to the rest of the world-system is why it is rich, or why it is poor. If you are born into a peripheral country, you are almost certainly fucked for life. If you are born into a core country (with a high enough class-position + the right skin color), you can live a life of insane privilege and luxury on the backs of billions just by sucking all the right dicks. For every comfortable, happiness-seeking nihilist in the core, there’s about ~7-8ish wage slaves/slum dwellers in the periphery –
and that shit is thermodynamically necessary to the reproduction of capitalist relations.
There’s only a finite amount of surplus value in the system at any given time, is the thing.
To give every single human being alive right now the ‘lifestyles’ that the Cores assume to be their God-given right while still maintaining capitalist relations, well –
it would take another 5 earthlike planets,
with about 32 billion hyper-exploited impoverished wage slaves/slum dwellers across all of them, and eventually –
we’d cause mass extinction events on all 6 planets!
Now, I want you to take a moment. I want you to sit back, breathe, and think very carefully and slowly about the distance between your current self-understanding and what you just read.
You are Death Incarnate!
Destroyer of Worlds!
You come to me with fear?
You’re the scariest creature that’s ever existed!
You come to me with morality?
You’re a hypocrite and a liar.
You come to me with wisdom?
You’re a sociopath and a narcissist.
You come to me with opinions?
Do your fucking homework until you don’t need ‘opinions’ anymore.
You come to me with guilt?
A bloobloo fucking bloo tho thad for u.
The Holocene is over now, and it’s been over for quite a while.
Own the fuck up to who you actually are, what you’ve actually done and what you’re actually doing.
You’re a biosphere terminator!
You make Hitler and Pol Pot look like they were throwing a toddler’s birthday party!
Step into the role already!
Have a little self-respect!
If you’re going to murder the fuck out of virtually everything in the known universe, the least you could do is stop lying to yourself about it.
You’ll feel better and be less of a cringing feelsbag, I promise.
The truth will set you free!
Every single person on this planet shares responsibility for this appalling shitshow, I don’t care who you are or what you do. The only reason that you don’t already know about this is because you’ve decided, consciously or unconsciously, that you just don’t want to know – or you just never gave a fuck to begin with.
You’re an oppressed motherfucker yourself and don’t feel responsible?
We’re all slaves to the system?
We are also all responsible for standing up, nutting up, and struggling up, and we always have been.
Deal with it.
The functioning of the world system shatters the foundations upon which every religious or liberal edifice constructs a moralist ladder. If you live in a Core-world nation-state, you are a killer. You kill people when you buy something. You kill people when you sell something. You kill all kinds of shit when you turn on your car, or your truck, or your tractor. Everything and everyone you interact with is soaked in the blood of your fellow organisms.
Your ‘job’ is a mass extinction event factory, where you get paid to kill the future.
What kind of a God would let the likes of you into heaven?
All the media and news and political parties and entertainment options in the Cores are all owned by the same multicorps, who are owned by the same billionaire oligarchs. They all serve the same interests, and all express the same viewpoints from exactly the same position of enunciation. The resulting propaganda deluge can only be described as the most totalitarian mind control apparatus ever conceived.
Every television show or movie you’ve ever watched or book you’ve ever read is full of this propaganda – because art is also totally subsumed by market imperatives. Harry Potter? Capitalist propaganda. Star Wars? Capitalist propaganda. Disney and Pixar? – natch. The Marvel Universe? – come the fuck on breh. The Matrix films? The first film is almost something that breaks the mold – and then the rest of the trilogy desperately tries to plug the hole with one of the most sloppy plot structure stopgaps imaginable.
Religion is still, of course, an effective bourgeois opiate – but nothing can stand up to the relentless onslaught of entertainment. It has narcotized an entire century of us, and now the world burns.
But you only notice this shit if you absorb things critically, study your history, science, and start deconstructing your own conditioning. The mass education system + media deluge + division of labor are set up to prevent people from learning how to think or learn at all!
People in the cores are living in a dream world beamed into their brainsacs by a panoptical Eye of Sauron, completely insulated from any kind of reality or the consequences of their actions. They think they have selves, they think they have lives, they think they’re ‘good people’ for fitting in and following the rules and being nice and respectful and tolerant and wise. They think they ‘deserve’ their luxury and privilege, rather than it just being a linear result of unending economic rape and pillage. Some of them identify so hard with their careers and economic functions that they actually think they’re free.
How can you be free when even one of your fellow organisms is in chains?
Nehoo, we just don’t have a civilization. We never have. It’s a fake! We didn’t really bother to build one. Even judged by its own standards, the standards of liberalism – it’s a ridiculous charade. It’s just a nightmare potemkin village on a planetary scale, an assblind extinction algorithm without a killswitch, a swarm of cannibal parasites on top of a mountain of misery, suffering, and slavery.
The capitalist utopia that liberals always think is just around the corner is a physical impossibility.
The structure of the world-system is why there are constant attempts to build socialist bulwarks in the periphery. These revolutions aren’t ‘autocratic dictatorships’ – they are desperate attempts to stop the bleeding and gain some kind of independence and autonomy for immiserated populations. You can only do that with a solid state apparatus that can forge and execute long term plans against the relentless neoliberal onslaught – even if ‘democracies’ weren’t already just a farcical front for economic oligarchs and imperialism, the charade of electoralism just isn’t a realistic option for peripheral nations that are trying to escape from economic domination.
They have to try to do something different than we do now.
We also need to be doing something different than we do now.
If you can deconstruct your conditioning enough to stare this shit in the face without flinching, congratulations motherfucker, you just hit the threshold of Post-Holocene adulthood. You’re a badass. You can think for yourself, and you can do it against the most totalitarian propaganda apparatus that has ever existed, anywhere, anywhen.
Everything is set up to prevent the emergence of someone like you –
and now you’re here.
Welcome to the other side.
I didn’t say it would be easy, I just said it would be the truth.
So, what is the Matrix?
The Matrix is the capitalist world-system. This is the objective social practice that fits the subjective conceptual assumptions, structures and mental habits that we’ve been deconstructing. They both reproduce each other in a feedback loop, ad infinitum – or until everything dies.
Whichever comes first!
The Matrix is a planet-sized vacuum cleaner that converts human beings and ecosystems into money and commodities, and then sucks all those commodities and moneys up to the Cores and then up to the billionaire class. Everything else it does is just an accidental byproduct of this basic functioning.
At no point in this production/distribution/circulation/consumption logistical network can any of it even see the biosphere that it’s destroying – it is innately blind to anything but the profit margins that grease every gear in the chain.
Whatever tweaks can be made to production apparati can only be done within profit margins, which are dictated by systemic pressures. Profit margins only exist via the exclusion of labor power and the biosphere as externalities, and have no influence over the underlying thermodynamics of the energy metabolizing process. Capitalist value dynamics demand as much energy as possible, all the time.
The only thing capitalism is capable of doing is terraforming planets into wastelands!
Choosing to continue to reproduce capitalist social relations as if everything is ‘normal’, keeping the capitalist world-system up and running –
this is a choice to be complicit in the greatest crime against humanity in recorded history.
Abstract time itself was always just a countdown timer to extinction.
Number Number Number. Up Up Up!
Everything on this page applies to me too. I wouldn’t write it otherwise.
Would you like to know more?
- Smith – Imperialism in the Twenty First Century
- Cope – Divided World, Divided Class
- Blum – Killing Hope
- Wallerstein – The Modern World-System 1
- Wallerstein – The Modern World-System 2
- Wallerstein – The Modern World-System 3
- Wallerstein – The Modern World-System 4
- Moore – Capitalism in the Web of Life
- Foster – Marx’s Ecology
- Marx – Das Kapital 1
- Marx – Das Kapital 2
- Marx – Das Kapital 3
- Lenin – Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism
- Kolozova – Capitalism’s Holocaust of the Animals
- Club of Rome – Limits to Growth (3 decade update)
- Catton – Overshoot
- Wells – The Uninhabitable Earth
- Jackson & Jensen – An Inconvenient Apocalypse
- Proceedings of the Academy of the Sciences of The United States of America