Saturday, 17 March 2018

Solving the Marxian transformation problem

the transformation problem is the problem of finding a general rule by which to transform the "values" of commodities (based on their socially necessary labour content, according to his labour theory of value) into the "competitive prices" of the marketplace.
Clearly, if Society is not homogenous because whatever it supervenes on is not homogenous, then 'socially necessary labour' is going to differ by time and place. If competitive prices are informationally efficient signals- for example if standard assumptions obtain- then they themselves solve the transformation problem. We know from Axtell's work that it would be silly to search for an independent algorithmic solution- i.e. something purely 'Supply based'- to verify this result because that solution would be in a much higher complexity class to the usual price equation featuring Supply and Demand. Now, the work of Kantorovich showed that provided the Central Planner knew the 'right' Social Welfare Function and had sufficient computing power, then they could compute 'shadow prices' just as good as actual open market price signals. Lange et al, took a different 'Market Socialism' approach where Enterprises would behave entrepreneurially unless 'divorce between ownership and control' really were a scandal- in which case Capitalism too has the same problem but in a more acute form because mechanism design is constrained by the legal framework whereas Commissars can just get shoot malefactors pour encourager les autres.
In other words, Marxists and Market fundamentalists start level. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Obviously, there is one big difference. So long as the Soviet style Command Economy was paradigmatic, Marxists were on the defensive. Sure they could do 'catch up growth'. But could they do 'endogenous growth'? It may be that under Xi, the answer will turn out to be 'sure! The C.P can control competitive enterprises and thus have all the information aggregating benefits of the Market while eliminating rent seeking behaviour when it comes to Regulatory action w.r.t sources of Market Failure.'

In other words, the Marxists could have the last laugh here.

The problem is that 'socially necessary labour' would turn out to include that of the masseuse and golf caddie and cocktail waiter and call girl and everybody else a given entrepreneur considers useful for his continued functioning. In other words, 'socially necessary' is a movable feast. It might feature lots of Gulags and Secret Policemen or else Hedge fund bosses and Drug kingpins salting away billions. The notion would have no normative force. Thus solving the Marxian transformation problem would transform the subject into shit.

Sen proves Marx's theory of value is mendacious, not metaphysical

Joan Robinson dismissed Marx's Labour theory of Value as 'metaphysics''. Sen who knew that Robinson was also taking a dig at his friend Maurice Dobb responded in a paper which showed that Marx's theory  was merely mendacious, not metaphysical at all.

In Law, to knowingly suppress some information is the tort of shedding 'false light'. If you are selective of the facts you are still acting in bad faith and so your pants are on fire you disgusting little liar.

Ajit Sinha, in quoting the relevant passage in Sen's paper, takes a different view-

Wow! Labour is the only human factor of production. Entrepreneurs aint human. Makes sense. Obviously, the guys who set up the factories or offices where people work were actually robots Either that or, as David Icke's oeuvre clarifies, bosses are Lizard person from Planet X.

The statement 'Michelangelo made the statue of David' sheds no 'false light'. It suppresses no relevant information. Suppose we learn that some guy invented a new type of chisel and that he showed Mikey how to use it on a specific type of marble. Suppose further that Mikey could not have made such a beautiful statue with out the aid of this inventor. In that case, full disclosure would require us to say 'Michelangelo was helped by such and such guy who invented a new type of chisel to make this statue'.
What about saying 'the workers in the factory produce all the value it creates'? Is that similar to saying 'Mikey made this statue'? No. Not at all. Unlike Mikey, the workers in the factory had no conception of how to make the finished product. They were hired and trained to do specific tasks. They did not act autonomously but under direction and supervision.
I can, with justice, say 'Dyson made my vacuum cleaner'. It may be that it was actually assembled by a particular group or women in China. But I have not shed any false light. I have not acted dishonestly or in bad faith. Everyone knows that Tim Dyson doesn't assemble each machine by himself. It would be absurd to think so.

When I was young, it was true that the Executives came in late and left early and had three martini lunches and were constantly jetting off to some bogus Conference which consisted mainly of playing golf. At any rate, that's what I believed which is why I studied the dismal science. However, the truth rapidly dawned on me that working your way up the Corporate ladder meant 12 hour days and developing chronic hyper-tension. Worse, the guys at the top might have run the company into the ground and debauched the pension fund before you entered their charmed circle. In any case, my strict observance of Hindu orthopraxy- which involves mootradaan to the Plant deity- which is why I habitually relieved myself upon the potted plants in the Board Room- caused the bosses to view me with a jaundiced eye- my aim, in these matters, never being very good.

Oddly, I didn't become a Marxist- and not just because, the Party High Command too takes a dim view of being splattered with urine.
Perhaps this quotation from Marx,  which Sinha highlights, regarding the connection between 'surplus value' squeezed out of workers like me, and the profits pocketed by the Boss Class, can clear up the mystery

If successful entrepreneurs- who by definition are 'practical capitalists'- can't recognize something some guy sitting in a library can figure out- which is that they are ab ovo fucked and should have just stayed home getting drunk- then let's all just stay home getting drunk because showing up for work involves taking the risk that the entrepreneur will have gone bust before our wages get paid.
After all, science- unlike mendacity or metaphysics- is about making correct predictions. Clearly, if the Marxist theory of value is scientific then Capitalism is going to crash sooner rather than later. Why? Well, even as we speak, some 'practical capitalist' might read an article by a Marxist economist and thus the veil will be lifted from his eyes. He will quit his self-defeating occupation. Other Capitalists will ask him why he's staying home getting drunk. He will show them the article. Word will quickly spread. Top hatted Stockbrokers will resort to cannibalistic orgies on the floor of the Bourse. A bloodless Revolution will have occurred. A new regime will take from those with ability so as to give to us because we have become hopeless alcoholics who need to be looked after in our homes.

Amiya Srinivasan on Desires

Amiya Srinivas writes 
...the very idea of fixed sexual preference is political, not metaphysical.
Sexual behaviour, being directly linked to reproduction and thus subject to intense selective pressure, is largely genetically determined in animals and humans.

Politics has to accommodate biology, it can't determine it.

Demarcating the political from the biological is part and parcel of metaphysics. Thus to say 'the very idea' of x is political is a wholly metaphysical statement.
As a matter of good politics, we treat the preferences of others as sacred:
This is wholly untrue. We don't treat the preferences of the rapist or the murderer or the thief as sacred. Indeed, we treat no preference- revealed though it may have been in a non repugnant market- to be sacred at all. An action or intention may be sacred. A preference is not. I may hold Liberty to be sacred. This may involve your freedom to like or dislike certain things. But 'Liking' can't be held sacred. That would be silly.
we are rightly wary of speaking of what people really want, or what some idealised version of them would want.
Nonsense! All policy prescriptions are of the form 'to give the people what they really ought to want such and such measure must be implemented.' This is because public intellectuals are assumed to have an asymmetric informational endowment. That is why they get paid to pontificate.
That way, we know, authoritarianism lies.
We know no such thing. Authoritarianism arises where power is concentrated in a manner devoid of any checks and balances. Mahatma Gandhi spent a lot of time telling people what they really want or should want under idealised circumstances. He was not an authoritarianism because he never sought any office where power was concentrated.
This is true, most of all, in sex, where invocations of real or ideal desires have long been used as a cover for the rape of women and gay men.
A rapist  only invokes 'real or ideal desires' if he has been caught and is standing in the dock. Otherwise no such invocations are made. It would be silly to do so.

Why does Amiya not mention heterosexual men? They too get raped. Consider the paradigmatic case of Sir John Hudson, the Queen's dwarf, enslaved by the Barbary pirates at the age of 30. He claimed that he doubled in height as a result of the incessant buggery he was forced to endure. No doubt, this forcible and unwarranted enlargement affected his earning power and fame.

It appears that pygmy men are the preferred victims of rape in certain parts of the world because of the belief that sodomising them yields magical powers.

Clearly, these are very important issues which we as a Society need to confront. Britain is considering implementing anti-casteist legislation so as to tackle the social evil engendered by Amiya's own Iyengar disdain for us Iyers. Similarly, we need robust legislative actions and effective administrative measures to tackle the social evil associated with sodomising Persons of Restricted Growth whether or not this results in the enlargement of the victim or whether or not the violator gains magical powers.
But the fact is that our sexual preferences can and do alter, sometimes under the operation of our own wills – not automatically, but not impossibly either.
Yes. Biologicially, humans have been endowed with greater cognitive as well as sexual plasticity. Certainly, most Religions and some Ideologies or systems of 'Therapy'  claim that they have a method for regulating sexuality. Generally these claims are bogus.
What’s more, sexual desire doesn’t always neatly conform to our own sense of it, as generations of gay men and women can attest.
Everyone can attest that nothing conforms to our own naive sense of it. Gay people are not different from anyone else in this regard.
Desire can take us by surprise, leading us somewhere we hadn’t imagined we would ever go, or towards someone we never thought we would lust after, or love.
So can hunger or thirst or boredom or mental illness or intoxicants or business or...urm, anything you can name.
In the very best cases, the cases that perhaps ground our best hope, desire can cut against what politics has chosen for us, and choose for itself.
I suppose Amiya means things like bi-racial marriages in segregated societies. The trouble is such marriages don't actually change politics at all. Consider the Bosnian conflict- a lot of the people involved had a parent or in-laws who was of 'mixed' origin. This made no difference at all. It appears that mixed marriages in places like Mostar have greatly declined in the last couple of decades because of the conflict. Politics, it seems, can cut against what Desire chooses more effectively than the other way round.

Amiya lives in England. Currently, an English woman who marries a man from a non EU country can't bring her spouse to this country to live with her unless she earns more than about 18 grand a year. A woman who earns less has a desire which 'cuts against what politics has chosen' for her but that desire can't change anything. But then desires, by themselves, don't change anything at all. I desire to levitate. Mahesh Yogi pretended he could teach people to levitate. His followers created a political party- 'The Natural Law Party'- and put up candidates in every constituency in England. It changed nothing because though a lot of English people truly desired to levitate- and were willing to believe that a Society where everyone could levitate would be more peaceful and harmonious- still, most English people didn't teach Philosophy at Oxbridge and thus weren't as stupid as Prof. Srinivasan.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Make history by suing your History tutor!

Family pressure to do well academically is only counterproductive if one isn't as stupid as shit. This is because Academic credentials can be gamed in proportion to their alethic content. Counter-intuitively, low alethic content subjects- like Maths- are more difficult to game. High alethic content subjects, like History, are easy to game. Why? The base-line cognitive complexity of nomotheic models is higher than that for idiographic, or taxonomic, paradigms. In the former, the gaming strategy or heuristic is itself a part of the subject and can be distinguished as such. In the latter, it might be indistinguishable from 'research'.

Consider the case of the young lawyer who sued his old College for a million pounds in damages on the grounds that poor teaching of the Indian Modern History 'gobbets' paper had led him to getting a slightly lower degree classification which affected his subsequent earning power.

Had this young man been as stupid as shit and lacked any intrinsic interest in the subject, he would have gamed the system by writing up a dozen templates which could be used interchangeably with different 'gobbets'- i.e. extracts from documents. No doubt, a little judicious flattery or strategic gifts of the odd bottle of whiskey would have enabled him to outsource this onerous task. All that would have been required of him would be to add some idiosyncratic or antagonomic touch. In this case, since the young man in question was of South Asian ancestry, this could be easily done by quoting some obscure biography of a co-religionist or vernacular ideologue, so as to suggest intimate acquaintance with the text in question. Since no more than ten minutes were to be devoted to actually writing one's response, it would be relatively easy to throw a false light upon one's engagement with the field.

Consider the following gobbet-

“In our view it is desirable, in order not only to carry out the spirit of the Declaration of August 1917, but to promote an increased feeling of camaraderie and equal sense of responsibility between British and Indian members of the Service, that a proportion of 50-50 in the cadre of the Indian Civil Service should be attained without undue delay and that the present rate of Indian recruitment should be accelerated with this object.”
(Report of the Royal Commission on the Superior Civil Service In India, 1924, Cmd. 2128)
The Superior Civil Service no longer mattered and this was already obvious to people like Motilal Nehru who had a nephew in the ICS and thus didn't pressure his son to take that exam almost a dozen years previously. The 'inferior' Services did matter. They were the 'steal frame' holding everything together by a complicated process involving everyone gleefully picking someone else's pocket or lugubriously itching to do the same.

 K.P.S Menon and Sir Raghavan Pillai, having gathered up all the glittering prizes Oxbridge had to offer, joined the most Superior of Services around this time. But it was a more humbly born Nair, V.P Menon- an eighth standard drop out who joined the Civil Service as a typist- who rose highest (despite being viewed as a Congress plant) under the Raj. After independence, of course, it was the Oxbridge ICS brown sahibs who ruled the roost. But, during the Raj, they had little power- though, no doubt, they could get away with murdering a maid servant if the communal situation in their Province was sufficiently volatile.

I've no idea what the correct answer to this gobbet would be. Since Judith Brown was the Department Head, I imagine it would be some leftist shite insisting on the importance of Oxbridge wallahs. But that sort of thing is eminently gameable- which is why so many sociopathic Indians gravitated to it in the first place. Come to think of it, David Washbrook (whose having been overworked at the time when he tutored the Claimant for the relevant 'gobbets' paper was the legal basis for the legal action) was once a young lion attacking Brown for her attachment to the old 'Westernised elites' trope.

Returning to the gobbet in question, here's how to game it. Start with an irrelevant quotation from Gramsci and, if you are an Urdu speaker, end with a couplet from Akbar Illahabadi. The thing practically writes itself because the meat of the sandwich involves just the bare chronology for which you have already coined phrases suggestive of a cold fury which brandishes dates and quotations as a sort of displacement activity preparatory to a leap for the jugular.

Here is another gobbet- featuring Nehru
“When I heard that you had called off the civil disobedience movement, I felt unhappy … I was prepared to reconcile myself to the withdrawal of civil disobedience. But the reasons you gave for doing so and the suggestions you made for future work astounded me.” (J. Nehru to M.K. Gandhi, 13 August 1934).
The context is Gandhi's ditching the Socialists- land-reform and all that sort of thing- so as to permit Congress to take office and recruit itself financially. A stupid as shit student- one unconcerned with what precise shade of pink differentiates Washbrook from other useful idiots- wouldn't simply regurgitate generic Leftie shite because people like Washbrook take an unhealthy interest in what shade of pink your shite is. So, what I'm saying is, you've got to go brown for top marks on this.
Fasten on a word in the original and translate it into the vernacular. Then gas on about how the vernacular usage subverts the Imperial language.
In this case, I pick on 'astound'. A 'silk' pretends to be astounded by the brazen nature of a swindle and seeks to awaken a like emotion in the breast of the hegemon. The subaltern, on the other hand, is astounded by the miraculous nature of hegemonic heteronomy- the fact that the idol has feet of clay makes it that much more impressive that those same dirty feet stabilise the Earth in its proper orbit. Thus, when I express astonishment, to my upper class cousins in Hampstead, at the fact that they have toilet paper, not the proverbial lota,  in their loos I am careful to mitigate my Brahminical sphota with this dehati dhvani- to wit- surely, Dosco alumni don't have arseholes that need wiping but simply are arseholes that need wiping out?

More prosaically, astonishment is a mystical state on the journey to recognising that the Pir or Guru is greater than God despite being an obvious fuckwit.
Since Gandhi thought of himself as precisely this sort of Mahatma, he took Nehru's bitter missive as a condign tribute to his own super-wonderfulness and thus shrewdly foresaw Nehru's future trajectory as a Socialist who would show Socialism was yet more mischievous than mendacious Gandhian mendicancy.

Sadly it seems, reading the judgement in the case of this young lawyer who sued his University, not all students of History- even modern Indian History- are as stupid as shit. Thus, some fail to game their exams and, in consequence, go on to develop psychological complexes because they failed to secure Firsts in a Subject, and from a Department, determined to render utterly Third rate, any young mind that falls to its maw. Which is not to say that they can't go on to lucrative careers in, if not the oldest, then still some of the longest established professions in the City. 

Washbrook comes out well in the Judge's account. His testimony held up under cross examination. His ex-student, perhaps because he was a lawyer, did very badly. It appears that his mental health was damaged by the pressure to excel academically placed upon him by his family. However, visits from relatives spoiled his exam preparations- a story familiar to many South Asians. This had been going on even in High School.

Perhaps, rather than go to Law, this student should have challenged his ex Tutor to 'antidosis'- i.e. an exchange of professions. Clearly the younger man could have developed into a rabid 'subaltern' type identitarian jumping on 'Black Lives matter' or 'Rhodes must fall' type bandwagons and thus gaining fame as an 'engaged' public intellectual or 'woke' Savant. By contrast, long years of pedagogic drudgery in the salt mines of our snowflake generation, had left the Professor with far greater forensic capacity- albeit of a purely defensive, procedural, sort. If people like him weren't such goddam pinkos they could be VeeCees still pulling in the big bucks and jewel encrusting their golden parachutes while the whole Credentialist Ponzi Scheme collapses around their ears.

There is a lesson here which, as the Mahatma was wont to say, all who run may read.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Sen on Sraffa's silliness

In an economy with no Knightian Uncertainty, Profit would not be the reward of risk but the return on some type of Capital and thus it would be meaningful to speak of the interest rate as determining Investment by means of expansion or contraction along the curve described by the marginal efficiency of that type of Capital. Sadly, unless Darwin, not Dueteronomy, was wrong, we live in a world of radical uncertainty and thus must minimize regret we might later feel rather than maximise utility here and now.

Sraffa, like Gramsci, had no truck with Uncertainty at least in our social or 'species' life.
Gramsci wrote
In acquiring one’s conception of the world one always belongs to a particular grouping which is that of all the social elements which share the same mode of thinking and acting. We are all conformists of some conformism or other, always man-in-the-mass or collective man. 
Thus- since entrepreneurs are conventionally supposed to be optimistic 'boosters'- it follows that even if Knightian uncertainty obtains, still Capital will be deployed as if it didn't at all because the 'invisible hand' would very quickly weed out the unlucky guessers among the class of top-hatted exploiters.
How can one be certain one will always belong to a certain class? Suppose I'm very good at cooking dosas. I might discover a tastier type of batter or a new type of filling. With a bank loan, or angel investor, I might buy a food truck and start serving my new type of dosa. The thing may become a sensation. A venture capitalist might get involved. I might become the McDonalds of dosas with franchises all over the world.
Of course, things might go the other way. I may lose my job or my pension fund might collapse and so I may end my days scraping dosas in some third rate dhabha.

There may have been a time in England when people knew which class they belonged to. But for 'baby boomers' like me, no such certainties obtained. Social Class was as much subject to Knightian Uncertainty as anything else that was supervenient on Economic processes.

Not so for the followers of Gramsci- or, indeed, revivers of Sraffa.
Gramsci said-‘language itself, ... is a totality of determined notions and concepts and not just of words grammatically devoid of content'.
Sen has pointed out that 'determinations' in Sraffa's work are of a purely mathematical, or analytic, not causal or descriptive type.
What this means is that there is an equation which specifies the object referred to. However this equation may not itself be computable. We know there must be such an equation but have no means of finding out what that equation is or of verifying that we have the found the right one.
It must be the case that there is an equation which specifies the dynamics of everything I am doing as I type this and the next sentence. But I can't know that equation because xxa3945uno233.x- fuck, I didn't mean to do that.

It is true that an i-language can be constructed, given infinite time and patience, for any given historical language after it has ceased to be spoken. In that sense, Gramsci, or Chomsky, is right. However, the thing is not mathematically tractable. Back in the '60's people thought computers would develop to a point where they could be programmed with different i-languages and so act as a universal translator. We no longer believe any such thing. Google translate is based on e-language, not i-language. It accumulates a lot of facts and works on the basis of induction. I imagine we will co-evolve with it to such an extent that the way we write or read our own language, for certain specific purposes, will mean that, for certain domains, a universal translator (or babel fish) will in fact exist. However, in semantic situations where radical ambiguity (probably reflecting Knightian Uncertainty) is strategic, the thing will add noise to signal.

One way round this problem is to pretend that human beings are 'conditioned' by Language. We don't speak, we are spoken. In this case, the pay off for embracing a particularly foolish type, and immediately empirically refutable, type of determinism is that we can continue to pretend that Gramscian or Sraffian or Chomskian availability cascades aint gobshittery of an exponential sort.

Consider the recent attempt to resurrect Sraffa in the context of Piketty type junk social science or Occupy Wall Street type puerility.
The fact is, if there is no Kinghtian Uncertainty, then we don't really need price signals or mimetic effects. So Demand doesn't matter. We know in advance that, if the wage is exogenous, then any macro-state has a determination in purely material terms. We needn't bother with what is useful or needed or desired by actual human beings. We can treat them as deterministic meat machines. Forgetting we are human enables us to concentrate on the really important stuff which is about how like Capitalism is brainwashing my neighbour's cat to conduct surveillance on me and report back to the vacuum cleaner which tried to seduce me on orders from the Lizard people of Planet X. How long are ordinary people like you and me supposed to put up with this unceasing surveillance? Flesh is weak. Sooner or later we're gonna let the vacuum cleaner have its wicked way with us. I tell you, Brexit is not enough! We need a Total Revolution in this country!

Forgetting the Human element is the way to get rid of Knightian Uncertainty. It is an observable fact that the neighbor's cat is watching me as I write this now. You may say- 'pussy likes sitting in the window in the sun. The fact that its window faces yours is just happenstance. If you had decided to go for a walk, pussy wouldn't be watching you now.'
My answer is 'You are appealing to a counterfactual. Kindly read Sraffa to understand why that is not licit'.

Amartya Sen, Sraffa's student, writes-
Sraffa noted that in opting for a cost-based explanation (in line with Sraffa 1960), we can rely entirely on “observed” facts, such as inputs and outputs and a given interest rate, without having to invoke any “counterfactuals” (that is, without having to presume what would have happened had things been different). This is not the case with the utility-based explanation, since “marginal utility” inescapably involves counterfactual reasoning, since it reflects how much extra utility one would have if one had one more unit of the commodity.
Whether or not one agrees with Sraffa’s judgement on the unreliability of counterfactuals, it is indeed remarkable that there is such a methodological contrast between the utility-based and cost-based stories (in the Sraffian form). The difference between them lies not merely in the fact that the former focuses on mental conditions in the form of utility while the latter concentrates on material conditions of production (a contrast that is easily seen and has been much discussed), but also in the less-recognized distinction that the former has to invoke counterfactuals, whereas the latter—in the Sraffian formulation—has no such need
Evolution proceeds through regret minimizing strategies. Regret is all about counterfactuals- what might have been. Economics is very much a branch of, not 'Moral Science' or 'Political Philosophy', but the study of Evolution.

Sen by no means endorsed Sraffa's silliness, but as he grew older and his fitness landscape became wholly Credentialised and Careerist, ended up spouting sententious shite based on a similar denial of Knightian Uncertainty.
Sraffa's silliness was to think there could be a 'Standard commodity' under uncertainty which would allow him to ignore the Demand side of things.  Sen's stupidity to think the same thing of entitlements or capabilities thus permitting him to ignore Supply side considerations.

Neither Sraffa's Standard Commodity not Sen's Entitlements or Capabilities can be independently determined- indeed they only come into existence as a result of the forces they foreclose or ignore. What are those forces? They are the product of entirely human regret minimizing strategies (specifically, these are multiplicative weight update algorithms) of a sort found everywhere Evolution holds sway.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Nikita Dhawan affirmatively sabotaging German affirmative action

Portugal and Spain- two smallish countries on the Atlantic coast- established huge overseas Empires in the Sixteenth Century. How did they do so? Nikita Dhawan, a Professor in Germany, tells us that
postcolonial theorists emphasize the profound interconnection between Europe’s imperial ventures and the Enlightenment veneration of reason, science, and progress that made possible the very thinking of the world as a unified whole. 
This is rather strange. Neither Portugal nor Spain showed any symptom of 'Enlightenment' till their Empires had decayed and greatly diminished. These guys were busy stoking up the fires of the auto da fe and hunting for victims for the Inquisition rather than 'venerating reason, science and progress' at the height of their Imperial success. Portugal retained a large, albeit economically moribund, colonial Empire longer than even Britain or France. That was why it remained backward, even relative to Spain, into the Sixties and Seventies. Jean Paul Satre, taking a vacation from war ravaged Paris, was astonished at the poverty of the Portuguese people who had escaped both Wars but, nevertheless, stagnated. 

Nikita tells us that, according to po-co theorists, it was impossible for the Portuguese or the Spanish to conceive of the world as a unified whole even though they had circumnavigated the globe by 1522- because that event took place at least a hundred years before any scholar has dated the beginning of the Enlightenment.

Germany, though divided and slow to recover from the Wars of Religion, certainly did have an Enlightenment and a Scientific Revolution- at least on the campuses of its many Universities. So did Switzerland. The latter had no 'Imperial ventures' while the former did because it was a rising naval power and foolishly believed that colonies would help pay for shiny new battleships which would throw shade on those of the Kaiser's cousin- the British King Emperor.

Here is the clue for why the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution had no connection whatsoever- except in terms of their impact on naval power- with Colonial ventures. Portugal and Spain and later on, Holland and Britain and France, all had experienced Atlantic fishermen who could turn into sailors and soldiers able to take control of overseas territories from which valuable commodities could be extracted. However, more than experience of crossing dangerous oceans was required for Naval supremacy. Science could make a decisive contribution. Similarly, religious tolerance and economic freedoms lowered the cost and increased the profitability of colonial ventures. That is why, England prevailed over Portugal and France in India. The former's religious zealotry had provoked the wrath of the natives who soon cut it down to size. Even France made similar mistakes- though less programmatically. Ananda Ranga Pillai tells the story of a French Governor who orders the destruction of both the Temple and the Mosque to please his religious wife or mistress. The Muslims stand firm- so the Governor backs down. The Hindu priests of the Temple are unpopular with their clients and so they simply slink away. The Temple is destroyed. But this puts up the backs of the Hindus- who were the majority in South India. They gravitate to the British who were prepared to restrain or deport their own missionaries if they upset the locals.

The Brits also prevailed over the Dutch because, according to British accounts, the Dutch were drunken slobs who spent their time raping their native maidservants. Their wives, on the other hand, were kept busy whipping those same raped women. Still, the Dutch did manage to hang on to some valuable possessions which they managed to turn a profit on.

Nikita tells us that po-co theorists hold ridiculous views because 'Inspired by the Frankfurt School and the poststructuralist critique of the Enlightenment.' In other words, po-co theorists are stupid and ignorant people who, unfortunately, stumbled on some worthless drivel which sought to explain why the right sort of Revolution hadn't happened yet. But, the answer to that question was not far to seek. The Bolshevik revolution was a disaster for all Russians including most 'Old Bolsheviks'. Ordinary people showed perfect rationality by voting against, if necessary with their feet, that type of blood boltered shambles. What cognitive dissonance of their own caused po-co theorists to attach themselves to this particular academic availability cascade? One answer is that there was already a nativist 'Gharbzadegi' (Westoxification') type indigenous availability cascade based on Heidegger and other such crackpots. Post-structuralism- though enthusiastically embracing the Iranian revolution in the person of Foucault- was slightly less uncouth. Also, it qualified one for a Professorship in some academic backwater like Innsbruck or Idaho.

Nikita, who teaches at the former, probably speaks in propria persona when she goes on to say-
These “world-knowing” and “world-creating”strategies were at the heart of European colonialism. Imperialist ideologies were successful in translating their provincial understanding of knowledge,norms, values, and ideals into explanatory paradigms with universalist purchase. The universalizing project of Enlightenment imposed a uniform standard of instrumental reason, privileging European conceptions of knowledge and institutions.
Nikita is saying that European colonialism had univocal strategies of an epistemic type. Yet we know that Spain and Portugal had very different epistemic systems from those of Holland or Britain. France has always had a type of thinking wholly alien and generally uncongenial to empirical England. We think philosophy is a joke subject. The French make it a compulsory at High School.

'World knowing' and 'World creating' are meaningless terms in English. No body knows the World. It is too big. God may have created it. We certainly haven't.  Weltwissen und Weltschaffen might mean something to Germans- but then we think of them as a fundamentally stupid, pedantic, people who easily confuse themselves with long words and end up invading Poland and then, quite gratuitously, declaring war on America, after which they end up getting raped and slaughtered and losing a lot of territory.

Spivak's 'worlding' is based on a grotesque parody of Heidegger's essay on 'the origin of the work of art'.
George R.R Martin is an artist who has 'world knowing' and 'world creating' with reference to a particular world- the one depicted in 'Game of Thrones'. But he hasn't actually colonised that world or tamed any dragons. Spivak argues otherwise. She thinks a Britisher taking a walk in India in the early nineteenth century is actually inventing the natives and the strange trees and birds and animals that he sees. It is all becoming Imperial intellectual property. What's worse is it is all done in secret. Them redcoats come and occupy our country and extract huge profits from our starving peasantry but still they are not content! Secretly, they have invented us and our country! Macaulay doesn't say this in plain words. But in the India Office archives there's some document which shows this is what happened! Perfidious fucking Albion!

Why does Nikita think Europe had a 'uniform standard of instrumental reason' at some time in the past? It doesn't have such a standard now- which is why Merkel can't speak for May or Orban or even Macron- and it certainly didn't have such a standard in its past. No European country- colonial or otherwise- has ever privileged 'European conceptions of knowledge and institutions'. There was once a 'Concert of Europe'. It didn't stop the French getting rid of the Bourbons or Belgium gaining independence or anything else associated with 'Enlightenment' or 'Illuminati'.

Countries privilege their own institutions and standards of instrumental reason- unless the latter
militates for a pooling of sovereignty but even then that pooling could be reversed if 'instrumental reason' calls for it.

The Enlightenment reform of legal, administrative, and economic policy in the colonies, instead of ushering in freedom and equality opened a new chapter of the history of domination.

This is sheer nonsense. There was no 'Enlightenment reform' in French Algeria or British India or Dutch Indonesia or Portuguese Africa. There were pragmatic concessions and, in the case of territories held under a League or UN mandate, some cosmetic window-dressing- nothing more. No colonial power pretended that subject people were 'free and equal'. If they had done so, their own citizens would have rebelled because it was their taxes and conscript sons who kept the Imperial show on the road. In return, they got the psychic satisfaction of being the 'master race'- even if miserably poor in their slums or shanty towns.
It introduced practices of subjectification, surveillance, regulation, and discipline.
Where? Such practices already existed and were taken over or extended by colonial powers. Nothing was introduced save where a large enough colonial population existed. The French indigenat system might, at first blush, look like a counter example. But, on closer scrutiny, the whole thing turns out to be bureaucratic window-dressing. It corresponded to nothing real on the ground. That is why France kept getting hammered every time it went to war with Germany. On paper it had this huge coloured population as conscriptable (though less cowardly) as its own sons. But that paper was worthy only of wiping the Nazi conqueror's bum.

By contrast, the Kremlin did introduce highly effective practices of subjectification, surveillance, regulation and genocide to its client regimes. But so did the C.I.A. The Kremlin might invite a leader to Moscow and quietly strangle him. The Americans would pay off a general to slaughter their client along with his family- unless some member of it happened to be a Cardinal- for similarly silly reasons. What does this prove? Only that, as Obama said, super-powers have a foreign policy which consists of 'doing stupid shit'. It's a sort of Zahavi handicap they are foredoomed to.
Attempts at enlightened and humanitarian reforms regularly resulted in the increased control over the individuals in whose name these reforms were carried out.
Sheer nonsense! There were no 'enlightened and humanitarian reforms'- as opposed to capitulations to Evangelical or other Religious or Ideological pressure groups- but these were of a cosmetic nature.

Controlling people costs money. Controlled people have a lower marginal product and thus, if the population increases, control decreases or imposes a burden on the metropolitan population. The thing is incentive incompatible.
As argued by David Scott (1999: 35), colonialism produced not just extractive effects on colonized bodies, but also governing effects on colonial conduct.

Scott is a silly man who writes nonsense about the Carribean- a topos very different from that of  African or South Asian Imperialism.
 'Extractive effects on colonized bodies' is gibberish. It is not really the case that the imperialists got up in the middle of the night and extracted the oil our of coloured people's hair, or wax from their ears. 'Governing effects on colonial conduct' is equally meaningless. Extraction and Governing are the same wherever they occur. Only magic, or some supernatural process, could make them different in different climes or having regard to different complexions.
Although the focus has primarily been on time, it is important to bear in mind that the Enlightenment association with and embeddedness in the geographical region “Europe” is a decisive aspect of its self-consciousness.

WTF?! Has this lady never heard of America? The geographical region 'Europe' meant nothing to the young Republic. England did- as an object of hate. Santayana's young Puritan is taught to transfer his fork to his right hand after cutting up his meat because do otherwise is 'English' and effete and thus wholly un-American.
From this perceived “center”, the Enlightenment thinkers began to theorize the“peripheral” parts of the world, comparing their own societies and cultureswith the rest of the world. Colonialism was the “age of discovery”, when the Europeans claimed to have “found” new worlds by bravely encountering“cannibals” and “savages” (Hulme 1990: 20). Not being great travelers did not deter the Enlightenment thinkers from theorizing and judging other societies. Although few of them had direct experience of the colonies, several worked closely with private and state bodies that were responsible for formulating the colonial policies of European powers. Relying on travel literature, ethnographic sources, and literary accounts they assessed and judged the moral, political, social, and economic practices,institutions, and traditions in America as well as Asia and Africa. At the heart of the Enlightenment idea of history was the notion of “progress” of mankind from “savagery” to “civilization”, based on a complex developmental model with Europe on top of the “civilizational pyramid”. For instance, in his re-flections in
Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes draws on events in the Americas to substantiate his claim that the state of nature is savagery (Hobbes2003: 103). In his view, the “savages” hold a mirror up to the “reality” of human nature; they show the frightening image of a society bereft of those attributes which make it civilized (Hulme 1990: 24). Hobbes proposes that the state of nature is a state of war, thereby legitimizing the eventual ac-ceptance of an ultimate earthly authority, namely Leviathan, who will guarantee peace and order. The implied relationship between Europe and America becomes apparent in this metaphorical map of the world where the former symbolizes civilization and the latter savagery (Hulme 1990: 25). The language of development and the metaphor of maturation deem the natives inferior to European standards. Or, in John Locke’s famous words: “in the be-ginning all the world was America”

So, it turns out the lady has heard of America. What she does not say is that the natives of North America did indeed prove inferior to the English- at least in their resistance to certain old world diseases.

Dr. Johnson described the Scottish highlanders as savages- so what? The truth is them guys wot live in the Council block around the corner are cannibals. Don't trespass on their turf or they will eat you. The same goes for White's club. I was invited there by an Old Etonian aristocrat but one look at his filed teeth (English aristocrats, in a state of nature, have tusks) assured me that his invitation was by way of providing his fellow toffs with a bit of 'Indian takeaway'. I'm not falling for that again. I once accepted an invitation to dine with an Old Harrovian and, though a vegetarian Punjabi, he literally chewed my ear off with piteous whining against the gorgeous, pouting, Chidu who was our Finance Minister at the time. Well when I say 'literally' I mean 'literally' like in American usage- and, in fairness to him, I should mention the fellow had been to Wharton.

Marx said America was more advanced than Europe. Indeed, the whole world is becoming America. Why? It is because Americans were and are Americo-centric not Eurocentric. John Adams did spend a little time in a German grammar school but soon dropped out realising the Teutonic race to be one of industrious donkeys. Ultimately, he decided the proper education for one of his class should be technocratic. More importantly, American Universities developed wholly indigenous courses and methods of study though, like Hollywood, they used their financial muscle to cherry pick impecunious European talent. However, this did not mean that- as Gorshenkov forlornly hoped- young Americans turned into proper Europeans but rather that Europe Disneyfied itself and surrendered to Coca-Cola and the Big Mac.

Nikita may think 'Enlightenment thinkers' are important. Some American pedagogues might pretend the same thing in their classrooms or tenure-tropic, apple polishing, publications. But Americans know silly Europeans don't and didn't matter. What mattered was Franklin discovering electricity and Washington smoking a reefer through wooden teeth.

Nikita's knowledge of history is worse than even that of my imagined American Everyman.

She thinks authority was not something the law concerned itself with. If you beat your pageboy to death the law would do nothing so long as there was some discourse that was the epistemological corollary of your brutality. Such a discourse would proceed by showing that your pageboy was your inferior in brawn- which is why you were able to beat him to death- and also your inferior in wealth and social status- which is why he was working for you.

If Nikita is correct, then it must always have been the case that European discourse was founded on the 'might is right' principle. Clearly if you know you have more might than the other guy, you can do what you like to him because you have 'constituted him as an object of European knowledge'.

You don't believe Nikita could have such a foolish belief? See for yourself-
Colonial discourse was the epistemological corollary to colonial violence:It authorized Europeans to construct and contain the non-European world and its people by defining and representing them as racially and culturally inferior. By constituting them as objects of European knowledge, the colonial subject’s perspectives were disqualified and devalued. The universalist agenda of colonial discourse laid the foundations for the ideological justification of colonialism as a civilizing mission. Its Eurocentric, totalizing teleology stripped non-European peoples of agency and historicity, while the focus on reason silenced other perspectives disqualifying them as “irrational” and“unscientific”.
Is Nikita doing a spot of Spivakian 'affirmative sabotage' here? She is a Professor in a German University. Clearly, some Germans think brown people can be 'rational' or even 'scientific' which is why they hire them. Nikita feels she has to sabotage the very affirmative action machinery which grants her the status of a rational and scientific human being. She does this by saying

1) that colonial discourse had a universalist agenda- i.e., as in Chesterton's paranoid fantasies- its aim was to use coloured troops from the Colonies to enslave metropolitan citizens and force them to give up alcohol or anything else the elite disapproved of.
The truth is there was a small amount of discourse devoted to colonial matters. In France, it was fucked in the head because almost all French discourse has always been fucked in the head. In England, however, a lot of it was alethic, pragmatic but scarcely univocal. One guy says 'the people of x are stupid' and another guy promptly replies with a paper showing those same people are geniuses and probably the original Aryans or Atlanteans or whatever. The only thing English colonial discourse was univocal about was that contiguous territories populated by almost identical people must nevertheless be administered differently for wholly contingent and hysteresis related reasons.
Crap colonial discourse may have had a universalist agenda- but it was so obviously crap that it had zero abiding influence.

2) Colonialism was based on profitability. It never had any 'ideological justification'. It did have a strategic justification based on Mahan type Naval doctrine. 'Civilising mission' was funny for a while- but Kipling killed it off by linking it to his Gospel of Work. 'Ornamentalism' replaced 'Orientalism'. What was important was that appearances be kept up at the lowest possible cost. Saki describes an Edwardian Imperialist thus- ' he had quieted a province, kept open a trade route, enforced the tradition of respect which is worth the ransom of many kings in out-of-the-way regions, and done the whole business on rather less expenditure than would be requisite for organising a charity in the home country.' In other words, this magnificently moustachioed pro-consul was playing the same game of bluff as the Vicar's wife who hands round a plate of caviar sandwiches with such elan that those below the salt- who somehow end up with potted meat- nevertheless vicariously enjoy the display of an imaginary opulence. Anyway, it's all in a good cause. The Jewish Banker has been comforted with caviare and such champagne as his own vineyards produce and thus, in that spirit of Christian charity which is the monopoly of his race, signs a munificent cheque which will keep the Church heated through winter with something left over for the Organ fund and the Boy Scout's tent.

3) Communism and now Eco-Feminist gobshittery has a totalizing teleology. The former also had very good systems of surveillance and torture- or biopolitics as Foucault would have it. The latter is yet to develop any such thing- which is why we dismiss it as gobshittery. ISIS type sociopathy, at one time, seemed to be shaping up but it collapsed because of fracking. Economics, it seems, is all that matters. That, at any rate, was the scientific- as opposed to psychotic- part of Marx.

Let us now bid farewell to Nikita Dhawan. I presume she is Punjabi. Surely she doesn't need to try so hard to affirmatively sabotage the egalitarian machinery of her Academic paymasters? Why not simply dance the bhangra while saying 'India pherry hot'? After all, it worked for Ranajit Guha- and he is isn't even Punjabi.

Anyway, what really gets my goat is that Ireland- the original homeland of us Iyers till we were ejected by the leprechauns- is now ruled by some fucking Marathi- like Rajnikanth who is now running for the top job in Tamil Nadu. When will this Maratha aggression end? How long must we remain subject to their Imperialism?

Spivak, Violence & affirmative sabotage

What can philosophy tell us about violence as used by marginalised people? Nothing. Game theory can tell us when such violence might ameliorate their lot and when it will definitely worsen it. More importantly, the theory of repeated games can change Rational Expectations such that non-coercive Pareto improvements are endogenously discovered in an equitable manner. However, Game Theory can't tell us if Violence is a bad thing in itself. The fact is, it is a work skill which changes 'general intelligence' and networks. It may, depending on the future fitness landscape, turn out to have been a good thing in itself.

By contrast, philosophy can only stand around holding its limp little dick, proving against itself that Violence is the only possible Virtue Ethics.

Consider the following exchange in the NYT between a naive white interviewer and our own Gayatri Spivak who is so ignorant of India that she thinks it is named Bharat coz that was Lord Ram's younger brother's name and that there was a Pathan King of Delhi at the same time as a Mughal Emperor.

Brad Evans: Throughout your work, you have written about the conditions faced by the globally disadvantaged, notably in places such as India, China and Africa. How might we use philosophy to better understand the various types of violence that erupt as a result of the plight of the marginalized in the world today?
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak: While violence is not beyond naming and diagnosis, it does raise many challenging questions all the same. I am a pacifist. I truly believe in the power of nonviolence. But we cannot categorically deny a people the right to resist violence, even, under certain conditions, with violence. Sometimes situations become so intolerable that moral certainties are no longer meaningful. There is a difference here between condoning such a response and trying to understand why the recourse to violence becomes inevitable.
So Spivak is a pacifist who grants everybody the right to use violence provided they believe they are resisting violence. Now, if Philosophy could have a prescriptive theory of justified true belief- i.e. if Derrida was utterly and completely wrong-  then it might be able to say something substantive which could have salience in this context. But, it would also be able to tell us- on a priori grounds- which hedge fund would do best or which Research Program in Physics should get more funding so as to achieve a particular technological breakthrough. In other words, Philosophy could only have salience in seeking to understand violence by 'marginalised people' if it also had salience in deciding how to invest one's pension pot or whether String Theory should get less funding than Quantum Gravitation. Clearly, this is not the case. Indeed, people like Derrida served a purpose only because Soviet style Communist parties had salience in the Sixties and early Seventies. His worthless guff was an antidote to the mischievous certainties of the Stalinists or the murderous ravings of the Maoists. It permitted academics to survive on radicalised campuses by pretending to be Lefties without actually participating in kidnappings or assassinations or, more boringly, being subject to 'Party Discipline' with regard to their sex lives.

Spivak says that there are situations where 'recourse to violence becomes inevitable'. Why? It is sufficient for the outcome of a violent agon to be known in advance for no violence to actually occur. Expanding the 'common knowledge' information set- dissipating the 'fog of war'- providing alethic Aumann signals so as to establish a correlated equilibrium- these are things which are already being done at the State level. Something similar is required at the micro-level in the case of 'marginalised people' who may well be at the wrong end of information asymmetry.

Philosophy could a priori say- nutjobs who get a hard on when they hear the word 'Revolution' need to be disintermediated both by the Academy and the Media. Name and shame the cunts. Charge them with 'hate speech' or conspiracy or whatever and lock them up. These fuckers aint Socrates they are murderous scum.

Karl Popper is an example of this sort of philosopher. He said 'essentialism' is the hallmark of these worthless shitheads. Chase the fuckers away. Don't give them air-time. Tackle genuine problems. Do it now.

Spivak- of 'strategic essentialism' fame (i.e. lying about your supposed 'identity' for some purely tactical advantage)- is the opposite of this sort of philosopher. So she is a 'pacifist' who licenses every sort of violence. Why?
When human beings are valued as less than human, violence begins to emerge as the only response.
I'm a human being. The check-out girl at KFC, however, treats me just as a source of revenue for her employer. I explained to her that I needed to eat a kilo of chicken nuggets immediately because of the Kantian categorical imperative but, instead of handing them over, she asked me for money! This atrocious insult caused me to grab her hair and smash her head against the till. Well, that's what would have happened if my oppressor really had been a tiny little teenage girl. Instead it turned out to be my old nemesis Sanjay Subhramaniyam who said 'I'm the ghost of Vasco da Gama! I will smack the black off your President Obama! Ha ha ha ha!' That's when I woke up.
When one group designates another as lesser, they are saying the “inferior” group cannot think in a “reasonable” way.
It is obvious that Po-Co shitheads can't think in a reasonable way. STEM subject Professors think these colleagues of theirs to be an 'inferior' group. But they don't beat the shite out of them. Why? They'd get arrested and have to pay a lot of money in legal fees.
It is important to remember that this is an intellectual violation, and in fact that the oppressed group’s right to manual labor is not something they are necessarily denied.
Right to manual labour? WTF! Kids don't have the right to manual labour- they are forced to waste time in School. Is this an intellectual violation?

Rights are linked to Remedies by a bond of law. There is no 'general right to manual labour'. If I turn up at your home and proceed to do manual labour without your express authorisation, you call the police and get me arrested. I might still demand money for digging up your garden or painting your house with vomit but all I will get is jail time.
In fact, the oppressed group is often pushed to take on much of society’s necessary physical labor.
Oppression means being forced to do stuff you don't want to do. That's what happens in jail or the Gulag or under Slavery.
It is certainly possible that an oppressed group does manual labour for the oppressor. Post '67, this has been the plight of many Palestinians. However, the moment some resorted to violence, many lost even access to those low paying jobs. The Israeli economy seems immune to any Palestinian boycott- whether official or arising spontaneously through Intifada. The sufferings of the Palestinians, on the other hand, only increases under such circumstances. It now appears that the Israelis will simply strip any 'treasonous'  Palestinian in Jerusalem of his citizenship and deport him.

Clearly, there was some better way forward for the Palestinians other than the violence of the intifada or unilateral action of the Governing Authority. Edward Said, famously, joined the kids in throwing stones at one time. Ghalib says 'I too, in boyhood, threw stones at Majnun (the Mad) till I remembered my own head.' It seems Po-Co grey-beards are more infantile than even luckless street urchins. The former throw stones forgetting their own rock for a brain.
Hence, it is not that people are denied agency; it is rather that an unreasonable or brutish type of agency is imposed on them.
Agency can't be imposed and still be agency. One can treat human beings like horses or cows. But this involves culling the less biddable amongst them till mimetic effects ensure compliance. Even under these conditions- for example that of the Gulags or Nazi Concentration Camps- such agency as human beings retain is known to be, in many instances, the opposite of 'brutish'.
And, the power inherent in this physical agency eventually comes to intimidate the oppressors.
Nope. That's not the 'Hegelian struggle for recognition' at all. It is only at the margin that some oppressors get intimidated. If the oppressive structure is incentive compatible and 'pays for itself' then there is a robust response from the centre such that the balance of intimidation, at the margin, tips the other way.
The oppressed, for their part, have been left with only one possible identity, which is one of violence.
Why? A superior alternative is constructive, collective, investment in human and social capital and the building up of trust based 'in-group' commercial and entrepreneurial networks. At the socially atomised, individual level,  sly acts of sabotage or 'Good soldier Svejk' type, simulated imbecility is the only alternative. That way you keep your life and wait it out. However, if social and human capital formation has not occurred, it is a bleak future you inherit.
Nevertheless, this is the self-defeating strategy pursued by Po-Co theorists like Spivak. They turn their subject to shit by their imbecility in the hope that Western Literature and Historiography- now even Philosophy- will all collapse so that...urm... the epistemic violence of the White gaze is rendered purblind which would be swell because the Chinese wouldn't step in and force us all to pretend to know Confucius the way we currently pretend to know Aristotle.
That becomes their politics and it appropriates their intellect.
Where has this happened? Have the Palestinians turned into brutish thugs? Nope. Far from it. They have shown extraordinary altruism and ability to work together under increasingly adverse material conditions. A young Palestinian cab-driver with a primary school education can teach me plenty because a lot of his education has been of a wholly moral kind.
This brings us directly to the issue of “reasonable” versus “unreasonable” violence. When dealing with violence deemed unreasonable, the dominating groups demonize violent responses, saying that “those other people are just like that,” not just that they are worth less, but also that they are essentially evil, essentially criminal or essentially have a religion that is prone to killing.
The dominating group- like every other group- has some worthless shitheads who talk hateful shite because they like hearing the sound of their own voice. But these worthless shitheads don't change the pay-off matrix of the underlying game unless, by some act of collective folly, one of their number gets a hand on the levers of power.
And yet, on the other side, state-legitimized violence, considered “reasonable” by many, is altogether more frightening. Such violence argues that if a person wears a certain kind of clothing or belongs to a particular background, he or she is legally killable. Such violence is more alarming, because it is continuously justified by those in power.
Why is state-legitimized violence more frightening? The answer is because, speaking generally, States have more power and persistence. But, if this is 'common knowledge', it would be the case that the quanta of violence will be less to achieve any given level of compliance.

In general, such 'common knowledge' is a good thing. It means non-violent, incentive compatible 'repeated game' type correlated equilibria become Schelling focal. We get a positive sum game. Philosophy could, following David Lewis, say- okay, guys, we are seeing a fresh type of 'norming' here ; let's do our bit by showing, in our different ways, that this norming could be on the basis of 'overlapping consensus'. Let's help dissipate 'the fog of war' and disintermediate the worthless shitheads who get a hard-on when they hear of poor people cutting off slightly less poor people's heads.

B.E.: At least some violent resistance in the 20th century was tied to struggles for national liberation, whether anti-colonial or (more common in Europe) anti-fascist. Is there some new insight needed to recognize forces of domination and exploitation that are separated from nation states and yet are often explained as some return to localism and ethnicity?
The interviewer is asking about evil MNC's or Basil Zaharoff type tycoons manipulating things behind the scenes, who, it may be, are being fought by poor people in foreign countries who use ethnic or chauvinist slogans to increase esprit de corps within their ranks.
In this narrative, a bunch of guys cutting off the heads of another bunch of guys in some remote forest or mountain are actually battling hydra headed Capitalism rather than keeping alive a traditional pastime.

Spivak does not rise to the bait- or doesn't know it is being dangled.

G.C.S.: This is a complicated question demanding serious philosophical thought. I have just come back from the World Economic Forum, and their understanding of power and resistance is very different from that of a group such as the ethnic Muslim Rohingya who live on the western coast of Myanmar; though both are already deeply embedded in global systems of power and influence, even if from opposing sides. The Rohingya have been the victims of a slow genocide as described by Maung Zarni, Amartya Sen and others. This disrupts an Orientalist reading of Buddhism as forever the peace-loving religion. Today, we see Buddhists from Thailand, Sri Lanka and Myanmar engage in state-sanctioned violence against minorities.
Muslim Rohingyas wanted to join Pakistan. The Buddhist majority in the Chittagong Hill Tract of East Pakistan did not have sufficient Voice to make any similar demand though Patel did make a stink about Mountbatten handing over the district to the tender mercies of the Muslim League. Buddhists (like Spivak's own Hindu brethren) got and are getting ethnically cleansed from Bangladesh. Between 1974 and 1991, as a result of military and other action, the proportion of Bengali speakers in the area increased from 11 % to 48 % and, by now, the Buddhists are a minority in their own land.

Similarly, all Indian origin people have been subject to cleansing from Burma. This has been going on for longer than I've been alive. What caused the current crisis was violent action directed and financed by the Rohingya diaspora which is believed to have been radicalised in Saudi Arabia. This terrorism, quite predictably, back-fired spectacularly.
The fact is that when the pro-democracy spokesperson Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest there, she could bravely work against oppressive behavior on the part of the military government.
What 'work' did she do? She was under house arrest. She could do nothing.
But once she was released and wanted to secure and retain power, she became largely silent on the plight of these people and has sided with the majority party, which has continued to wage violence against non-Buddhist minorities.
A diaspora based terrorist outfit committed a cack-handed atrocity. No power on earth would have prevented a violent backlash. Aung San Suu Kyi considers herself to be her father's heir. As such, she wants the Burmese Army to monopolise the power of, not just legal, but all manners of physical coercion.
Most Karens are Buddhist- their Christian leadership however exposed them to a lot of violence. This isn't a story about some Religions being peaceful and others being violent. It's about Power and Money.
One school of thought says that in order to bring democracy in the future, she has to align herself with the majority party now. I want to give Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi the benefit of the doubt. But when the majority party is genocidal, there is a need to address that. Aligning with them cannot possibly bring democracy.
Democracy can go hand in hand with genocide. America, in the nineteenth century, is the prime example. Why does Spivak believe otherwise? Did she think that when Pakistan held its first free elections, her own Hindu brethren would be safe from ethnic cleansing? Surely, what happened next should have disabused her.
However, rather than retreating back into focused identity politics, resistance in this context means connecting the plight of the Rohingya to global struggles, the context of which is needed in order to address any particular situation. Older, national, identity-based struggles like those you mention are less persuasive in a globalized world. All of this is especially relevant as Myanmar sets up its first stock exchange and prepares to enter the global capitalist system.
 In other words, the way to help the Rohingyas is to say- 'the problem isn't a bunch of Al Qaida type diaspora nutjobs whom regional powers could agree to capture and lock up. No. The real problem is that the Rohingyas are fighting against Globalised Capitalism. They aint Osama bin Ladin type nutters- whom the Saudis have shown the world how to tame- but rather Pol Pot type nutters who can't be tamed at all (since drone strikes are counter productive)save by an invasion and extermination campaign.
In globalization as such, when the nation states are working in the interest of global capital, democracy is reduced to body counting, which often works against educated judgments. The state is trapped in the demands of finance capital. Resistance must know about financial regulation in order to demand it. This is bloodless resistance, and it has to be learned. We must produce knowledge of these seemingly abstract globalized systems so that we can challenge the social violence of unregulated capitalism.
So Spivak is saying that guys with PhDs in Fintech who have worked for Hedge Funds should be our tutors. She herself, being ignorant of Economics, can't do or say anything useful.
B.E.: What are the implications when the promotion of human rights is left to what you have called “self-appointed entrepreneurs” and philanthropists, from individuals such as Bill Gates onto organizations like the World Bank, who have a very particular conception of rights and the “rule of law?”
G.C.S.: It is just that there be law, but law is not justice.
Why is it 'just' that the law exist? The greater part of our lives involve interactions which are not justiciable- yet, we recognise that they must be just.
The passing of a law and the proof of its existence is not enough to assure effective resistance to oppression.
So the existence of the law is not in fact a requirement for Justice to obtain.
Some of the gravest violations of rights have occurred within legal frameworks. And, if that law governs a society never trained in what Michel Foucault would call “the practice of freedom,” it is there to be enforced by force alone, and the ones thus forced will find better and better loopholes around it.
Sheer nonsense! Laws don't govern a Society, people do. What Foucault called 'the practice of freedom' is utter shite- it involves having unprotected sex in bath-houses and, as the slogan had it, 'dying of ignorance'. What possible benefit can any Society derive by harkening to a moral imbecilie who says stuff like-  Freedom is the ontological condition of ethics; but ethics is the deliberate form assumed by freedom”.  Historically, we know that a lot of teachers of Ethics were slaves. We also know that enslaved people often had superior morality to their oppressors. Consider the Zoroastrian in Nineteenth Century Iran. Though condemned as 'impure' (najis) their high moral worth was recognised by their oppressors and so, when given the opportunity, they could thrive in business.

The 'Free, White and over 21' Americans were not morally superior to African Americans. Spivak has lived in America for almost 60 years. Why is she quoting the idiot Foucault?

Force does not matter- what matters is expectations about whether or not force will be applied and what the outcome will be. Expectations create Social Reality. Any system can be gamed. Mechanism design is not 'once and for all' but an adaptive, co-evolving, process. We know that 'cognitive biases' mislead our intuitions- that is why we follow regret minimizing, not utility maximising, heuristics. But this means that 'Freedom' is a topology whose knight's tour we forbid ourselves both individually and collectively. It would be stupid to- like Foucault in the bath-house- 'practice' it.
That is why the “intuition” of democracy is so vital when dealing with the poorest of the poor, groups who have come to believe their wretchedness is normal. And when it comes time to starve, they just tighten their nonexistent belts and have to suffer, fatefully accepting this in silence. It’s more than children playing with rocks in the streets. It takes over every aspect of the people’s existence. And yet these people still work, in the blazing heat, for little or next to nothing for wealthy landowners. This is a different kind of poverty.
So Spivak is living in a 'do bigha zamin' fantasy world where the poor starve to death while toiling for wealthy landlords. Yet, she often tells us, she visits rural Birbhum every year. Where are these 'wealthy landlords' in Birbhum? Certainly there are cases of hunger and even starvation. Why don't people simply move somewhere else? Generally, the answer is that an existing entitlement proves illusory. There can be a political angle to this. Politicians promise a dole to keep their vote-bank intact but may have no incentive to deliver. This can happen anywhere. A lot of people in South Italy, who voted for the 5 star Party are now queuing up at Job-centres demanding the 'Basic Income' they were promised. Who knows? Maybe they will get it- briefly.
Against this, we have this glamorization of urban poverty by the wealthier philanthropist and aid agencies. There is always a fascination with the picture-perfect idea of poverty; children playing in open sewers and the rest of it. Of course, such lives are proof of grave social injustice. But top-down philanthropy, with no interest in an education that strengthens the soul, is counterproductive, an assurance that there will be no future resistance, only instant celebrity for the philanthropist.
Where does Spivak think the urban poor comes from? These are the guys who fled starvation in their villages. Clearly, there are economies of scope and scale for effective altruism focused on the urban poor. History has taught us that improving their lot can be incentive compatible and, what's more, lead to endogenous growth.
Agriculture can't sustain a large percentage of the population nor do people want to remain in 'rural imbecility'. Most third world peasants want their children to leave the land. Politicians, on the other hand, want them to stay where they are.
I say “self-appointed” entrepreneurs because there is often little or no regulation placed upon workers in the nongovernmental sector. At best, they are ad hoc workers picking up the slack for a neo-liberal state whose managerial ethos cannot be strong on redistribution, and where structural constitutional resistance by citizens cannot be effective in the face of an unconstituted “rule of law” operating, again, to protect the efficiency of global capital growth. The human rights lobby moves in to shame the state, and in ad hoc ways restores rights. But there is then no democratic follow-up, and these organizations rarely stick around long enough to see that.
Sheer fantasy. Human Rights lobbying has lost all salience. Nobody cares a fart about them anymore. Trade sanctions won't arise under TIFF's human rights clause but will from Trump's selfish stupidity.

'Self appointed entrepreneurs' garner a reputational rent. Sometimes this is linked to some 'objective' statistic which initially looks impressive but which, in the end, will turn out to be a case of Rossi's iron law- i.e. ineffective. More rarely, a self-interested 'social entrepreneur' is doing R&D which may yield Intellectual Property by using tax-free philanthropic dollars. This may be a good thing but there is a superior alternative- rationalizing the taxation of 'Charitable' Trusts.
Another problem with these organizations is the way they emphasize capitalism’s social productivity without mentioning capital’s consistent need to sustain itself at the expense of curtailing the rights of some sectors of the population.
Very true. Spivak's own academic productivity never mentions her consistent need to sustain her own career as a pedagogue by pretending she knows from shit.
Why do people emphasise the good things they have done rather than mention the fact that they just farted? The answer is that people have not learnt the Foucauldian 'practice of Freedom'.
This is all about the removal of access to structures of reparation: the disappearance of the welfare state, or its not coming into being at all. 
Structures of reparation? Where are they? Does Spivak mean the Law Courts? Is she saying 'cuts in Legal Aid' reduce access to the Courts? No. That would be a sensible thing to say. Spivak can't say anything sensible. What she is doing here is pointing to some imaginary structure and saying it was 'foreclosed' by phallogocentrism or some such paranoid shite and that's why it doesn't exist.

A Welfare State- like Chavez's- may crash because of a resource crunch or, rather, some fundamental incentive incompatibility arising from imbecilic mechanism design. Spivak, however, thinks that it appears or disappears because of some epistemic revelation or occultation. In other words, she believes in a type of Magic where Howgarts teaches worthless Continental psilosophy and Foucault is actually Dumbledore's beard.
If we turn to “development,” we often see that what is sustained in sustainable development is cost-effectiveness and profit-maximization, with the minimum action necessary in terms of environmental responsibility. We could call such a thing “sustainable underdevelopment.”
Why? Sir Partha Dasgupta says these ecological systems will crash. Even this poverty won't be sustainable. Unlike Spivak, Dasgupta actually knows Development Economics. Why does she not quote him?
Today everything is about urbanization, urban studies, metropolitan concerns, network societies and so on. Nobody in policy circles talks about the capitalization of land and how this links directly to the dispossession of people’s rights. This is another line of inquiry any consideration of violence must take into account.
Every Economist in Development policy circles talks about the capitalization of land. The Left didn't want peasant proprietors to have fungible title plus 'due process' protection from unfair compulsory purchase. That's why the Left has collapsed in Spivak's native Bengal- and now even Tripura.
Agrarian violence backfired completely because though peasants could seize land, they couldn't realise its capital value through the market, nor- worse yet- get the equilibrium price for their product. Under the Bolsheviks, this lead to 'Scissors crises' which in turn meant the enslavement or massacre of the peasants.
Why, at this late hour, is Spivak babbling this worthless shite? Has she truly learnt nothing, seen nothing, since her days at Presidency College?
B.E.: While you have shown appreciation for a number of thinkers known for their revolutionary interventions, such as Frantz Fanon, you have also critiqued the limits of their work when it comes to issues of gender and the liberation of women. Why?
Fanon had zero influence. He didn't live to see the misdeeds of the regime he ignorantly supported. The fact is the French licked the Algerians. Repression, nor resistance, worked. But it was costly both economically and politically. The pieds noirs and harkis were more valuable to France working in their new factories than growing grapes, or tending goats, in Africa.

Violence is about guys who are good at violence. Issues of 'gender and the liberation of women' may arise- as in Ocalan's ideology- if women are good cannon fodder. But men can always make better guns- so it's pretty obvious why Fanon type nutters should be denounced as nutters- not genuflected to- by women.

G.C.S.: I stand by my criticism of Fanon, but he is not alone here. In fact he is like most other men who talk about revolutionary struggle. Feminist struggle can’t be learned from them. And yet, in “A Dying Colonialism,” Fanon is really trying from within to understand the position of women by asking questions about patriarchal structures of domination.
So he was trying to do something which he signally failed to do. There is a lesson here all who run may read. Psychiatrists with a literary bent write worthless shite because...urm... they are psychiatrists and spend their days with nutters more incontinent than themselves. The same point may be made about pedagogues. Teaching young people is demoralising. You get stupider and stupider as the years drag by. Worse, you become totally disinhibited about spewing up a schizophrenic word salad when you are in grown up company or being interviewed by some earnest young gora.
After the revolution, in postcolonial Algeria and elsewhere, those women who were part of the struggle had to separate themselves from revolutionary liberation organizations that were running the state in order to continue fighting for their rights under separate initiatives.
This is unfair. Women did occupy prominent positions in the new regimes and used their power to create a new educated, professional, female class which did reach out to their less fortunate sisters.

Separating oneself from the regime carried great personal risk and little reward in terms of advancing the Feminist cause. Still, there is no question that Algerian and other such women have demonstrated tremendous moral strength and resilience. However, the fact that it was only the Islamists who could mount a challenge to sclerotic or tyrannical regimes did mean they got far less than their just deserts.
Gender is bigger and older than state formations and its fight is older than the fight for national liberation or the fight between capitalism and socialism. So we have to let questions of gender interrupt these revolutionary ideas, otherwise revolution simply reworks marked gender divisions in societies.
Why bother with 'revolutionary ideas'? There is no country in the world which would be made better off by a Revolution- even North Korea. That is the lesson we have learned from the Arab Spring. Get rid of despots by all means. But don't call it a Revolution or else a couple of years down the line the tumbrils will roll for you.
B.E.: You are clearly committed to the power of education based on aesthetic practices, yet you want to challenge the canonical Western aesthetic ideas from which they are derived using your concepts of “imaginative activism” and “affirmative sabotage.” How can this work?
G.C.S.: Imaginative activism takes the trouble to imagine a text — understood as a textile, woven web rather than narrowly as a printed page — as having its own demands and prerogatives. This is why the literary is so important. The simplest teaching of literature was to grasp the vision of the writer. This was disrupted in the 1960s by the preposterous concern “Is this book of relevance to me?” which represented a tremendous assault on the literary, a tremendous group narcissism. For literature to be meaningful it should not necessarily be of obvious relevance. That is the aesthetic challenge, to imagine that which is not immediately apparent. This can fight what is implicit in voting bloc democracy. Relevant to me, rather than flexible enough to work for others who are not like me at all. The inbuilt challenge of democracy – needing an educated, not just informed, electorate.s
Did the 'disruption' of literary paideia in the '60's produce anything or relevance to me? Suppose , I were into S&M or had developed drug induced paranoia. I might say 'Bataille & Foucault' are relevant to me". However, every culture has produced literature that panders to perverts and paranoid nutters. There was nothing special about '60's shite. All that happened was that, because of the baby boom, some worthless shitheads like Spivak got tenure and, because they weren't actually drug addled perverts, lived long enough to continue to clutter up a wholly worthless Credentialised Ponzi Scheme of an Academy.

Democracy does not need an 'educated' electorate because education may be about credentialised rent seeking based on inutile signals. It does need an informed electorate. Making more of the universal information set common knowledge improves sustainable, non coercive, outcomes for everybody.
I used the term “affirmative sabotage” to gloss on the usual meaning of sabotage: the deliberate ruining of the master’s machine from the inside. Affirmative sabotage doesn’t just ruin; the idea is of entering the discourse that you are criticizing fully, so that you can turn it around from inside. The only real and effective way you can sabotage something this way is when you are working intimately within it.
Sabotaging the master's machine is stupid because you lose your pay packet. Affirmative sabotage is even more stupid because it means pretending some worthless and hateful discourse has salience when you of all people know it is ignorant shite.
What sort of Feminism is it that fraudulently cashes the pension cheques of Dead White Men? This is not 'affirmative' of anything but careerist mendacity and it doesn't sabotage anything except the young mind's exposed to such drivel. 
This is particularly the case with the imperial intellectual tools, which have been developed not just upon the shoulders, but upon the backs of people for centuries.
'Imperial intellectual tools' concerned with Naval doctrine and Specie flow. Some pedants could make a living by pretending that their philological, antiquarian, anthropological or economic research could be useful in lowering the cost of governance and boosting returns from the Colony. Morevover, learning subject people's languages and legal codes and social mores meant the 'native informant' could be disintermediated- a good thing because it curbed a source of corruption.

This is not to say that genuine research is worthless. It is still necessary, if you want to write something worthwhile about India, to know the relevant languages and history and sociology and so forth. That's why an Israeli academic writes perspicaciously about the Guleri Rani while Spivak's essay on that same subject is worthless shite.
Let’s take as a final example what Immanuel Kant says when developing his “Critique of Aesthetic Judgment.” Not only does Kant insist that we need to imagine another person, he also insists for the need to internalize it to such an extent that it becomes second nature to think and feel with the other person.
Kant says no such thing. King Rantideva does say such a thing but only because he believed he could take on the suffering of the other by doing so. This makes sense in an occassionalist universe with a personal Deity for whom affects are effects. Otherwise it makes no sense whatsoever.  Suppose I come to you asking for food or water. I want you to feel pity for my famished state. I don't want you knowing that I had a wank yesterday or that I harbour lustful thoughts for the neighbor's goat.
Leaving aside the fact that Kant doesn’t talk about slavery whatsoever in his book, he even states that women and domestic servants are incapable of the civic imagination that would make them capable of cosmopolitan thinking. But, if you really think about it, it’s women and domestic servants who were actually trained to think and feel like their masters. They constantly had to put themselves in the master’s shoes, to enter into their thoughts and desires so much that it became second nature for them to serve.
Spivak thinks 'women and servants' have a full mental model of their employer. This is not the case. Such mental models are cognitively costly. It is sufficient to have a limited model- related to the employer's appetites and moods- so as to anticipate relevant desires and thus escape a beating from the brute.
So this is how one sabotages. You accept the unbelievable and unrelenting brilliance of Kant’s work, while confronting the imperial qualities he reproduces and showing the contradictions in this work.
WTF? A Chinese woman- Madam Wu- designed an experiment which showed Kant was wrong about 'incongruent counterparts' back in the Fifties. In any case, even a low IQ shithead like me, could see, at the age of 17, that Einstein's theory of Relativity had overthrown the entire foundations of the Critique of Pure Reason. Kant, poor fellow, bet on the wrong horse. He is not 'unbelievably and unrelentingly brilliant'. He is a silly fellow.

What 'imperial qualities' did poor old Kant 'reproduce'? None. He lived in a corner of a still quite freshly minted Kingdom. No one then thought it would (briefly) be the centre of a Germanic Empire.

How has Spivak 'sabotaged' Kant? Wu had already fucked over the last 'scientific' prediction of his system. What has Spivak achieved?
It is, in effect, to jolt philosophy with a reality check.
Yeah right, coz according to Spivak's theory, Kant's man-servant knew the entire contents of his mind so as to be able to anticipate what he'd want for his breakfast. What a swell 'reality check' Spivak has come up with! Philosophy sure got one hell of a jolt from this discovery of hers.
It is to ask, for example, if this second-naturing of women, servants and others can be done without coercion, constraint and brainwashing.
Wow! Apparently, in the old days, women and servants were able to duplicate all the mental processes of their husbands or employers because some system of coercion, constraint and brainwashing existed capable of such a feat. We must recover that system. Then I could become Terence Tao's butler and, having been subject to that 'coercion, constraint and brainwashing', I would become as great a mathematician- if not as elegant a writer of English prose.
And, when the ruling race or class claims the right to do this, is there a problem of power being ignored in all their claimed benevolence? What would educated resistance look like in this case? It would misfire, because society is not ready for it. For that reason, one must continue to work — to quote Marx — for the possibility of a poetry of the future.
A ruling class may claim the right to do something impossible- e.g. damn our souls for eternity. Our response should be laugh at them. 'Educated resistance' of Spivak's sort consists of saying 'yes, these guys can for sure damn our souls to eternity but isn't it a teensy bit racist or sexist for them to do so?'

Contra Spivak, Society is ready for this sort of 'educated resistance' - ready, that is, to kick it in the goolies and micturate mightily into its credulous and gaping mouth.

The future will come with the passage of time. It will feature poetry. We must continue to work otherwise Time won't pass and thus that future poetry won't get uttered. At this very moment, Spivak is working very hard so that the second hand on her watch moves fractionally. We should all be grateful for her labours in this regard.