George Floyd

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Perhaps I lost track of your argument along the way, but I'll chip in nonetheless.

We could argue that there is a sort of duel marketing tactics, one material and one ethical. The bridge between these two is often too remote/abstract for the average consumer, so inconsistencies between them are overlooked. That is, the likes of Apple can make a few virtuous tweets, winning in the ethics side of things, and because the global supply chain is beyond the horizon of most consumers (smart phones are virtually of alien origin), the dots between the ethics and the actual production can go unconnected - and thus Apple gets to have its cake and eat it too.

That is, if the average consumer grokked the mine-to-mall (or what, mine-to-doorstep?) process of the iphone, I doubt Apple would be able to get away with whatever high ethical image it may command. Disavowal, is it? When we know about something, but it is too distant to really resonate with us?

Granted, I'm using Apple as a stand-in. I hardly grok this stuff myself, but I needed to make this point somehow.


Well-known member
I think that makes a good deal of sense, @constant escape. I'd guess the large majority of consumers don't think in these terms, so apple (and others) have the green light to be -- or pretend to be -- whatever they want.

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
how is it that emancipatory politics becomes marshalled in support of its functional opposite? perhaps it's not functionally opposite, or perhaps it's the old problem of "patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel".
both of these elements are present

how is woke capitalism inherently opposed to finance capitalism? it isn't, unless its critique is intersectional or includes some economic element

and why would it, when that would be inimical to its interests in ways saying "racism etc is bad" is not

without that economic element, woke capital need only abhor demonstrably racist practices

so Uber can say "if you're racist don't use Uber" while continuing to fight tooth + nail against having to classify its workforce as employees

woke capitalism doesn't anything to say about legal predatory lending, as long as it isn't targeted at POC like it was during the housing bubble

it doesn't have anything to say about planned obsolescence, the activities of vulture funds, avoidance of corporate taxes, etc

or not anything that regular business ethics don't already have to say (how effective they are or not being another matter)

that's part of what I mean by there is no contradiction in "business terms", the limits of non-intersectional identity politics

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
and there's plenty of cynicism in woke capitalism but I would never assume it's all cynical in the way the Johnson quote demands

I'm sure there's some conscious, disingenuous manipulation of consumer ignorance in the way constant escape described

but overall it's probably a mixed bag, and people often have complicated motivations, like anything

the point is more that the sincerity or insincerity of woke capitalism doesn't matter

scoundrels or virtuous, the last refuge of capitalism will always be in what capital thinks is profitable

or put more simply, in a market economy, someone will always gravitate toward what is profitable and reconcile their ethics to it
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padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
I also think companies can develop their own kind of false consciousness

look at the financial crisis - the home lending industry, and virtually all of Wall Street, basically fooled itself into thinking that it could do no wrong

despite that notion contradicting the entire history of human endeavor

doesn't seem like it would hard to develop a false view of oneself, or of a corporate culture, as progressive

especially given that no one actively wants to be in the wrong

I guess that would be more like an inversion of the traditional Marxist notion of false consciousness

but it's just another way in which you don't need cynicism to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable
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padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
if you look at other points when capital has lost its usual stranglehold on cultural output - for example, the late 60s

it's actually startling how fast and effectively it's readjusted here

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
if you want to talk socio-historical contradictions btw, there are many interesting precedents

a notable one is the intense, repeated, completely ineffective effort to ban the selling of guns to Native Americans in early colonial America

despite the obvious existential problems created by arming potentially hostile tribes, the market forces driving the trade were simply too great

not for the sale of the guns themselves but for the increased output of pelts (native hunters with guns = more effective) for the fur trade

the government of the New Netherlands even enacted a death penalty for it at one point, to no avail

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
bonus fun fact: the 2nd Amendment wasn't about government tyranny nearly as much as legalizing frontier violence against Native Americans

it's almost like everything in American history turns out to be somehow racist if you look into it closely enough

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Don't mean to graft your words together into some frankenstein stuff, but I see an interesting overlap, and would like your thoughts on it.

"in a market economy, someone will always gravitate toward what is profitable and reconcile their ethics to it"

"it's almost like everything in American history turns out to be somehow racist if you look into it closely enough"

How strong a force does the total/collective market, and all prospects of capital, exert on something like the constitution? Is this something where ethics is still the putty-plaything of profit, in some way?

If this kind of racist, or otherwise unfairly discriminatory, ethics underpins the letters of the law, from their outset - how intrinsic is discrimination to profiting/market-dominance?

That is, can something like law be a mediator between ethics and profit, here?

Or is your point that profiting/market-dominance is indifferent to (and often upstream from) ethics? In this case, it would just be a matter of anticipating the tides of popular ethics, no?

A pretty bungled few questions here - alas, I'm mildly intoxicated. In any case, I learned from your points.