Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Joe CorbettJoe Corbett has been living in Shanghai and Beijing since 2001. He has taught at American and Chinese universities using the AQAL model as an analytical tool in Western Literature, Sociology and Anthropology, Environmental Science, and Communications. He has a BA in Philosophy and Religion as well as an MA in Interdisciplinary Social Science, and did his PhD work on modern and postmodern discourses of self-development, all at public universities in San Francisco and Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at [email protected].


Finance Socialism

Or The Cultural Logic of Post-capitalism

Joe Corbett

Financial socialism is distinct from financial capitalism in that the ends to which finance or monetary investments are put are for the public interest and the common good.

This essay deliberately takes its title from Frederic Jameson's essay called “Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism”, in which he claims that cultural characteristics such as flexibility, diversity, and the free-floating signifier of infinite possibility (especially suitable for the creation of endless commodities) express the cultural logic of a globalized financial capitalist system. Some who are familiar with the woke ideology of DEI [Diversity-Equity-Inclusion] might be able to recognize some of its commonality with postmodernism and, according to Jameson, its historical material basis in globalized financial capital. The thesis of this essay is that the cultural characteristics peculiar to a post-capitalist social order will be based on the emerging values inherent in the system of what I call “financial socialism”, and which those who are familiar with Integral Theory will recognize as a Teal perspective, or a truly integral worldview.

Marx and Engels
Marx and Engels

Financial socialism is distinct from financial capitalism in that the ends to which finance or monetary investments are put are for the public interest and the common good, as opposed to private interest and private profit for financial capitalism. This is the paradigm of demand-side economics in which the public purse, the ability of a sovereign government to create its own currency out of thin air, is used for the needs of ordinary people, in contrast to supply-side economics in which the ability of the government to generate its own currency out of thin air is given to private investors who turn around and donate to the re-election campaigns of politicians who enact supply-side policies.

With finance socialism the cultural logics of flexibility, diversity, and the free floating signifier of infinte possibility remain intact, in line with the principle of transcend and include. However with finance socialism the cultural logic that is added to the mix is the public and common interest, the We of the whole that is the basis of any I and Thou relation, in short, any cultural and social collectivity, not limited to the private gain of any one individual or class of individuals, which is the pen-ultimate value of modernity and capitalism.

Let's be clear that a sovereign currency gives the power of the state to grant free health care, child care, parental leave, sick leave, retirement, food, housing, and a job guarantee to all citizens, and much more, is post-capitalism that fosters an entirely new cultural logic. There is literally no limit to how much money the government has access to in its own currency to supply all of these things that are needed by ordinary people, since it has the power over its own currency to create as much money as it wants. The only true limit to this is the inflationary pressures that limited resources would allow. But the solution to limited resources would be to invest in creating more of those limited resources by the government itself, for instance by giving numerous incentives for people to become doctors, engineers, care givers, carpenters and spiritual advisors, which would be the only true limit (besides the limits of nature itself) on how much resources and wealth could be created out of thin air to meet the basic needs of all, including the need to transition to a green economy.

Public financing of common-interest projects necessary to further the flourishing of the common people, like the Chinese belt and road initiative, and the survival of the planet, like the Chinese investment in solar power, instead of private financing for individual-interest profits toward the degradation of the planet, like the fossil fuel investments the West is committed to, is in fact a newly emergent vision-logic of societal development coming out of the multipolar geopolitical landscape that is now led by China and Russia. They are very fortunately, due to geopolitical circumstances, being forced to diverge from the neoliberal private-profit scheme for the “flexible” and “diverse” regime of global financial capital out of necessity. Instead of being merely a link in the parasitic siphon of global financial capital, they are becoming public-state investors in the needs of their people and of humanity in general, with the paradigm of demand-side or public-common interest financial investment, which is what I call finance socialism.

The cultural logic of this post-capitalist new world order is decentralized and fragmented into localized and regional territories, untethered to any definite and secure universal meaning, just as its neoliberal late capitalist predecessor. However the new financialized socialist worldview is not reducible to its individual or group-niche identity components, whether that be class, race, or gender+ based, but is unified in an over-arching vision of all-human and non-human solidarity for a common interest in the survival and flourishing of the whole planet, and onward toward ever greater unities in the cosmos.

The new multipolar world led by Russia, China and BRICS points in the direction of this more unitary vision without necessarily being a full representative of it. They represent a rejection of the exclusively neoliberal vision of decentralized fragmentation for the primary advantage of a “special chosen few”, especially those in the west. And while they don't entirely reject the late capitalist postmodern logic, they seem to sense the limitations and faults of the elitist vision-logic that must be over-come in a new kind of synthesis, one that includes more of humanity in the hope of a better future.

With flexible diversity and the untethered speculations of financial capital, finance socialism, neo-socialism, or MMT [Modern Monetary Theory] for the people (by any other names) offers a vision of humanity working in the common interest of people and planet, regardless of skin color, national origin, or special-interest creed, so that finally we may fulfill that seemingly ancient dictum of a society in which there shall be a justice “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”.

Comment Form is loading comments...