Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Has hypereconomic magick always been corporate/capitalist in Mage books?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Has hypereconomic magick always been corporate/capitalist in Mage books?

    Reading through Guide to the Technocracy and the M20 books, all of the examples of hypereconomic procedures rely on a very corporate understanding of finance, which feels like quite a big oversight. After all, some of the most famous economists spent more time criticizing capitalism than doing anything else. Even economists who write about the free market (good ones at least) attach quite a big asterisk, pointing out that free markets *essentially* only exist in theory, and not reality.

    Right now the presentation of hypereconomists seems to be range from... "horny for anarchocapitalism" to "big-time conservative". And that's awesome (I love the Syndicate), but honestly a great counterpoint would be anarchists and marxists, philanthropists, liberal economists, among the Virtual Adepts especially. The digital economy, digital currency, online markets... they're the perfect space for destructive hypereconomics (working against the Syndicate or dangerous businesses) and newly emerging economic models.

    Have any Mage books addressed this kind of magick?

  • #2
    Not yet; but during the M20 Kickstarter, Brucato mentioned that he intended to do a supplement about “money magick”. And knowing him, it would definitely break the Syndicate's monopoly on it.


    Comment


    • #3
      Kind of. I don't presume to be an expert on all things Mage, but I do recall the Revised Sons of Ether Traditionbook having a Rogue Economist ready made PC. She was described as basically a rogue Syncidate mage (typical money is human potenial and energy codified paradigm) that got tried of bullshit trickle-down economics and defected to the Sons of Ether to redistribute the wealth of the masses fairly. Hell, there's even a Two-Fisted Socialist PC that's quite assuming, if somewhat generic.

      Furthermore, the Sons of Ether have a internal Faction called the Utopians, who, in their histories infiltrated the Boleshivks in Russia in the 1910s and tried to create an anti-bourgeise "Scientific State." Unfortunately, the Tradbook doesn't go into great detail about these guy's politics or magickal economic theories.

      As you mentioned, the VA's not being heavily involved with the new economic innovations that the Internet has created, and seemingly only possessing a fairly generic Fight the Man/Technocracy brand of anarchism, is a major oversight. Beside the Society of Ether and maybe the Cult of Ecstasy, the VA's should be the Tradition most obsessed with alternative economic models. The Californian ideology, libertarian socialism, syndicalism, libertarian transhumanism, etc should all be major ideologies that influence them, and explain that their beef with a seemingly statist and corporatocratic Technocracy.

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, I'm not sure having the corporate understanding of finance (as you put it) is mandatory to perform "money Magick" though it makes sense in a way.

        For instance, I'm pretty sure few Marxists would actively support the "money is power over Reality" thesis. It's kind of contradictory with their philosophy. Not that they do not believe money is power since it is part of their hypotheses. However, would they actually use it this way considering the way they think and the values they support ? Not sure.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by NicoThe Duck
          For instance, I'm pretty sure few Marxists would actively support the "money is power over Reality" thesis.
          Marxist theory it's informed trough economy first and foremost. While the Syndicate believes Value it's generated by people's beliefs and desire to make an effort, Marxists would take a more materialistic approach where value it's fixed, inherent in stuff, with the exeption of people's own value (hence the workforce it's the value generator trough plusval).

          Ironically, the capability to drain a worker dry of quintessence trough slave lavor would come pretty natural to this Paradigm - albeit, for moral reasons, they may frown on such practice.

          That they don't believe in the scarcity problem (or, rather, believe in that it can be overcome) doesn't mean they don't believe in the power of wealth
          Last edited by Aleph; 06-06-2018, 12:24 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Assuming, of course, that they're bound by morals.


            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
              Assuming, of course, that they're bound by morals.
              Well the ideology is based on the idea that a certain kind of oppression is wrong. If a Marxist Mage were to exploit people for Quintessence, stealing the surplus value of their labour if you will, then they'd certainly be doing something their paradigm says is possible, but also doing something their paradigm says is horribly wrong. I mean they could be a terrible person, but it's very unlikely that they would do this specific bad thing.

              It's about as likely as a Dreamspeaker with ties to the middle umbra extensively polluting the environment to complete an effect. It would only happen if they were corrupted.
              Last edited by 11twiggins; 06-06-2018, 01:32 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                The difference is that the Dreamspeaker doesn't stand to gain anything by extensive pollution of the environment (or if he does, it's not something obvious); the Marxist definitely stands to gain something by exploiting people for Quintessence: namely, Quintessence. Yes, it runs counter to the stated ideology; but it's easy to understand why someone would succumb to this particular temptation.

                Put another way: yeah, it would only happen if they're corrupt; but that particular corruption strikes me as something that's all too likely.

                And that's before taking into account that we're dealing with the World of Darkness here, where people tend to be meaner than in our reality.
                Last edited by Dataweaver; 06-06-2018, 02:07 PM.


                Comment


                • #9
                  Well, let's not fall into politics if possible (though as being French, this is an impossible tentation for me ^^).

                  Mages are kind of the hope of the WoD, don't you think? Whether they are Traditionalists, Technocrats or else. They can alter reality and thus prevent the End of Times. Of course, every mage can fall to the tentation, though I'm pretty sure that if a Marxist Mage is true to his beliefs, he would not use that kind of Magick this way. Kind of contradictory with his credo. It's not because a Demon would promise you power that a Spirit Mage would become an Infernalist. To be clear, I'm not comparing financiers to Infernalists. I'm just saying that from a Marxist's point of view, it is anathema to use money to enslave people.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by NicoTheDuck View Post
                    Well, let's not fall into politics if possible (though as being French, this is an impossible tentation for me ^^).

                    Mages are kind of the hope of the WoD, don't you think? Whether they are Traditionalists, Technocrats or else. They can alter reality and thus prevent the End of Times. Of course, every mage can fall to the tentation, though I'm pretty sure that if a Marxist Mage is true to his beliefs, he would not use that kind of Magick this way. Kind of contradictory with his credo. It's not because a Demon would promise you power that a Spirit Mage would become an Infernalist. To be clear, I'm not comparing financiers to Infernalists. I'm just saying that from a Marxist's point of view, it is anathema to use money to enslave people.
                    Power is a hell of a lure and "doing it for the greater good" is perhaps one of the greatest mistakes a mage can make. I mean you mix Euthantos and Marxism and you start getting something.. icky.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The biggest problem with men and gods is that too many men consider themselves gods and too many gods share the vanities of men. This is especially true of the Awakened — men and women blessed with godlike power and cursed with human frailties. If you would join these people, you should be aware of what that means. The power of such a Path is certain, but its ability to destroy you and everything you hold dear is equally assured.
                      — Mage: the Ascension, p.38
                      Or, put more succinctly, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Yes, mages are the hope of the World of Darkness. They're also its greatest threat, and for the same reason.
                      Last edited by Dataweaver; 06-06-2018, 03:21 PM.


                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                        The difference is that the Dreamspeaker doesn't stand to gain anything by extensive pollution of the environment (or if he does, it's not something obvious); the Marxist definitely stands to gain something by exploiting people for Quintessence: namely, Quintessence. Yes, it runs counter to the stated ideology; but it's easy to understand why someone would succumb to this particular temptation.

                        Put another way: yeah, it would only happen if they're corrupt; but that particular corruption strikes me as something that's all too likely.

                        And that's before taking into account that we're dealing with the World of Darkness here, where people tend to be meaner than in our reality.
                        A dreamspeaker can gain an awful lot by polluting land; it's Maleficia and tugs on a lot of mythic threads. Corruption leading to great power. It comes with a stronger connection to Banes, and is a quick and dirty route to power over the land. Literally poisoning it with your influence. But they wouldn't do that unless they were corrupted to the point of inverting their Paradigm, by desperation or evil. And that could mean becoming Nephandus, but it doesn't have to.

                        A dreamspeaker is more likely to do something evil along the lines of having a forest spirit set wolves upon innocent workers who were just doing what they could to feed their families. And with a marxist hypereconomist, their dark actions would be similar; evil, but not directly contradicting their creed. Outing the secrets of a CEO's son to get at the CEO, and inadvertently causing a homicide or suicide. Helping to spark a riot (with good reason) which leads to unintended casualties.

                        Evil, in my opinion, begins with choosing what is easy over what is right. In both cases, as you say, there are good intentions! But people don't jump to enslaving people as wage slaves or corrupting the land. They start with, and often end with, something far more pernicious. Not caring about collateral damage as long as you get the job done, and not really stopping to think about the people who suffer. The people who get laid off or caught in the crossfire. It's all for the greater good.

                        But "it's all for the greater good", in most cases, doesn't lead to people betraying their core ideals.
                        Last edited by 11twiggins; 06-06-2018, 03:47 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          And with a marxist hypereconomist, their dark actions would be similar; evil, but not directly contradicting their creed. Outing the secrets of a CEO's son to get at the CEO, and inadvertently causing a homicide or suicide. Helping to spark a riot (with good reason) which leads to unintended casualties.
                          Or seizing the products of a farm to give to the homeless, because “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs”. The farmer is likely to feel very much like he's being oppressed, with the surplus value of his labor being stolen from him. And if the Marxist hypereconomist decided that the other guy needs to be a farmer for the greater good (“from each according to his ability; and I know what your ability is”), then he's engaging in slave labor.
                          Last edited by Dataweaver; 06-06-2018, 04:06 PM.


                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post

                            Or seizing the products of a farm to give to the homeless, because “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs”. The farmer is likely to feel very much like he's being oppressed, with the surplus value of his labor being stolen from him. And if the Marxist hypereconomist decided that the other guy needs to be a farmer for the greater good (“from each according to his ability; and I know what your ability is”), then he's engaging in slave labor.
                            I can totally see that as the desired end of a Great Work of Marxist Hypereconomics...except that the farmer probably wouldn't understand what's happening, his net worth would end "misplaced" by quirks of financee and bad luck. If done by a moral mage, the farmer may still make more than enough to make a decent life (as defined by the mage) but he would be extremely distressed, seeing his surplus flying away with no explanation. Perhaps to the point of the suicide...

                            But then, there are more sensible mages out there. Not all Choristers will mind-rape you until you bend into proper, good, christian behavior. Even when they most certainly can (and have done so in the metaplot).

                            A Marxist most certainly would be able to do it. "But it would be bad". Maybe. Maybe the mage it's "distressing" (or even killing) a rich landowner to save thouzands from starvation or to end a dictatorship supported by an agrarian plutocracy...Maybe stealing from the rich isn't always bad. Maybe.
                            Morals are complicated like that.
                            I imagine Marxist Hypereconomists have endless debates about this stuff (the propper limits and moral use of Hypereconomy) all the time. And sometimes one of these mages would do as mages do and take stuff in his own hands - you can't change the world by endlessly debating, can you? Among Etherites, this may be part of the conflicts between Mad Scientists and the Council of Ethics.

                            Still, I agree in that casting a nasty spell that exploits the workforce (of all people), from the pov of a Marxist Mage, would be like a Chorister corrupting the children to feed his demonic master. It probably happened, but it ain't kosher within that part of the Tradition. You don't do that. The charts to do that are on the next room, but, dude, are you THAT desperate?
                            Taking a little wealth from the 1% - prefferably less than what would be noticed (if only because the Syndicate it's out there) - and sending it to his own experiments, empowering factories owned by their employees and agrarian comunities, raising powerful Unions, etc. Marxist mages have a lot to gain from PU.
                            Last edited by Aleph; 06-06-2018, 08:57 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              To clarify, I'm not trying to address whether Marxism is moral or not. I do have a personal opinion on the subject (I don't think that Marxism can work without stripping people of free will); but that's not the point that I'm arguing here. The point I'm arguing here is pretty much what Aleph just said: its morality is murky, and whether it's better or worse that capitalism (or any other economic model) is very much up for debate, and very much a matter for the gaming group to decide. If it sounded like I was being down on Marxism, it's mainly because up to that point in the thread, I was getting a vibe of “capitalism bad; Marxism good!” and I merely wanted to provide a counterpoint to that.

                              But yeah; I definitely don't think that hypereconomics in general and the Primal Utility sphere in particular should be monopolized by the Syndicate. As pointed out, both of the technomantic Traditions have an interest in alternative economic models (the Etherites having a faction with an interest in various forms of socialism and the Virtual Adepts being a perfect group to explore the blending of information and commerce); and I'm sure other Traditions potentially have more esoteric takes on economics (isn't there a Hermetic House that's invested in the notion that money is magick?).

                              In the VA point, I remember reading one of Toffler's works where he addressed the notion that the line between wealth and information is blurring and may eventually disappear. That's what I'd use for a VA faction dedicated to hypereconomics: the transformation of currency from coins and bills to bits, and the commodification of data.


                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X