April 1994 
Capital Regulation
J.D. Casten

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     The possibility of political science would require at its base the ability to conceptualize any sort of political scheme or understanding, even if this conceptualism was understood in opposition to the conceptual. To this extent, the following discussion may offer, scientifically and metaphysically to the deepest core of anything we could possibly call knowledge, some of the most logically consistent political advice this philosopher can offer to the public at large. Such will be the case if we can see that 1): the fundamental dichotomy in possible human understanding, the dialectic of division and connection (as developed by Plato in such dialogues as the Statesman, and politically illustrated by Hegel in The Philosophy of Right) reverberates throughout all knowable reality; and that 2): striving for a balance in this dichotomy is necessary for life itself. Far from any fascist or totalitarian scheme, this attempt at naturalized non-anthropomorphic authority based politics (recognizing our place within the universal), as a political platform, is already implicit in the current governmental movements in democratic societies which strive for a balance between individual liberties and global responsibilities.

     Singular unity traverses all knowable reality: the whole as oneness is singular, as is the unity of each particular in plurality. Although oneness can never be understood, can never be represented by something other than itself (since oneness as a whole can have no other), we can only grasp its singularity as a whole interconnected with divided parts: the totality of interconnections comprise the whole, a whole which the singularity of any single unity can only allude to, and not encompass. In theories, any sort of conceptualism would require unified terms, notions, or operations that could be related to each other in a consistent manner. Memory and cognition, biologically understood, are based on and limited by neurally interconnected nodal units: we would not even be able to explicitly remember anything beyond associated "thing," or "action" unities (note that the inception of the ancient dialectic may have been an insight into neurology, or a projection of it). In life, the whole and the part are interdependent as much as individual organs and the entire body work in conjunction. Politically and socially, the opposition between whole and parts divides among the ecological and the economical; our natural heritage and global interdependence being "opposed" to individual property accumulation and circulation. Our division from the whole establishes our individual unity, yet we remain enmeshed in the unity of the connected whole.  Likewise we have the United States and United Nations.


     Division is that which establishes property. It is the law as boundary, as demonstrated by the way we often use the word "law"-- the law is upheld or transgressed and broken. This law, a partition like a wall, cuts out a space which is one's own area, a personal bubble (Hegel calls this "an external sphere of freedom" [G.W.F. Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, Cambridge University Press: 1992, p. 73]). This sphere includes one's body, and the material things which one grasps and unifies as one's own. Most graphically, it is a space within which to breathe, to move, to exercise one's will-- it designates the possibility of what Hegel termed "subjective freedom". I can walk around, write things in my diary, and observe the world from my space. To cross a border and violate this space constitutes murder, rape, kidnapping, theft, trespassing, etc.: invasion of privacy.


     One is not, however, completely severed from one's family, friends, community, nation, or world. We always have relationships with others as our very birth into this world is relational. These connections extend the effect of our actions, for our relations to entities outside our private sphere allow our actions to extend beyond this sphere. The networks of worldly connections provide opportunities and bind us together: If I am isolated in a prison cell, my connections are few-- not only is my sphere of freedom limited, but my actions will have little consequence. Yet, if I am a dictator of a nation, my actions may move mountains. If I am a hermit in the woods, I may affect the local habitat, but little more. But, if I belong to a cooperative, I can help motivate the actions of many others, and contribute my strength to a greater force (factions having conglomerate unifications of bordered property).


     To the extent that I am connected to my surroundings, the power of my actions reverberate even more-- Hegel calls this "substantial freedom". Of course, these connections may also tie me down-- I may be so obligated that all actions could be restricted. Connections thus can both extend and restrict one's power. Although these connections can extend or multiply power, they do not produce it; to a large extent, power is money, or property-- one may have little money but many connections (e.g. the interconnected knowledge of education) and have more effect than someone with much money and few connections (e.g. a rich prisoner).


     Beyond the sort of discussion of the responsibility and empowerment of social connections which we find with Hegel and others, we must see that we are part of a greater ecological whole (hence, a better balance between part and whole would not be one between self and society, but one between self and environment). The economic law which divides us from one another is our immediate subjective manifestation of the objective ecological system of laws which stratify the whole, like so many interconnected threads of a web which partition spaces (such an illustration falls short of temporal dynamics, yet is logically sufficient). The laws of nature (in an ecology including biology, chemistry, and physics) maintain a consistency of relations among the parts. And our global ecology is interdependent, as trees and animals need each other to breath, feed, and survive: no individual is self-sufficient.

     This representation of nature as an interconnected whole is more "economical" in that it represents nature as related named parts that we can "posses" and manipulate, whereas a pure and whole ecological nature would transcend any divided part: nature, in its wholeness, is beyond any termed description-- any scientifically reproduced system of nature will always be incomplete.


     For ages, thinkers have struggled to account for some general principal of natural motivation. Plato's desire to be eternal (Symposium) has been transformed into more modern notions such as dialectical force, will to power, libido, repetition compulsion, and desire for presence. Roughly, such theories suggest a drive towards a primordial oneness transcending time:  time is a desire to go beyond time and be everything all at once. Such a motivation is evidenced in theories which try to account for everything, in the individual desires for property accumulation (the desire to own everything), and more globally in the tendency of discourses and institutions to attempt monopolization-- it is as if each part struggled to be the whole (the singularity of which we see in each part).  (Rather than desire, this might also be passively and technically observed as temporal niche filling expansion- related "beings" seem destined to fall together into larger or more successful wholes.  But a principle remains: there are unities, and proliferating unities expand and tend to survive in larger integrated aggregates- there is still a force here, but rather than "desire" it would be time coupled with primordial "building blocks," like subatomic particles, that "fit together" by their very unique "design" (either intelligent or random) and tend, through life, to survive and possibly expand as larger complex semi-autonomous structures.  Also consider, the possibility that if time decelerates or accelerates with the expansion of the universe, it will eventually hit an (imperceptible?) limit of no time difference, or simply one "instant".)

     Nature, being the unified whole, already is what it wants to be; nature's laws do not change. Yet, as a part of nature, life struggles for unity: similar to physical gravity fusing parts together, biological life forms unities. Plants and animals, although ecologically interdependent, are naturally singular entities (our sense of objects having a unified singularity may be a projection, or extension of life's unification). This, which I call "bionomic central force", is akin to qualitative sentience, and is not reproducible (and hence is really un-nameable), for the unity involved is ultimately the oneness of the whole, which is beyond the plurality of a reproduction, but reverberates throughout it (cp. Moses' 2nd commandment, and Plato's aversion to mimesis). Life is the unifying bridge from the part to the whole; a division, or a fission, in the unity of life is death.


     Technology, the de-centered itself, is death; and this death of the living creates the need for reproduction-- repetition destroys unity, while maintaining life's struggle for it. Technology divides sentient qualitative nature from itself, and involves it in a temporal striving to be the technological unity which, temporally, nature already is. Life's unified desire, and deadly technological reproduction co-dependently originate-- each arises with the other, and they are interlinked in the desire for reproduction.

     More immediately, technology is any sort of tool, technique, knowledge, or any other stratification of parts that we might use, such as a sword, the dialectic method, or language itself-- using this technology can multiply power, as with a lever, or with the knowledge gained by education, as mentioned above. Anything we can understand mechanistically is technological-- to the extent that we understand nature mechanistically, it is technological; any quantifiable structure, anything reproducible in a consistent manner, even beyond causality and consistency, is technological. Thus, technology also operates through us, as with the desire for reproduction. Indeed, we are often unaware to what extent technologies, implicit in our actions, institutions, discourses, etc., predetermine our lives. Although our technological awareness continues to increase, complete technological control, technological perfection, is limited by death itself-- to step out of all technology in order to use it (including the "mechanical" aspects of our brains) would be to step outside of death; it would entail being that which is un-reproducible, a transcendence beyond life and death.


     By the means and action of technology, the "resources" of nature are converted to power-property; with some knowledge or tool, given nature is transformed into a useable possession. (I put the word "resource" in quotes, for nature is seen as a resource only from an economical perspective.) This occurs with theories, as when science attempts to convert the implicitness of the unknown whole of nature into the explicitly reproducible verifiability of a relational system of parts.

     Practically, we can see how clothing (a fig leaf perhaps), as a technological tool, works as a division which establishes a public space of individual privacies. Hence we have the romantic call, against the false pride of technological division (imagine the pride accompanying the discovery of fire [desire], or the wheel [of existence]), in favor of a poetical confession of natural nakedness.

     Globally, we can see this conversion of nature or "resource" into property causing, through its biological consumption and digestion, increased non bio-degradable waste and pollution (as concrete and steal spread like a cancer), the growing scarcity of natural resources, and the unequal distribution of wealth (technological advances, such as robotics, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence, may continue to increase this disparity). In response, some might prophetically call for a relinquishment of all private property; but it is already too late to give up all the dividing and mediating technologies such as clothing, shelter, language, and money. We must realign our technological knowledge with nature-- technology, which converts nature into usable power, may also amplify this power enough that we may wisely use it to preserve nature (as with the development of recycling and bio-degradable materials).


     It is therefore my suggestion that governments operate as regulators of this "resource"-property conversion pivot between nature and a society of privacies-- a government must hold in check the "natural urge" to "violate" resources and possibly privacies, and accumulate private property (the urge to be a pre-technological nature which "owns" all of itself) which our human knowledge recognizes, while making sure, via regulation, that individual privacies and institutions do not corrupt the whole of nature. To respect private autonomy while maintaining the health of the whole, taxation might be institutionally internalized and the technological apparatus of institutional "resource"-property conversion might be regulated in such a way that the "resources" of these institutions, the life forms and materials of earth, are maintained (such, in the long run, would be in the best interest of all: sustainability). In this way, with the technical aspects of society taxed- skimming social/capital institutions' cash flows- and redirecting that power to preserve the ecological whole (including its unified parts: life-forms), technology itself might foot the bill of global regulation and maintenance, especially in a future augmented with ever more artificial intelligence and robotics.

     Government, the institutional institution, must be based on regulation, and not construction (e.g. communism: compare reigning in a live horse, with the compounding problems of building an automobile), for life's "desire" for unity can not be constructed (again, any human construction is technologically de-centered); life's force can only be regulated, guided. Institutions technologically manipulate and profit from the life force of nature; products and services are not created or constructed, materials and labor are converted, reshaped, as life force is regulated.  To try to engineer an entire society, to plan an economy from the ground up, is building something dead.  In turn, governments, as higher order institutions, should centralize regulation with a view towards the whole of life itself. We can not let technology slip out of control (e.g. the atomic bomb); technological knowledges must be used to maintain that which they have threatened: life depends on it.

     Institutionally internalized taxation would take the burden of taxation from the individual (the scope of governmental responsibility being beyond the capabilities of any single person), yet should aim to provide for individual health, as each individual is a part of the whole, the health of which should be maintained. Institutions must compensate the whole of ecology and society for their "resource"--property conversion and societal license. Yet, individuals should maintain the right of individual autonomy and privacy, the ability to dissociate from technological institutions (only their participation in institutions would indirectly tax their actions). Not only would such a scheme be more efficient, thus saving everyone money, it would also give governments more power to tax particular institutional aspects which are problematic-- governments would thus better steer the economy's ecological effect; and it would allow businesses more freedom in determining where to make cost cuts and increases for tax purposes.

     We must take into account what Adam Smith's "invisible hand" and the Regan era's deregulation failed to reckon with: the economic "resource"-property conversion's possible detriment to ecology (they might have the driver asleep at the wheel!- although the emergence of ecology advocates who are part of a de-centered public debate is a sure bet). Yet, the present scheme does not necessarily advocate Keynes' call for large government expenditure: a regulative government should try to stimulate and restrain such economic flows, rather than construct them (although some institutions may have to be commissioned to preserve the whole).

     Popular representation would remain important too, as governments must be kept responsible to the whole (the mass media is important as a mediator here), and many borderline issues would continue to require the political play of conflict and compromise.


     This suggestion, to institutionally internalize taxation and dedicate revenues to global health and privacy regulation (government would not necessarily substantially provide, but would rather aim to guarantee, such), does not create fairness with competition, it only aims for a lowest common denominator: survival. Even if equal distribution of property were possible, some people's ability to use property would be greater than others. A balance in the distribution of property (power) and technology (tools, knowledges, and other power multipliers), beyond any balance between the whole and its parts, is an impossible dream. (Ironically, calls for equal distribution of property are often made by intellectuals whose sophisticated theories can only be "owned" by an elite few; shouldn't a government's tenets [e.g. privacy and global responsibility], concerning all its citizens, be understandable to as many as possible?) Moreover, if survival is eventually guaranteed, property acquisition becomes a game of surplus-- materialism becomes an option, rather than a necessity.

     The border law which divides private property can be suspended when one person shares personal space with another. Families and friends often share personal space-- spouses usually share the same bed (where lovemaking can be a sharing, rather than a give and take). Also, a sacrifice of one's time and space can be quite saintly-- to a greater or lesser extent, one can give away some of one's property, and devote some of one's time to helping others (there are saintly institutions as well-- The Red Cross, Green Peace, the Peace Corps, United Way, etc.). Such self "sacrifice," (extending self respect to respect for others as part of your/our world) goes beyond any type of governmental legislation-- the flesh of morality can fill out the stick figure of justice.


     The notion of "mental health" (as distinct from biological dysfunctions), often equated with morality, but not morality itself, might be completely disregarded though, as long as compliance with the law remains. As most people have varying opinions as to what is real, or really important, one person believing only scientific proof is true while another believes only in the values of poetic revelation, no single perspective could be claimed as a basis of sanity-- who would call an exploitative scientist more sane than a inspiring visionary poet? Although character and morality are important, these are often wrapped up in different traditions and individual preferences. As soon as the law is disregarded though, violation of either personal space or global security may occur-- health (of one's body or its extensions, or of a part of the entire system of divisions and connections) is damaged. Breaking the law, damaging an individual or the whole of nature, would then be the only poor health action: mental illness (not physical brain damage) could only occur with breaking the law. Insanity is not a state of mind, it is criminal action; where justice ends, insanity begins.

     Seeing that our actions have the potential of violating another's space (a degree of murder), or of damaging the ecological system (a contribution to apocalypse), we must attempt to healthily guide our each and every action between murder and apocalypse.  Of course, avoiding murder can be easy, and the entire ecology is somewhat robust in nature- hence the way between murder and apocalypse is not narrow, although it might be refined indefinitely.  Finding this way may be informed by heart felt intuition as much as fretful awareness.

     We may find that the dual aspect of the law-- as the border dividing individualities, and as the ties that connect us and consistently intertwine us with our environment-- this duality can be found in the singularity of love, where love includes a respect for other's differences, and the affinity of our interconnectedness. The singularity of love, while above the duality of the law, maintains both aspects. The "madness" of a singular love above the law, would also be, with its inclusion of respect and affinity, the foundation of sanity and law.


     There may be unclear cases concerning personal space, such as determining when seduction is an invitation to share-- one has the right to prevent or stop sharing at any time, and say "No! get your un-coolness out of my space", "don't ruin my stuff!", or "I don't want to be associated with you". Establishing when and to what extent children have an autonomy distinct from their parents can also be difficult (e.g., when does a fetus gain its own privacy distinct from the privacy of the mother-- and would a respect for the fetus' privacy mean that it would have to be kept in the mother, or should there simply be attempts to keep it alive, as with special machines or surrogate mothers?). Although the distinction between the whole and its parts, between connections and divisions, may help clarify issues and show where a balance is needed, issues, such as what would be included in "public health" (food, clothing, shelter, health-care, and education?), or whether preventative regulations (often infringing on private autonomy) or performative regulations (often coming too late) should be enforced, will most likely remain debatable as attitudes and technological resources shift.

     It should be noted that our current legislation, which often diverges from the strict laws of personal privacy and global responsibility that I have described, may actually produce a disrespect for these laws. We have people calling the police "pigs" and "blue meanies" predominately because of sometimes questionable speeding laws and drug prohibitions (preventative measures, of which the first is a type of roadway safety contract, and the latter is often a blatant invasion of privacy [yet, how could we expect the government to pay for a recovering drug addict?]), or drafts for questionable military actions (it seems any sort of mandatory draft would require the government to demonstrate that the draftee's personal privacy is already being threatened and give the option of national exile).

     There are further questions concerning the multiplicity of governments-- for true justice requires an attention to the entire world, while governments have local constituents. There is no need for a single world government, but there is a need for organizations like the United Nations to encourage a global perspective among diverse countries. These countries will continue to face tough global issues, such as how one nation ought to trade with another when the other's exports are produced under circumstances that would be deemed "unjust" and not allowed at home: why should we have lower standards for our competitors? (Maybe they need them to even compete.)  And how frustrating would it be to provide population reduction incentives when a neighboring nation's population spills past its borders?

     These questionable borderline cases and international issues demonstrate how difficult it can be to use the fundamental dialectical opposition to aid the balancing of laws. The purpose of this essay has been to show how this fundamental duality in the structure of any knowledge or consistent understanding, between the interconnected whole and its individual parts, can be used to clarify political and social issues and identify imbalances (such as culture's "overtaking" of a nature which had threatened human survival). Government is a type of structure (our Constitution is a textual mechanism, a technology), and philosophical political science can shed light on the effective engineering of such a fundamental structure, as well as the metaphysical ethical implications throughout its details.

     No doubt, some might be skeptical with regard to any theoretical prescription for running society, possibly in favor of whatever political consensus dictates. Far from urging a radical enactment of "my" theoretical insights, however, I would suggest that our society has already been on the way towards respecting the dual law and the possibility of institutionally internalized taxation: programmatic theory, and pragmatic success may eventually coincide. I would be prophetically adamant about the dual law of love though: to me, the fine details of justice and the advocacy of moral saintliness remain in need of revolutionary activism which recognizes complex trade-offs. Until some sort of transcendental zillionaire declares heaven on earth, with the subsequent value increase of an earth included in the realty of a universal heaven, this dialectical insight may be the best we humans have. The redemption of a global community respecting and enacting the dual law of singular love may be on the horizon.