Social destruction is different. A social system cannot be destroyed by force or laws and edicts. The only way to destroy it is to replace it. This latter kind is the province of speculative capital, which even the blissfully ignorant perceive. Writing more than a decade ago in the New York Times, a Clinton administration official opined:
In July 1945, a group of scientists huddled in the new Mexico dawn to witness the first nuclear explosion. They had created a terrible power, but one that nations have successfully controlled for more than 50 years. Now we have unleashed a very different but similarly awesome force, one capable of overthrowing governments and their policies almost overnight. And there are no systems in place for controlling it. This force is the global financial marketplace.“Global financial marketplace” is the effect, which the writer confuses with the cause, speculative capital, which he does not know. And he cannot differentiate between physical and social destruction, which is why his language comes across as hyperbole. But on the severity and extent of destruction, he is right on the money.
The destructiveness of speculative capital is the logical consequence of its tendency to expand in constant search for arbitrage opportunities; expansion is a condition for its preservation. In the early stages, such expansion took place within speculative capital’s birthplace, in the realm of finance. As those opportunities were arbitraged away, speculative capital must look beyond financial markets. “Beyond” soon becomes everywhere. Speculative capital intrudes into every corner of social life, replacing, i.e. destroying, the old order.
That is the common thread linking the momentous events taking place all around us and about which – the common thread – you hear nary a word. Through the conspiracy of ignorance or malice, the destruction proceeds at full speed.