Telling Tales

American History: School of Tomorrow

Kirby Urner


Those few of you who cracked open the readings of the Buckminster Fuller disciples, versus took in a few domes, chuckled about the car, will remember he talked about capitalism a lot, but not as some static entity.

If we define capitalism to be a set of practices, then we need to talk about its initial states (say with the East India Company) and then move forward (in time), noting that practices morph, maybe slowly, maybe quickly, to the limited liability pseudo-persons that today rule over the Supreme Court, if indirectly.

So in the Fuller syllabus one finds an historical sequence whereby the Phoenician Empire (sealane based) turns into the Venetian Empire (likewise maritime) which eventually gives birth to London-based world banking, then FINCAP (finance capitalism) and then LAWCAP (lawyer capitalism) and then Grunch (globalist post-nationalist, radiating from capital cities and city states, such as New York, Brussels and Dubai).

These last three instantiations of capitalism, according to Fuller (1895–1983), correspond to a timeline stretching from J.P. Morgan (1837–1913) until now, with the transition from FINCAP to LAWCAP having to do with intellectual properties largely eclipsing real estate and raw materials as the primary capital goods (and recognized as such).

Metaphysical know-how, i.e. capabilities with invisibilities (e.g. chip design and fabrication), fed into both the proprietary and open source sectors, the secretive and the freely shared.

This trend, termed “ephemeralization” by Fuller (“etherealization” by Toynbee), is what would break us out of old thought patterns. We would discover our potential to take care of humans, in ways we had hitherto only dreamed about. Our technology was catching up with our aspirations, if only we could avoid falling back on obsolete reflex-conditioning.

GRUNCH (short for Gross Universal Cash Heist) is Bucky’s successor to LAWCAP in other words, and it relies more on design science and software architecture aka “the web” than we might guess at first.

Grunch looks much like LAWCAP at first glance, if we forget about GENI and World Game and the like, still operating under the hood, as legacy thought patterns.

Fuller himself joined the socialist side of American aristocracy, meaning he enlisted, like many from Harvard, in the publicly funded military…