Intellectuals are no longer needed by the masses to gain knowledge: the masses know perfectly well, without illusion; they know far better than the intellectual and they are certainly capable of expressing themselves. But there exists a system of power which blocks, prohibits, and invalidates this discourse and this knowledge, a power not only found in manifest authority of censorship, but one that profoundly and subtly penetrates an entire societal network. Intellectuals are themselves agents of this system of power–the idea of their responsibility for “consciousness” and discourse forms part of the system.

Foucault, M. (1977). Language, Counter-Memory, Practice, p. 207, Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.

I am Poimandres, intelligence of the supreme authority. I know what you want, and I am with you wherever you are.

Corpus Hermeticum

. . . political economy offers this advantage . . . , that though it is an organic science (no part . . . but what acts on the whole, as the whole re-acts on each part), yet the several parts may be detached and contemplated singly . . . . I had been led in 1811 to look into loads of books and pamphlets on many branches of economy; I saw that these were generally the very dregs and rinsings of the human intellect; and that any man of sound head, and practised in wielding logic with a scholastic adroitness, might take up the whole academy of modern economists, and throttle them between heaven and earth with his finger and thumb, or bray their fungus heads to powder with a lady’s fan. At length, in 1819, a friend in Edinburgh sent me down Mr Ricardo’s book: I said, before I had finished the first chapter, ‘‘Thou art the man!’’ Had this profound work been really written in England during the nineteenth century? I supposed thinking had been extinct in England. Could it be that an Englishman, and he not in academic bowers, but oppressed by mercantile and senatorial cares, had accomplished what all the universities of Europe, and a century of thought, had failed even to advance by one hair’s breadth?

Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, 1821 edition, pp. 99–100.

The development of capitalist industry produces concentration of banking, and this concentrated banking system is itself an important force in attaining the highest stage of capitalist concentration in cartels and trusts… the effect of advanced cartelization is that the banks also amalgamate and expand in order not to become dependent upon the cartel or trust … The control of those funds which are indispensable to industry rests with the banks, and consequently, with the development of capitalism and of the machinery of credit, the dependence of industry upon the banks increases … An ever-increasing part of the capital of industry does not belong to the industrialists who use it. They are able to dispose over capital only through the banks, which represent the owners. On the other side, the banks have to invest an ever-increasing part of their capital in industry and in this way become to a greater and greater extent industrial capitalists. I call bank capital, that is, capital in money form which is actually transformed in this way into industrial capital, finance capital … [such Finanzkapital] appropriates to itself the fruits of social production at an infinitely higher stage of economic development.

Hilferding, R. (1910) ‘Finance Capital. A Study of the Latest Phase of Capitalist Development.’

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