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Morlocks encouraging the Eloii be even more helpless... - Elf M. Sternberg
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Morlocks encouraging the Eloii be even more helpless...
John Lanchester writes:
We have at the moment this monstrous hybrid, state capitalism – a term which used to be a favourite of the Socialist Workers Party in describing the Soviet Union, and which only a few weeks ago was on the cover of the Economist to describe the current economic condition of most of the world. This is a parody of economic order, in which the general public bears all the risks and the financial sector takes all the rewards – an extraordinarily pure form of what used to be called 'socialism for the rich'. But 'socialism for the rich' was supposed to be a joke. The truth is that it is now genuinely the way the global economy is working.

Marx foresaw that this proletariat would be an increasingly centralised and organised force: indeed, this was one of the reasons it would prove so dangerous to capitalism… But there is no organised global conflict between the classes; there is no organised global proletariat. There’s nothing even close.
And there are two reasons why there is no organised global proletariat. At the time Marx was writing, few could forsee the industrialization of military power. It was only fifty years after the publication of Capital that the average soldier was transformed from a one-on-one warrior into a killing machine, capabling of sending dozens or even hundreds of bullets downrange with a pull of the trigger.

In nations that supposedly have a tradition of egalitarianism and meritocracy, the reasons why the proletariat hasn't come together are more complex. A sense of fatalism pervades the Catholic nations of South America and Europe, a durable sense that nothing the ordinary man does can change; protest marches are screams of rage, not organized attempts to change circumstances. In the US, the fatalism only grips half of the US; the other half believes that, if they work hard enough at it, they will, Howard Roark-like, be recognized for the geniuses they are and reap the approppriate rewards. Illusioned that their brilliance will translate into social mobility, despite their living in one of the least socially mobile of all nations in the developed world.

The other day, I was called out of the blue by someone "looking for skilled developers" to try and make the noise machine of the world even more distracting. It turned out I didn't have the skills they were looking for. But by the end of the conversation I realized that he was trying to make the world even more bread-and-circusy, one Eloii at a time.
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Comments
nojay From: nojay Date: March 31st, 2012 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Morlocks

I always reckoned the Morlocks got a bad press. The "bed of roses" life was what the Eloi enjoyed while the Morlocks worked like slaves far from the Sun. It might have been that I came from a coal-mining family in a coal-mining community whereas Wells was a Literary Jiant who enjoyed the fruits of other people's labours...

I've been tempted to start a Morlocks Society, a geekish attempt to bring the attention of the world to the folks who shift the shit and do the jobs that mean the Eloi don't have to do them to the point where they don't think anybody does it. For the Eloi it's just the way the Universe works while they smell the roses.

Sewage, for example; there's an old saying that the measure of Civilisation is the distance we can put between us and our shit. Rome was civilised, Victorian Birmingham was very civilised and modern cities today are ultra-civilised and it's all down to working stiffs in big rubber boots and not financiers, lawyers or even software developers.

Truck drivers, road repair crews, water supply engineers, linemen, here's to the shitty (in all senses of the word) job they do day in day out for a lousy paycheck and no gratitude.
ideaphile From: ideaphile Date: April 1st, 2012 09:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

Don't worry, be happy

Progressives have achieved exactly what they wanted-- extensive government control over the economy.

Why don't they enjoy it?

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amindofiron From: amindofiron Date: April 1st, 2012 10:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Don't worry, be happy

you know, in the past, I have tried to ignore you in the name of general civility an politeness. Today however I'm just fresh out of patience for it. you sirrah are a sandy vag'd little troll and I for one, and I expect many others that post here, would really appreciate it if you took the trolling elsewhere. Elf, if you consider this post over the line feel free to delete it but I'm just kinda sick of it.
ideaphile From: ideaphile Date: April 1st, 2012 11:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Don't worry, be happy

I don't mind being insulted. I take a position on the issues Elf raises; you're free to take a position on me if that's what floats your boat.

I admit I'd be happier if you'd respond to the substance of my post-- do you really believe that the progressive movement has accomplished anything useful in all these years? Has it not actually taken us further away from the worthwhile goals of freedom, prosperity, and social and racial equality?-- but if you just want to tell me where to go, I'm happy to respond in kind:

There must be a hundred million people in the US who would appreciate it if progressives would take their morally bankrupt theories of governance elsewhere, but it doesn't seem to be happening.

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mikstera From: mikstera Date: April 2nd, 2012 12:35 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Don't worry, be happy

There must be a hundred million people in the US who would appreciate it if progressives would take their morally bankrupt theories of governance elsewhere, but it doesn't seem to be happening.


Which particular "morally bankrupt theories" do you have in mind?
mikstera From: mikstera Date: April 1st, 2012 11:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Don't worry, be happy

You puzzle me. You obviously have an ideology that is radically at odds with that usually displayed on the pages of Elf's personal journal... so why are you here? Do you derive some pleasure or satisfaction from being contrarian? Rhetorically speaking, it's as if you walked into someone's house with the intent of telling everyone within earshot of the degree to which you found their furniture to be both ugly and uncomfortable.


As for the substance of your comments, I consider myself to be a Progressive... and I very much *don't* want extensive government control over the economy.

What I want is a capitalist system with State oversight to curb the sort of excesses which, I believe, are inherent to unregulated capitalism, the sort of excesses depicted in Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle", or the company towns, company stores, private and police forces of the past, not to mention environmental excesses, unsafe food supplies, unsafe or abusive working conditions, and so on.

Capitalism excels when it comes to the allocation of resources and the generation of wealth... but as to the well-being of individuals or of societies, to the extent that capitalism fosters these goods, it is more as a side-effect, if it occurs at all.

Let's face it... most of us want *some* control of the economy by the State... even the most hard-core Anarcho-Capitalist Libertarians want the State handing national defense and the enforcement of contracts.

We all just disagree as to how much State action is acceptable / needed / desirable. We're quibbling over where the lines should be drawn, rather than whether or not the lines should be drawn at all.
radven From: radven Date: April 2nd, 2012 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Don't worry, be happy

"Progressives have achieved exactly what they wanted-- extensive government control over the economy."

Actually - all I see is extensive corporate control over the government and economy.

I think we've actually ended up with a worst-of-all-worlds scenario at the moment.
ideaphile From: ideaphile Date: April 2nd, 2012 02:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Don't worry, be happy

What we have is a mutual suicide pact. One might argue that it's just simultaneous murder-- the government and the market choking each other to death-- but in practice only one side has guns.

Unfortunately, that's also the only side that has to listen when enough idiots demand self-destructive change, which pretty well explains the problem with unlimited democracy.

Fortunately, we don't quite have unlimited democracy. The tatters of the Constitution still have some limiting authority, as (I hope) the Supreme Court is about to remind the Obama administration. But that's the direction we're moving in.

And some call it "progress."

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