11 September 2010

1867--Same old...(Update)

So, hmm...if we all knew, and I mean every single last stinking one of us, we the people, that this economic "story" has been told and told in order to create a belief with no relation to truth would it make a difference in how you "heard" the story and how you considered your place in the narrative?

[The origin of the division of the classes] is supposed to be explained when it is told as an anecdote about the past. In times long gone by there were two sorts of people; one, the diligent, intelligent, and above all, frugal elite; the other lazy rascals, spending their substance, and more, in riotous living...Thus it came to pass that the former sort accumulated wealth, and the latter sort had at last nothing to sell except their own skins. And from this original sin dates the poverty of the great majority that, despite all its labour, has up to now nothing to sell but itself, and the wealth of the few that increases constantly although they have long ceased to work. Such insipid childishness is every day preached to us in defence of property...In actual history it is notorious that conquest, enslavement, robbery, murder, briefly force, play the great part.

Maybe you can guess who wrote that.

Update: my buddy Raz posted a Taibbi blog on the facebooks that goes beautifully here--it's a longish post but the gist is this:

Unions aren't perfect, and they don't always pick the right causes to fight for, but they have to exist precisely because the vast majority of workers are replaceable, which is to say not special, which is to say vulnerable. Not that Cowherd would have any reason to know this, but that's what a "job" is, as opposed to what he and I both have, careers -- a job always involves shelving your own personal creativity and ambition to at least some degree, in order to push someone else's idea along for a while.

Measuring people by how much numerical wealth they produce is a kind of psychopathy -- it's that kind of thinking that led to Larry Summers famously saying that African countries are "underpolluted," because poisoning people in low-GDP African states makes less sense than poisoning the relatively more economically productive citizens of Western countries in Europe and America.

That kind of thinking is spreading, because our pop culture priests have succeeded in filling the population with shame and nervous self-loathing to the point where they think of anyone who isn't an employer as a parasite, and anyone who isn't rich and famous, or trying to be, as a loser.

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