Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
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Moment of Truth: January 21 2017

The Disposable People

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

After the superwealthy have taken control of everything, what is going to happen to all the excess people? I mean, assuming the superwealthy continue on their current course of commandeering all the resources and phasing out human labor, what's going to happen to all the people they don't need? If those people begin to grow food for themselves, should they find somewhere to do so, won't the superwealthy eventually find out and take the arable land for their own profit? If they hunt and fish and gather, won't their land be taken away and turned into hunting, fishing, and gathering resorts for the superwealthy? And the pre-existing communities: if they aren't picturesque enough to bring in tourism dollars, and they can't farm and they can't get jobs and they can't hunt, fish or gather, how will they live?

I've heard estimates to the effect that 40% of the people on Earth at the moment are unnecessary to the people who matter: they're unemployable, they're in the way, and their misery isn't even necessary as a warning to the existing workforce not to ask for too much. 40% of humanity could be shed just like that. It's a wonder someone or some corporation or cabal of corporations hasn't taken care of this by now.

They're probably waiting to see how large the percentage can grow. It's entirely possible that the superwealthy could whittle the number of people necessary to keep them ecstatically comfortable down to, say, a few thousand per person who matters, or PWM. And better to massacre all of the expendables in one big lump than to do it piecemeal. Better from a PR standpoint. Then again, maybe they're actually doing it piecemeal as we speak.

But if so, they're doing it very slowly and in an extremely disorganized way. It's worth examining why they haven't taken more definitive, prompt action to eliminate the expendables.

 It probably wouldn't be much fun to be a PWM without the ability to go to, say, a town on the Amalfi Coast, where people are living as you assume they've lived for a long time, for dinner on a pleasant piazza overlooking the Mediterranean where you are served a bowl of the most divine soup, and the jasmine petals fall from the trees into your soup, and you are meant to eat them, they compliment the soup deliciously. And you wander the narrow streets with your trophy spouse, passing picturesque proletarians plying their picturesque trades: the shoesmith, smithing shoes; the beanwright, polishing his beans in an ancient hand-cranked hopper; and of course the mill-monger, monging her mill-grist in her millbarrow along streets old and narrow.

You may not be a romantic type of PWM. In fact, you might not be a P at all, in the biological sense. You might be a corporation, in which case your only goal is to create a product at the least expense, sell it at the highest price, and amass assets to be reflected in your value to financial institutions. You don't have dreams or nostalgia. So pretty proletarians plying their picturesque trades don't affect you.

What corporations need is customers, people who buy things, or pay for services. And if you can't pay for things corporations peddle, you're probably in some famine or war somewhere. In which case, you might belong to an organization that can afford to pay for weapons. Or else you're just someone trying to survive. In which case, you might be the target of an arms customer, inspiring him to purchase more accurate weapons.

It's beginning to seem as though even the least productive human contains some few drops of value to even the most inhuman of collective human organisms. Yet I'm sure I heard something about valueless people and their unworthiness in the eyes of capitalism. I suppose the question is, worthy of what? And what if capitalism isn't aware of their value? What if capitalism is a self-destructive carnivore, lacking the wisdom to alter its behavior in order to sustain the environment it requires to survive?

Returning to the picturesque, for the moment, let's consider an additional facet of those tradespeople who populate the town where our PWMs ate their jasmine-laced soup. Those tradespeople don't merely exist as set dressing. The shoesmith smiths his shoes for people in the town with feet. There's life going on in the town. It isn't Westworld, in which the population exists solely for the senses of the visitor.

Even the civilian struggling to survive in a Yemeni city, fleeing bullets and explosions, is not only valuable to the bullet-seller. He may be a mother or father, with nurturing value to his offspring, or a sister or friend, with the intangible but very real value of a loved one.

If every one of us has value simply by virtue of being human – and I would argue we do – why this constant struggle to be treated as such? Is such a dimwitted thought experiment as I've meandered through here really necessary? Is it not simply true on its face? Are we so clever at deceiving ourselves that we can mentally contrive to consider blatant, destructive selfishness a virtue more easily than we can see its folly? What is really going on here?

Logic probably shakes out eventually, even out of a bag of poison. There's nothing good or nice or even, ultimately, self-preserving or self-persistent in the way our resources are being managed by the self-appointed owners. If we could somehow communicate to each new generation the ridiculous lengths to which people have gone to squeeze more than they could ever possibly require out of people whose resultant misery is in no way necessary, maybe they'd pause for a moment, put the brakes on the ever-rolling threshers gobbling up what goodness is left in the world, and, if only out of sheer exhaustion, take a god damn break.

Those who remember history are completely exhausted. Sure, some of them grow delusional, believing they can conquer the world, but most are exhausted, and with more and more history to remember every year, our exhaustion just grows and weighs heavier upon us. What goal other than simply living, if even that, could be worth the burden of dragging oneself to the calculator to figure out how many we need to starve today in order to tick our stock price up a point?

I am literally confounded by a grape. I know a lot of striving went into that grape. Generations of farmers had to cultivate and hybridize. I don't need to see the Taj Mahal to make my life complete, and I certainly don't need to design anything remotely like it. It's a tomb. I could ponder a grape forever. I could even set out to be the most complete describer of a single grape there ever was, and generate mountains of material, I could even design a Taj Mahal of the grape, with its DNA embellishing the vaults instead of Qu'ranic verses.

I believe our job is not to demonstrate to evil maniacs how evil they are, but to exhaust them with our exemplary pointless endeavors, neither constructive nor destructive, until evil maniacs can no longer figure out what their goal is. We're doing a terrible job, I'll admit it. And people are dying while we're waiting for the logic to shake out of the bag of poison. But there's really no other way to go about it.

Built into the desires of the PWMs and the corporations is a need for something from other people. You can't get attention, commerce, romance, admiration, patronization, consumption, from anyone other than people. You can't people-watch without people to watch. Granted, if anyone can be satisfied with a world of compliant robots it's the sociopaths who have clawed their way to the controlling positions. And maybe we need to do something to remove them from those positions. The good news is, eventually they die. Not soon enough, but they do. In the meantime, we must exhaust them, and not let ourselves be exhausted by them.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day.


Moment of Truth


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