June 05, 2012

Another good article in The Baffler

I'm going to have to subscribe if they keep this up.

Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit by David Graeber. One of many choice bits:
There was a time when academia was society’s refuge for the eccentric, brilliant, and impractical. No longer. It is now the domain of professional self-marketers. As a result, in one of the most bizarre fits of social self-destructiveness in history, we seem to have decided we have no place for our eccentric, brilliant, and impractical citizens. Most languish in their mothers’ basements, at best making the occasional, acute intervention on the Internet.

5 Comments:

Blogger First Sea Lord said...

Basically, while markets are highly functional, Captialism is a fairly terrible way, if not the worst way, of setting social priorities and individual identity, of creating who we are.

Public education is not simply job training. It's meant to make us better citizens, kinder, more intelligent, more capable, more respectful, more socially as well as economically valuable human beings. And academia was meant, in its core, to create people who added, in economic terms, value to public goods, like the environment, social justice, knowledge for its own sake, aesthetics, philosophy, and human dignity. Markets can't value these properly anymore than they can clean air and water.

The idea that we can't afford this anymore only makes sense if you think the world is less economically efficient than it was in say, 1900. Otherwise, it's really saying that Capital is essentially the only proper object of what in any other society would be called worship.

The daily message to any form of labor in unconstrained captialism is: you are an utterly replaceable commodity. And kicking out the structures of dignity from the human experience for most people is not just a profoundly shitty thing to do, but devastates so much potential joy among so many people, in life as it is actually lived.

I'm not going to be trying to prove any of this, by the way, not without tenure.

June 7, 2012 at 12:50 PM  
Blogger The Other Front said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 7, 2012 at 8:11 PM  
Blogger The Other Front said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 7, 2012 at 8:12 PM  
Blogger Laird of Madrona said...

Other Front: ???

June 8, 2012 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger The Other Front said...

Excuse me, I seem unable to post a comment that can be distinguished by a layperson from an attack of Tourette Syndrome.

With my head a little clearer this evening, what I mean to say is that I agree with the gist of the article and FSL's comment,and goddamitsofuckingmuch.

June 8, 2012 at 8:49 PM  

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