Acceleration Towards a Bottleneck kirstenhacker.wordpress.com

Submitted by nixtaken in CapitalismInDecay

"As I stepped back even further, I saw this problem throughout the entire economy. Huge fractions of the workforce are trapped in pointless jobs that they cannot quit because of their student loans. In fact, on average, there appears to be an inverse relationship between the social value of a job and how much a person gets paid. Those who fix cars or teach children resent the amount that banking and internet drones get paid and the banking and internet drones resent people who can feel that their work has value.

This inefficient economic structure designed around keeping people busy is responsible for our political polarization and populism and it is caused by expansionary monetary policies. The flow of money must accelerate in order to sustain current levels of consumption because current consumption patterns can only be maintained if people consume at an accelerated rate. It is a devil’s circle."

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"Experiments conducted with mice suggest that leaving people up to their own devices amid abundance is a recipe for disaster. In mouse colonies filled with free food and water, mice got bored and began forming gangs that raped and pillaged until not a single mouse remained in the colony.

Perhaps this is the reason that our governments try to keep people locked away in pointless jobs on an imperceptibly accelerating treadmill of consumption. But men are not mice and mice are not designed to be kept in an artificial enclosure. They are designed to explore and expand their territories, boldly going where no mouse has gone before,.. not that I subscribe to dreams of a Star Trek utopia."

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masque wrote

The mentions of "governments trying to keep people locked away in pointless jobs" and "sequestering people in laboratories," and the question "what would people do if they became truly free?" seem to suggest that the author doesn't really believe that people in these sorts of research jobs genuinely want to be there and see value in their work.

As an academic, this doesn't track with my own experiences. There are plenty of researchers who are internally motivated by a desire to expand human knowledge in some way, even if it's not immediately useful or applicable.

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