Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wobbly times number 96


I can remember a time when the sky was clear and you could see the stars at night. I was a child and you were IT. Tag! It was a time before pollution, before the 'growth' which led to smog filled skies, except in Los Angeles. Back then, jokes were made about LA's smog. Smog was something, THEY had. We'd never see it, unless, of course, we went to LA in 1955.

Capitalism cannot survive without 'growth'. In bourgeois terms,'La Growth' means more commodities being produced for sale with a view to increasing profits. Commodities produced by wage-slaves whose time is commodified. Before capitalism, there was no such idea taken as 'commonsense'. To be sure, we were not enlightened. Most of us thought that aristocrats were above the law and that we were subjects to their absolute control--mediated, of course, by religious authority. The ideology of 'growth' fills in a lot of the blanks in our understanding of what's happening to us now--as much or more than Christian, Muslim, etc. religious ideology, IMHO.

'Growth', includes the expansion: of the workforce/population, commodified wealth and living outside the parameters of ecological health. 'Growth' is also connected to increasing debt and speculation in finance markets for commodities like derivatives, real estate and credit default swaps. Just look at our rulers and opinion making public intellectuals go on and on their 'bully pulpits' about the need for 'growth'. Granted, there is also dispute amongst groups and individuals within the issues of 'growth' coming from various perspectives, some to stop it altogether and go back to some pastoral golden age or even as far back as a prehistoric standard of living. Still, the dominant idea our era is 'growth'.

'Growth has been linked time and again with the notion of 'progress'. This is old fashioned and is profoundly wrong headed in this day and age. Progress should always be linked to the notion of gaining more freedom. More freedom and the creation of more junk in a world sick with pollution are incompatible movements of labour. Labour needs freedom and freedom at this stage of labour's ability to create wealth means disposable time, not its incessant employment by a tiny class who want nothing more than even more money under their control after they've found a market for the junk we produce. On the other hand, it should always be kept in the mind that the call for more free-time is not meant as a conservative plea to breed slavish subservience to some new form of Puritan Idealism. We don't need no steenking ascetic priests!

There's no point in being uncomfortable because you're lazy. Inventories build up while workers remain unemployed because they produce too much. Insufficient demand hits the fan. Capitalism breeds the misery of unemployment, while those who are employed are under contract to give away their lives' time.

We all have different needs in terms of time for lounging around. I reckon in a co:operative commonwealth, with distribution of wealth, measured by one's labour time put into what had been determined democratically to be necessary, we'd only collectively need four hours, maybe only 2 hours working time per day, per four day week. We're being employed to produce a lot of crap now, which we shouldn't-oughta. That crap (most of it, just polluting our planet even more) takes a lot our collective time to produce--just in case you were wondering about how we'd live with the 2-hour day. Further, on the two hour day, I think we all should be able to take care of our private desires ourselves, in private if we wish. For instance, we could spend time in a wind surfing collective, which would save anyone not interested from the bothersome effort, for example in spending one's necessary labour time in wind sail production or spending more free-time determining how to vote on yet another issue concerning our society's social plan. Of course, most planning would just amount to an easy "repetez s'il vous plait": notation of what had been taken from the social store of goods and services. The private collective's own labour, eliminates the need for social consideration, except for environmental impact. The need is even now supporting an exploitation of wage-labour, why not labour-time freely given to facilitate its use?

Of course, what we have nowadays is a 'growth' in unemployment or underemployment. Unemployment leads to poverty in a capitalist society. Workers need employers to buy what they're selling--their skills. Wages adequate to support a worker are usually paid for a forty hour work week....at least forty hours. A lot of workers are not 'bought' because the employing class can't profitably employ them for forty hours or even at all which is another way of saying that even though workers are quite capable of producing wealth, it can't be sold therefore, these workers become part of the surplus population in the logic of the social relation of Capital. If wealth can't be sold, there is no point in producing it, even though there may be mass poverty surrounding the means of production. This is the logic of wage-slavery. This is the reality which is presented as being rational. Check this video out. Check out the informed attitudes. Is shorter work time with no cut in pay presented as an solution to unemployment? No. Why not?

1 out of every 7 Americans now rely on food stamps.

While we don't see soup kitchens, it may only be because so many Americans are receiving food stamps.

Indeed, despite the dramatic photographs we've all seen of the 1930s, the 43 million Americans relying on food stamps to get by may actually be much greater than the number who relied on soup kitchens during the Great Depression.

'Living in harmony with the Earth' involves a conscious effort, even now--especially now. The ancients knew this, as conscious slaves to nature. We should know this because thinking of the Earth other than as, the only known habitable planet in the Universe, in the here and now, in the year 2011, is shot through with genocidal implulse. It always has been.

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