We are all doing meaningless work for a meaningless future. We work to be comparatively ridiculously paid to buy entertainment and stuff we already have, to feel slightly better. Better than the neighbor who has slightly less, better so we are closer to the neighbor owning slightly more. I do not know if we can be proud of ourselves, of what we give to our children. We give the over-production of an earth with limited resources for increasing inequalities.
Society is built on the illusion that it is, like our portrayal of nature, a system, that works like a machine, that is controlled, that is sustainable by our reasoning, by the fact that we all live our lives. We live in the politics of daily life, in office politics, in family politics, and those are already hard enough without complicated it by taking a step back to understand the whole picture. There is an analogy between the whole earth and computers: we know how to work with them, it does not mean we know how they work. Earth and society are the result of a long history of processes, life world and system world being constantly in relations.
Society though is essentially wrong, when we compare it to some of the pragmatically perfect societies that we have thought off and keep thinking about. A few people around the world, through time, at least since the French Revolution, have imagined perfect societies, not fake-utopia stuck in a strict space-time, but a few things have prevented changes and these obstacles to the general good are mostly due to the one percent of the population that owns most of the wealth. They get to decide how global politics work, so they do not loose too much.
It all starts with the illusion of national democracy. Nations having democracies are also the nations have integrated into a global economy. Global economy works by having some organizations calculating a certain output of a country, called economic growth, and depending on this evaluation, will lend them a certain amount of currencies. We have here actually a microcosm of any service company, where all the employees compete against each other, though all in their own private work, to be the one receiving the best title (e.g. manager, partner, associate, director-manager, combined with the belittling definition as junior or senior,...), so the best salary. Nations compete against each other and have to make some sacrifices on their prosperity, as competition leads to sacrifices in the employee's life out of the office.
The people paying are the citizens of the nations. It is also the illusion of democracy that politicians do not make concessions to rich people. A good example here is England where the media make the politicians, obviously meaning that politicians will have to rub the newspapers' owners on their good sides. American politicians have to rub the different hedge-fund owners, industry owners, intellectual property owners, on their good sides to receive the party contribution to insure good publicity ( paying for posters, T.V. ads, grass root workers). That is also why politicians have been asked to eradicate the word 'working-class' from their speeches, so there are no more distinctions and everybody can feel like a consenting middle-class.
Why do we accept this? It is mostly for the same reasons that most people do not participate in work-unions anymore: it is the worst way to receive a promotion. What kind of factory owner would accept a worker who is ready to strike for some other worker's right. Solidarity is not productive, and this is how alienation works. Alienation from other workers is the best way to receive a slightly better salary, at the cost of the other poor soul. Same goes for the country… Why would countries unite against banks if they can receive a better estimation of their own growth ?
“What is the alternative?” is an argument proposed by the overall consenting population against any idea of change. And it is true, history has not proven many alternatives right. Of course, history is written by the countries which destroy the smaller countries. I said that Viet Nam had an interesting system and I was told that a famine in the 80's decimated the country. Of course, Viet Nam liberated Laos from the worst regime history has seen, with the help of the Soviet Union and North Korea. This desperate alliance from Viet Nam resulted in their outcast from the world. As much as there was a famine due partly to mismanagement, and the fact that the Americans created a fake market in the south during the war, the world never apologized for going to an ideological war with Viet Nam and letting them starve for an action that we would all approve now. Any socialist country was forced into poverty by the 'powerful' nations of the world (there are no powerful nations, just powerful owners of production backing up consenting nations).
We see this same portrayal of dangerous alternative in the image of Iran being 'utterly evil' or Anonymous being a destructive terrorist organization. I participate in some of the Anonymous forums, and I have to say that there is nothing terrorist about them, rather the opposite, they provide information that should be news in mainstream media. As an example, did you know that the mayor of Orlando made food donations to homeless people a crime? Did you know that the American government is legally forcing people to give testimonies against Bradley Manning (Do you know Bradley Manning? The guy who indirectly forced Western Governments to do nothing against the Arab Spring, who is being tortured at this moment in American jails).
Our capitalist society has produced great technological advancements, I am told. The problem is that even technological advancement nowadays is a decision made by big companies trying to make more profits, it has nothing to do with technological advancements improving our lives. Internet for example, this great invention, is now being reinvented so it will be entirely privatized. Even the dark internet ( the one accessed through Tor, I2P; the one that cannot be access through your mainstream browser) will not exist anymore, so all the big companies, and the nations working for them, will be able to control and destroy small alternate economy systems, like bitcoin. The game industry provides products that make us live faster and made my generation attention-deficit (meditation alternatively makes anyone smarter). Thank You technological advancement for your private transport raising the cost of public transports. Thank You technological advancement for always creating 'new' products where all the complimentary goods cost twice their real values. Thank you technological advancement for winning your battle against open source knowledge.
The world is now too big, too complex to provide an alternative, is another argument I am confronted with often. And I am afraid that it is true, that I have been brought up in the perfect environment to study mental environments (how do we come to think the way we do), when most
people have not had this luck. I do try to make most of it though.
We are all working for someone, and most of the time we do not know whom, even with the best of intentions. The German civil society does not understand they still work for a logical hegemony when it voted against nuclear energy. What they have voted for is lesser finance and support for research and investment into smart nuclear energy. Chernobyl incident killed 47 people since 1986. Why is this fact ( World Health Organization 2006 report) being left out of mainstream media ? The problem with nuclear energy at the moment is that we do not yet how to work nuclear fusion, so there is no waste and an eternal cycle of energy production, which theories actually find possible. This requires major investment, just like building nuclear reactors requires investments. Instead, the Germans have opted for 'sustainable energy'.
Sustainable energy is the lie of the energy industry, one of the best of the century probably. Why? Well lets take solar panels. Solar panels capacities work with processors just like our computers. Which means that they the industries come every two years with an effectively much better product, which means that all the old ones have to be thrown out and to be replaced. We have now a new consumption cycle for energy bringing in far more money than an eternal energy source could...
Am I a pessimist? Some politicians do go into politics so the future looks slightly brighter. Politics on the world scale works on compromises with the big companies, always threatening to outsource their industries, their labor, their revenues, or the little taxes they pay. So industries make promises to politicians. Politicians do not tell the people that they received promises from the industry owners about a slightly better future, because who would vote for a powerless politician? We are therefore left with the lies for votes. Or worse, with hypocritical liberals like Mrs.Merkel, having one of the most protective industries in the world, limiting competition in the country, and blaming the Greeks for helping their exports (a low Euro is good for exports...), telling the village Germans that the Turkish low-wage labor they have imported does not integrate well but hiding how much they need them.
I say nothing new, and yet most of the people I know do not want to do anything. Why? Fear of loss I would say. Of course fear of loss exists in everybody who has got something to lose. We are ready to make concessions only when we are more afraid of what we do not know. Naomi Klein's ¨shock doctrine” is a good example of a tool for change. An example of the shock doctrine is actually the United States, which never had a more conservative way of life (e.g. rate of women firefighter, decline in union membership, the freedom of liberal market,...) since 9/11. And this is not profiting the general population.
Another sociologist (most sociologists by the way are very left-oriented politically, except the crappy ones like A. Giddens), called Helmut Rosa observed that our society is accelerating. We compete to be faster constantly, which means effectively that we stress more and with stress disappears natural empathy. Our natural empathy disappears because of our entertainment as well. Accelerated games, accelerated films, accelerated television.
Television was problematic as the intelligentsia of the world for a long time did not accept this institution. It took the New-York Times's critics, and the fact that you had to pay for different programs (best Bourdieusian recipe to make a high-class taste) to make most of the society spend most of their evenings in front of it, myself included. Fact and fiction mingled to create the entertainment we seriously needed to not realize that we are the ignorant working-class, just like the poor workers of the third world, and that we accept our fate because we just do what we do.