The joy of evil ian welsh q gas station


as the product of an unusual upbringing, i can say that i actually spent a few years experiencing what real slavery was like under a psychopathic abuser who held the power of life and death over me, but was generally content with humiliation and forcing me to be his maid. all of the other slaveries that came afterward (most especially including bosses, but also teachers–you neglected them in your Power to Demand list, and they really do get off on that and it is not good for them or for their students) felt like just a change in degree and not in kind.

if people are doing what they are already motivated to do, you have the added bonus that they are more productive (if that’s what you are aiming for. we give it a lot of lip service in this society, but it depends on what you’re being productive in, too) and you don’t have to constantly watch over them and make sure they’ve done it correctly. they have inbuilt motivation to try to do things correctly because THAT is the payoff. you also don’t have to worry too much about fraud, theft, etc. unless you end up with the sociopath or the psychopath. those people are a much smaller percentage of the population in a society that does not force everyone to behave as if they were a socio/psychopath.

and that is the crux of what made me comment today. our society forces everyone to behave like a socio- or a psychopath. eventually you end up with people who are more that than they are “good, kind, moral and upstanding”, but because they obviously know that they should be good and kind, we overemphasize what little we are doing in that area–donating to a charity, going to church, “supporting our troops!”.

the Milgram experiment and the Stanford Jail study come to mind. human beings in our society believe that there is some kind of character, and that we have a national character and that your character determines what you will do. most psych studies say we are almost totally malleable towards our surrounding context, and will do unspeakable things if provided the proper rationale for doing them, including claim blue is green, shock people to death, and deliberately give them Hepatitis, Syphilis just to see what will happen. most people when they hear about the latter are absolutely horrified by the idea, but they have no problem at all saying that their restaurant tips “force the waitstaff to treat me right!” or basically assuming that anyone who waits on them in a service position is basically barely above an idiot, and their job at Wal-world or McDos is some form of charity towards them. and yes, i see all of this on a continuum.

The flip side of the pleasure one takes in a dominant role — and people do it in “innocent” settings all the time; consider the dynamics of being waited on by a charming sexually attractive waiter/waitress and tipping — is the longing for a reliable dependency, to be taken care by a “good” parent, relieved of the existential dread of figuring things out and judging risks in business or life, inventing one’s self creatively. Armies are the epitome of hierarchical organization and in a well-functioning army, the common soldier knows his place but is taken care of: clothed, fed, trained, pensioned.

For one thing, I think we ought to get militant about talking about political economy in terms that are realistic, that acknowledge that hierarchy is how we organize the economy. We should not say, “markets” when what we mean is money finance. What Willy says about the ruse that is libertarianism applies. We want people to obey the rules and the rules to make sense; we want the rules to serve the greater good.

Crisis are different. electricity 101 youtube That’s great emotional stress, maybe hunger, maybe pain but not basic needs. I guess I explained that poorly. From studies on taxes for instance we know that some people will always try to cheat, some will never cheat, and the majority will change depending on the circumstances. If that middle group think that there are a number of people cheating and suffering no consequence, they will cheat. There a certain amount of fairness ingrained in our psyche. If you make it impossible to survive without cheating, that middle group will cheat up to the last survivor. As the stakes (severity of outcomes) are increased, fewer and fewer people will listen to their conscious. gas in babies that breastfeed They’ll start looking inside their tribes and coming up with sub tribes. They’ll start coming up with all sorts of excuses for their behavior, generating loads of stress. gas unlimited So even the survivors will just barely survive. That’s the behavior described by Ian.

The point wasn’t that there isn’t a resilience inherent to humanity by most likely a biological (race) survival mechanism. It was that if you want to control people with fear and anger you have to take away some of their basic needs. That is, the PTB, oligarchy, or what-have-you requires “capitalism” to work the way it does so that small group of always cheaters are masked out by the group of people teetering on survival. Just because someone shares bread with another person in their town who faces the same catastrophe, doesn’t mean that they will use that same compassion for people suffering in Yemen even if they are more responsible than say for a natural disaster. I guess that is another way of saying that domestic policy and foreign policy are intertwined in ways that don’t always seem intuitive. “Fixing” one without the other isn’t so easy, at least in my view.

Great story about laughing at your boss in the 1980s. gas bijoux nolita This is something a lot of people don’t understand. There used to be a time when many people could do this, even in America. I get accused of wearing nostalgia goggles all of the time but it is true, workers had way more power at work in the post-war period before neoliberalism really came to dominate the society.

If your read books about Soviet society you will find out that workers actually had a lot of power in the workplace, at least in the post-Stalinist period. Even if they had little political power Soviet workers weren’t easy to push around at work. Soviet workers would often tell their boss off to their face. Because of Soviet full employment policy the stick of unemployment wasn’t very strong. There was always work for you. This is why I think a robust full employment policy is better than UBI which has numerous problems that I won’t get into here to keep this post from being too long.

As you point out, the problem is that in an extremely hierarchical, unequal society people start to behave miserably toward each other. That is why we see so much punching down today. wikipedia electricity generation I often meet working-class Americans who object to increasing the minimum wage or doing anything for workers poorer than they are. When you live in a dog-eat-dog society people become very worried about their relative position in society because falling down the totem pole can be disastrous.

As for crises, I am afraid that it might take a gigantic crisis to rebuild any type of solidarity culture in this society. It is not a coincidence that so many social movements bloomed after the Great Depression and World War II. Would the civil rights movement or the counterculture have been possible without a strong economy that allowed people to experiment with different lifestyles and forms of political activism? I don’t think so.

Right now people are too individualistic to really make much of a dent in the system. Even many of the supposed leftists I meet are sharp-elbow types who would gladly sell out their principles if it meant getting ahead. This is why I think most radical movements of the past would fail today. gas prices going up It would be easy for the bosses or the government to get modern people to rat on each other and throw their “comrades” under the bus for money or a promotion.

being “for” a UBI does not necessitate being “against” a job guarantee. but i personally have seen how some of that plays out. ever see a corporation make money off of a disabled citizen, and pay them pennies on the hour for doing hard, grunt labor and then break their arm off publicizing how they “give them a chance to be normal”? and that’s with the government making up the difference in pay through aid and transfers. it’s demeaning, and it very easily could become a straight up dystopia along the lines of “take this crappy job, or we cut your food stamps”. heck, that’s already happening. and it would be well in keeping with the mentality decried here: the “make other people suffer so i can be joyful and idle” merges with the “they should be grateful we offer them anything at all, since we are the only true Producers of anything valuable” to result in mere crumbs from the table. if a Job Guarantee could prevent that, give people meaningful work and empower them doing something actually worthwhile, rather than designing/marketing/transporting garbage products for them to consume, i would sign up the first day and probably never leave for a Corp. Employer again. but if our society makes such a program, it will not be so and i can’t see the idea of a Job Guarantee the way it is being bruited about as any LESS utopian at this point than a UBI is.

a UBI in this society would be pointless. We would have to have publicly owned provisions, utilities, housing, medical care, education etc. for near at-cost pricing. if not, the Ownership Class will just hoover up the benefit of it, and we will all still be stuck working to pay the increasing costs of everything, justified by our “well, now you have more money this year and WE thankfully did not have to pay it to your ourselves”. heck, they already do it now. rent and everything else that matters goes up every year by a certain percentage, but if you are lucky, your wage goes up by one to a few orders of magnitude less than that. if they can justify it now, how much more will they justify it when the government or whomever is cutting us checks? yeah, we would end up just like that village that tried to do it in England in the 18th Century, with similar results and for similar reasons. so, UBI at this point is utopian as well as a Job Guarantee is. but no booster of the latter will admit that to be true: that EVERYthing in our society that is done for “the poor, needy” becomes and is made deliberately to be a torment to them, because the sadistic society teaches everyone to hate them and make them the scapegoat for all of society’s ills. it’s a never ending charge of “you didn’t make the right life decisions, therefore be happy with what we allow you to have”.

this goes back to the Freedom From/Freedom To debate in ethics, i think. yes, in my “ideal” world, we would still work. there would still be stuff to do, and people would still be paid somehow to do it, perhaps with perks but perhaps with psychological payoffs that are in small evidence today but that Industrial Psych majors are always touting. but the status, and the -Rulers and the ruled- crap needs to go. if rules are to be followed, they would be followed by EVERYone after EVERYone has determined what those rules are and why they are the ones that make the most sense. anything else is a form of slavery, with simply various elaborate justifications.

Yeah I think there are problems with the Job Guarantee too, but to me a UBI would be worse and probably not workable anyway. When I think of something like the Job Guarantee I think more along the lines of New Deal programs like the WPA and CCC and not English workhouses. How these policies work out depends on the society you live in. They can be made very draconian or not depending on conditions. electricity usage I had relatives who were employed by the CCC and they liked it a lot. Of course, given our current culture you are probably right that any programs to help the poor will be draconian in nature because of how much we hate the poor.

This is why I think that we need a cultural change and that will only come about from a massive catastrophe that hurts almost everyone. When the Great Depression hit it was very difficult to scoff at the poor as lazy or stupid losers because so many people were made poor and unemployed including many people who were formerly affluent and obviously “did everything right” according to social ideals at the time. More people adopted a “but for the grace of god there go I” attitude about the poor. As we moved further and further away from the Great Depression that attitude changed.

I have noticed something similar in recent years. I sometimes go back to message boards from around the time of the Great Recession and notice that posters were a lot more compassionate at the time toward people posting about their job/economic struggles. electricity history pdf Now you go online and it is like we are back to the old “let’s dump on losers” culture. In a dog-eat-dog society you need the pain to become so widespread that people are forced to band together to survive. Currently enough people are doing well enough that it is easy to throw the poor under the bus and not feel very bad about it.