Monday, May 08, 2017

Ambition makes you look pretty ugly

This book review was brought to my attention by the latest Chapo. In short, it's about work and how we should fuckabuncha work. That's been a running theme here for several years now.  We do so many horrible things to ourselves and to others under the misguided premise that there is virtue in competitive self-abuse. In other words, unbridled capitalism is a race to the bottom that is isolates us and causes the lives we live to become ever less healthy and ever less free.
Anderson’s most provocative argument is that large companies, the institutions that employ most workers, amount to a de facto form of government, exerting massive and intrusive power in our daily lives. Unlike the state, these private governments are able to wield power with little oversight, because the executives and boards of directors that rule them are accountable to no one but themselves. Although they exercise their power to varying degrees and through both direct and “soft” means, employers can dictate how we dress and style our hair, when we eat, when (and if) we may use the toilet, with whom we may partner and under what arrangements. Employers may subject our bodies to drug tests; monitor our speech both on and off the job; require us to answer questionnaires about our exercise habits, off-hours alcohol consumption, and childbearing intentions; and rifle through our belongings. If the state held such sweeping powers, Anderson argues, we would probably not consider ourselves free men and women.
What I'd like to emphasize here is that the problem is we do this to ourselves. We spend so much time internalizing the competitive values of capitialism that individual achievement becomes its own moral validation for all manner of atrocities against our neighbors and against ourselves.

As long as this ethic is allowed to persist, expect more like this.
Louisiana is eyeing an effort that would require able-bodied adults to get a job if they want to receive Medicaid benefits — mimicking efforts in other states that have been bolstered by ballooning Medicaid rolls and encouragement from the Trump administration.
Until we stop buying into the con that tells us we don't deserve even the basic necessities unless we breathlessly and pointelessly fight one another for our individual shares, there's never going to be any progress.

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