The Early Days of a Better Nation

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Theories of surplus value

Nick Gevers at Science Fiction Weekly interviews Kim Stanley Robinson about his latest book, Forty Signs of Rain:

[...] Your career-long critique of capitalism is strongly in play here; in your opinion, why don't science and capitalism constitute a productive combination?

Robinson: Well, nothing can constitute a productive combination with capitalism. It's parasitic by definition.

A worker population makes its nutrient goo (surplus value, life force, stuff) and has it extracted by a small minority with superior force at its command. Like ants with aphids. We pretend not to know this and we are very good at pretending. But the old hierarchies were never rooted out, they only liquefied. Things are more fluid now, everything can happen faster, but it's the same gross inequality. Capitalism is a sort of late feudalism, or ant-and-aphid arrangement, pick your image.

The Man Who Sold the Moon, cont'd

Four comments have flooded in about the post below. Unless I hear cries to the contrary, I'll quote them shortly. Meanwhile, to clarify: I'm not making any judgement on Bush's speech as space policy, issues of funding priorities, military implications, etc. All I'm saying about it at the moment is that as far as I know it's the first time a US President has said we're going to go into space and keep on going, and that this matters.


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