Let them eat images of cake


David Graeber observes:

It used to be that Americans mostly subscribed to a rough-and-ready version of the labor theory of value. Everything we see around us that we consider beautiful, useful, or important was made that way by people who sank their physical and mental efforts into creating and maintaining it. Work is valuable insofar as it creates these things that people like and need. Since the beginning of the 20th century, there has been an enormous effort on the part of the people running this country to turn that around: to convince everyone that value really comes from the minds and visions of entrepreneurs, and that ordinary working people are just mindless robots who bring those visions to reality.

Not only does it make perfect sense, therefore, to replace all those working stiffs, all those glorified ditch-diggers who traffic in the stuff of the world, with actual mindless robots, but in doing so you’re doing the workers a great, if as yet unappreciated, favor. You’re liberating them to become . . . visionaries! “Unemployment” is just a coarse term we use to describe the pre-visionary state. And so Andreessen: “All human time, labor, energy, ambition, and goals reorient to the intangibles: the big questions, the deep needs.” Intangibility is the last refuge of the materialist.

Image of starchild from 2001.

2 thoughts on “Let them eat images of cake

  1. Deborah

    My deep need is to dig potatoes from my garden in a few months and eat them. No amount of visionary zeal will bring that to pass unless I go out there and dig a furrow and plant my seed potatoes and tend them well afterwards.

    Looking a pictures of gardens on Pinterest ain’t gonna put potatoes on my plate this summer.

    It’s the most direct and satisfying way for me to ‘Eat Local’.

    Just sayin’.


    I always find it sad that the very real and fundamental satisfaction of doing practical and needed things with your own hands is so undervalued these days. I’m not ‘quaint’ or a hippy, nor am I engaging in ‘sustainability’. A nauseating and ubiquitous term I would love to erase from public usage.

    I’m just planting seeds and eating their fruit. As God intended.

    I’m the visionary, the worker and the consumer thank you very much!

  2. yt75

    Maybe the biggest “common image”, myth or “lie” of the twentieth century was :
    “first oil shock(understood as sudden price rise) = Yom Kippur/Arab embargo = geopolitical story = nothing to do with geologic/physical constraints”

    When the first oil shock, more than anything else, was the consequence of US oil production peak that occurred in 1970(end of year), with other things in parallel, such as rebalance between majors and countries on barrels revenues percentages, and dropping of B Woods in 71 and associated $ devaluations.

    Current crisis, that is alas only beginning, is for a major part due to the fact that we are now at global oil production peak, and the “myth” mentioned above, probably has a lot to do with the almost perfect Omerta surrounding this “basic” fact.

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