Search This Site

Loading

Friday, May 8, 2009

Immanentizing The Eschaton

Damned hippies
Goddamned Hippies
(Some may want to have a look at the definition of the title of this post.)

William Greider discusses "The Future of the American Dream" over at The Nation. I agree with practically all of what he says, but it kinda sounds to me like a strange, under-the-radar, plea for fitting dirty fucking hippies in business suits so that they can more responsibly take over the engine of capitalism.
Breaking free of this rigid top-down system and liberating workers to enjoy the freedom (and responsibility) of being human would represent a profound change for our society, a great leap forward in our social development as a people. As it happens, the shift to more cooperative and respectful workplaces can also yield economic gain for the nation. As numerous academic studies have shown and outstanding companies already understand, collaborative relationships between top management and the workforce are more productive and profitable. Instead of being ruled by fierce conflicts, the different elements within these companies share information constantly and steadily improve by learning from their mistakes. The profits are shared because the workers are also the owners.
Ah, the eschaton. It is so goddamned All-American to equate the "good life" with wealth, isn't it? I'm not knocking Greider here - he is a soulful observer, and he clearly is touching (or at least sensing) "the hem" - but I am struck by how entrenched is the vulgarity of money and property in these meditations. No matter how you structure it, profit is always defined at the expense of the other. You can dance around this all you like, but greed is greed. One can at least commend the social darwinists and meritocrats for their naked recognition of this, and their implicit (and sometimes explicit) credo that "Greed is Good."

Speaking of structure, Mr. Greider makes a cogent observation:
This reorganization of employment and ownership cannot be commanded from afar, because it requires everyone--workers and bosses--to change...
A nod to the incontrovertible fact that an enlightened society will ever lie in wait until the excruciatingly slow process of enlightenment, one human being at a time, reaches a critical mass.
That change is very difficult for people to achieve in any setting.
Yes, indeed. But then he goes on to sabotage this important observation with a with the beginnings of a "prescription" that, I would submit, snaps the average reader right back into our hierarchical fantasy-land:
Government can encourage the pursuit, however, by setting out some incentives and loose guidelines...
Ay yi yi.

I'm pretty convinced that a "critical mass" of enlightenment will occur outside of the trappings of government service. I suppose we will try anyway, though - and perhaps we should.

But it is a good think piece, and very much worth reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I welcome all reactions and points of view, so comments here are not moderated. Cheerfully "colorful" language is great. I'll even tolerate some ad hominem directed against me... each other, not so much. Racist or excessively abusive comments (or spam) will be deleted at my discretion.