In a book that I wrote in 2011, on page one I said that unless the insecurities, and the fears, and the aspirations of the precariat were addressed as a matter of urgency, we would see the emergence of a political monster. You will not be surprised that in November 2016 I received a lot of emails from around the world from people who said, “The monster has arrived.”
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We’re in an era of overlapping crises, and I think that’s what makes it sort of unique. We’re aware of the financial aspect, which is sort of exponential increase in debt. We’re also aware that energy, the cost is going up because we’re reaching to deeper and more expensive reserves of energy, at least fossil fuels. So that’s another if not crisis then um… Well, actually it is a crisis, because the world we’ve constructed is based on cheap fossil fuels.
Under capitalism, the problem is not there are evil people here and there. The problem is the basic logic of the system as it was developed by Zygmunt Bauman and many others. Some people even claim that if you look in a nonhumanitarian way just at the pure logic of today’s global capitalism, you arrive at a ratio even some people claim of 20–80%.
In the world of labor and work, the phrase “disposable life” refers to a new wrinkle in neoliberal capitalism. And that wrinkle is that it’s cheaper to dispose of workers in Europe and America than it’s ever been in the past.
My approach to the question of disposable lives is this: In an age of late capitalism, advanced technology, and mass media, are lives easier to dispose of now than in the past? And my response is, unfortunately, yes it is easier now. And this isn’t simply because of the technology that is available today that simply wasn’t available in the past.
Blockchain is in that space where we still have to explain it, because most of the people have gone from not having it around to having it around. But for kind of the folks that are your age or a little younger it’s kind of always been there, at which point it doesn’t really need to be explained. It does however need to be contextualized.
People think that the Civil Rights Movement and all big epochal movements involve conscience, and they do. They also involve consciousness. I mean, you can’t struggle against what you’re unaware off, right? The Klan as the iconic carriers of violence, the Bull Connor of the iconic southern white male resistance, George Wallace the iconic neopopulist racist. You know, these were historic figures in myth and reality. But we wouldn’t get to what they represented till much later.