As the show advanced, we realized that there are a lot of people really really worried about the future, and they’re worried about big, big things. We’re talking things like inequality. We’re talking things like overconsumption of resources and environmental collapse. Social collapse. Community breakdown. General feelings of powerlessness against massive systems. And this seems to be universal.
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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.
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.
Neoliberalism is broken. The economic model of the last thirty years. It worked for a bit, dragged the bottom two thirds of the world’s population up the income scale dramatically, facilitated the tech revolution. But it’s stopped working.
Today, in America right now, we only can think of growth in quantitative terms. And in a resource-constrained environment, how frickin’ stupid is that? You’re actually imposing your own death sentence by not being able to get over the grip of this quantitative dynamic.