Saturday, July 28, 2012

July 27, 2012 (2nd posting)

"ork in a capitalist society is a conflicted and contradictory phenomenon, never more so than in hard times. We simultaneously work not enough and too much; a labor famine for some means feast for others. The United States has allegedly been in economic “recovery” for over two years, and yet 15 million people cannot find work, or cannot find as much work as...they would like. At the same time, up to two thirds of workers report in surveys that they would like to work fewer hours than they do now ..."

-this awesome bit of text was from "Jacobin" republished on 'Prose Before' site ... ...

To continue, then: "The grueling toil of the Amazon warehouse is certainly hard; so too, in a way, are the 80 hour weeks and intense stresses of a Goldman Sachs trader. Yet the former can hardly be said to be healthy or improving for the human spirit, while the latter only creates wealth for the few and economic chaos for the rest of us."

Interesting point? That both occupations are grueling, contradictory, and conflicted elements of the way persons have to work, in this world. One damages the persons working, the other damages the world.

This is not what Deirdre McCloskey calls "rhetoric" because it simply gets at truth. Or I should say that the rhetorical element does not dominate entirely. While it has rhetoric (and Deirdre says that most writing does) it also has something else --- there must be something else other than rhetoric, for as soon as we say "rhetoric" (and Deirdre McCloskey says "rhetoric" more effectively than anyone) instead of "language" we admit (or imply) that that is not all there is to "language." (Because: why else would we need another word ---- why is there an alternate language word?) We could have said "language" but we said "rhetoric." I think there is a little bit more to it than rhetoric sometimes. But of course "rhetoric" is an interesting topic too, especially in McCloskey's book "The Rhetoric of Economics." This means that rhetoric is something we can talk about, too. Say it. "Rhetoric." What is it? Well, it seems a bit like "knowing your audience." It is where you know who you are speaking to. You know your audience. Even as you speak to them and address them you are also thinking about how to use language. My opinion is also that there is the matter of writing to the "best reader," or penultimate witness. An author has in mind the witness (the author herself perhaps being ultimate) to the text, when he or she writes the. McCloskey, for example, is aware in her book on the rhetoric of economics, that economists are writing to academic audiences. But writing to a more general "best reader" goes one step better.
     Such an audience - the best reader - encapsulates what is most profound and noble about being alive in one's peculiar environment.

This text I choose for today's blogposting activity is about contradictions of employment.

As long as human beings hate one another and compete against one another and work against nature itself it is daft nonsense to talk out of both sides of your mouth this utter blather that capitalism is "amoral" ---- and we discussed all that, on this blog a few days ago.
     Machines are amoral. There is no case to be made where one asserts that humans are. They aren't. And if humans are not amoral, how could capitalism be? Capitalism is after all operated by humans. Capitalism may be a big machine, that is true. It is quite true that it represents a mechanical dimension that we need to include in our evaluations of life.. The mechanical part, however, has to function in tandem with human parts (didn't the Tin Man need a heart?). Capitalism functions ---- for awhile. It works, despite the wretchedness of human race --- and that is because yes capitalism is a machine but a machine that consists of (and is based on, is made of, and includes) humans (see Robert Owen, early 19th cent). Mr. Sloan said that Bain Capital is free to do whatever it takes and he pointed out how the idea was just to make money. He merely tells us about himself. What does he show us about himself? He shows us his moral bankruptcy. He shows that he has nothing to say. Nothing to say,  that is, on the subject of morality.
     What does some robot drone have to say about morality? The actual title of that piece was: My last word on the private equity political debate. He is slamming the door on us. His "last word." It is like he is stating his dirty little philosophy, then slamming the door walking out of the room. You know, ...
     ...I much prefer the other one, on "ork" ...........

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