UK Tories call for a national of slaves

Charlie Stross is on fire in this essay on the true meaning of the UK Exchequer George Osborne's promise to produce a Britain with 100% employment: he is proposing nothing less than a nation of slaves.

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  1. "A nation of slaves" surely?

  2. I've long soapboxed about the bizarreness of the American work week being gradually, and with extreme effort, shortened by the Progressive movement from 60 hours to 50 and then to 40... and then frozen there, as if that were some ideal, unaffected by continued advances in technology.

  3. This is from the end of "1984" where O'Brien is torturing Winston and brainwashing him, which gives him an opportunity to explain how things really work.

    The primary aim of modern warfare... is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living. Ever since the end of the nineteenth century, the problem of what to do with the surplus of consumption goods.....when the machine first made its appearance it was clear to all thinking people that the need for human drudgery, and therefore to a great extent for human inequality, had disappeared. If the machine were used deliberately for that end, hunger, overwork, dirt, illiteracy, and disease could be eliminated within a few generations....... ...But it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth threatened the destruction--indeed, in some sense was the destruction--of a hierarchical society....wealth would confer no distinction... the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.

  4. All this demonstrates is the penny wise, pound foolish mentality of business folk, whose main talent is bullshit and being born lucky. If you keep driving the cost of labour down, sooner or later, you'll run out of people to buy your goods. More to the point, over-worked, underpaid third world workers are wasteful and inefficient, but when you're shaving pennies off the margins so you can earn $500.36 a minute instead of $500.24, that sort of nuance is probably lost on you and your raging sociopathy.

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