Contracting but Corruscating Elysia

Bruce Charlton asks how, and with what pace, the West goes down, and Mangan comments.

To know the answer, at least in America, it helps if you born in a place during the last phase of its legacy, post-WWII normalcy, and were raised watching the Murraysian ‘Coming Apart’ transition into class-based geographical segregation.

And, perhaps with the exception of a very few gentrifying districts in special-sauce cities, my speculation is that the answer is gradual Elysium-ification (combined with dysgenic, death-spiral, cultural-collapse Ididocracy everywhere else, along with a little counter-zombie-enclave World War Z imagery).  Sailer, as usual, is essential on Elysium, Idiocracy (here too, and here’s an interview with Mike Judge) and WWZ.

Throw in some of the darkest bits of Tyler Cowen’s ‘Average Is Over‘, and some Stephenson Diamond Age (with Arnold Kling’s musings about Vickies and Thetes), and some Gartner Group Maverick Research, “Surviving the Rise of ‘Smart Machines,’ the Loss of ‘Dream Jobs’ and ‘90% Unemployment’”  (Sorry, I don’t have an ungated copy, any help appreciated)

Life in these Latin-American-style Elysian enclaves is going to be unspeakably awesome (though also imprisoning, in a way) and robo-techno-utopian for the very small slices of the population which can rise to the top of the wide pyramid and make their ways to them.  For everyone else, a wide spectrum of possible conditions from dull, to dreary, to dangerous, to deadly.

Most of them (us?) won’t have jobs and will be living off the surplus outputs of hyper-automated production controlled by the elites.  The long-term unemployed are doomed, not just because of policy, or because the DC Walmart can now be more selective than Harvard, but because there isn’t always work to do for every kind of person, and soon enough there’ll be no point for the vast majority of individuals.

The enclaves are like giant mature stars in their final days, shrinking and collapsing under the weight of their own gravity and burning hotter and hotter, brightening to a blinding incandescence.  All while the places where they once glowed gas are left to a dark void, only living off the light emanating from the ever-more-tiny dots.

But what might surprise a few people is that, unlike in the movie, the Elysia won’t be that far removed from the endless Barrio Conurbation Megalopolis.  They’ll be right next door.

For some American examples, consider Camden, just across the river from prosperous parts of Downtown Philly, and covered by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone, “Apocalypse, New Jersey: A Dispatch From America’s Most Desperate Town” (HT: SBPDL).  Or look at David Simon’s ‘There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show.’

There are definitely two Americas. I live in one, on one block in Baltimore that is part of the viable America, the America that is connected to its own economy, where there is a plausible future for the people born into it. About 20 blocks away is another America entirely. It’s astonishing how little we have to do with each other, and yet we are living in such proximity.There’s no barbed wire around West Baltimore or around East Baltimore, around Pimlico, the areas in my city that have been utterly divorced from the American experience that I know. But there might as well be. We’ve somehow managed to march on to two separate futures and I think you’re seeing this more and more in the west.

Simon could say the same for countless districts in cities across the United States.  Sometimes an area will be strongly bimodal with regards to income distribution and will only hold rich and poor, right next door to each other, with the middle class exiled to the suburbs.  These distortions of the natural tendencies of the real estate market are mainly caused by countless government-owned and managed properties along with permit and zoning restrictions, but even more important is that the public schools in areas with poor people are awful, and so only those wealthy enough to afford the best private schools would choose to live there.

As an aside, Simon gave that speech at the ‘Festival of Dangerous Ideas‘ at the Sydney Opera House.  I didn’t find many of ideas very ‘dangerous’ at all (then again, we’re not likely to find ideas ‘dangerous’ around these parts), but who even knew there was such a thing?  Can we get a few DEC folks to be invited to FODI 2014?  That would probably be ‘dangerous’, in a way, but only for the participants.

The title of Simon’s talk’s theme idea was ‘some people are more equal than others’.  Alas, he didn’t mean it in the dark enlightenment sense, but in a ‘Our corrupt society does this, it shouldn’t be this way, let’s do Socialism!’ sense.  Nevertheless, it’s an interesting talk and the video is here.  (See them all, and don’t miss Peter Hitchens’ ‘There is No War On Drugs‘ and for fraternal rivalry, this is his late brother Christopher from 2009, ‘Religion Poisons Everything‘)

I thought this AIACC-related excerpt deserved some transcription because it’s so perfectly indicative of the contemporary American Progressive worldview.  I enjoyed The Wire, but I try to remember that these are the attitudes of the people making most successful broadcast entertainment.

… has turned us into the most incarcerative state in the History of mankind at this point, in terms of just the sheer numbers of people we’ve put in American prisons, and the percentage of people we put into American prisons.  No other country on Earth jails people at the number and rate that we are.

We have become something other than what we claim for the American Dream.  And all because of out inability to basically share; to even contemplate a Socialist impulse.

Socialism is a dirty word in my country.  I have to give that disclaimer at the beginning of every speech, “Oh, by the way, I’m not a Marxist.”

I lived through the 20th Century, I don’t believe that a state-run economy can be as viable as market capitalism in producing mass wealth; I don’t.  I’m utterly committed to the idea that capitalism has to be the way we generate mass wealth in the coming century.  That argument’s over.

But the idea that it’s not going to be married to a Social Compact, that how you distribute the benefits of capitalism isn’t going to include everyone in the society to a reasonable extent, that’s astonishing to me.  And from that, capitalism is about to seize defeat from the jaws of victory all by its own hand.  That’s the astonishing end of this story, unless we reverse course.  Unless we take into consideration, if not the remedies of Marx, then the diagnosis.

Cause he saw what would happen if capital triumphed unequivocally, if it got everything it wanted.  And one of the things that capital would want unequivocally and for certain is they would want labor to be diminished.  They would want labor to be diminished because labor is a cost.  And if labor is diminished, let’s translate that in human terms, it means human beings are worth less.

From this moment forward, unless we reverse course, all of us, speaking in terms of the average person, the average human being is worth less, unless we take stock in the fact that Socialism and the Socialist Impulse has to be addressed again, it has to be married, as it was married, in the 30’s, 40’s, and even into the 50’s to the engine that is capitalism.  Mistaking capitalism for a blue print to how to build a society, I think, to me, strikes me as a really dangerous idea in a bad way.

Capitalism is a remarkable engine, again, for producing wealth.  It’s a great tool to have in your toolbox if you’re trying to build a society and have that society advance.  You wouldn’t want to go forward at this point without it.  But it’s not a blueprint for how you build a just society; there are other metrics besides that quarterly profit report. [a neocameralist would disagree entirely].

We have suggested that the market will solve such things as our environmental concerns, as our racial divides, as our class distinctions, as the problems with educating and incorporating one generation of workers into the economy after another when that economy is changing.

The idea that it’s going to heed all the human concerns and still maximize profit is juvenile.  It’s a juvenile notion, and it’s still being argued in my country, passionately, and we’re going down the tubes.  And it terrifies me because I’m astonished at how comfortable we are absolving ourselves of what is basically a moral choice.  Are we all in this together or are we all not?

Well, if you watch the debacle that was and is as the fight over something as basic as public health policy in my country over the last couple years, culminating in this last bit of hilarity in the Congress, you have to be a little bit in awe that we might actually – imagine the ineffectiveness that Americans are going to offer the world when it comes to something complicated like global warming, when we can’t even get health care for our citizens on a basic level.

And the argument comes down to “God Damn this Socialist President! Does he think I’m going to pay to keep other people healthy?  That’s Socialism!”  Motherfscker! What do you think group health insurance is?  You ask these guys, “Do you have group health insurance?” “Oh yeah, my law firm …”  “So when you get sick, you’re ok, because you have enough people in your law firm, and enough of them stay healthy, so the actuarial tables work, and all of you, when you do get sick, are able to have the resources there to get better.  Because you’re relying on the idea of the group”

And they nod their heads, and you go, “Brother, that’s Socialism.”  It is. [Actually, if we’re pricing people actuarially it’s not, but whatever. -ed]  If Socialism is the taint you can’t abide by, then get your checkbook out, write a check to the hospital, write a check to the doctor, and shut the fsck up.  The fact that this is actually semantic arguments … ok, we’re going to do what you’re doing for your lawfirm, but when we do it for 300 million American, and we’re going to make it affordable that way.

And yes, it means, you’re going to be paying for the other guys in the society the same way you pay for the other guys in the lawfirm.  Their eyes glaze, they don’t want to hear it [because it’s a nonsense arugment, but whatever. -ed].  It’s too much.  It’s too much to contemplate the idea that the whole country might actually be connected.

So, I’m astonished that, at this late date, I’m standing here saying, “You might want to go back to this guy Marx we’re laughing at.”  If not for his prescriptions, no, I don’t see a state-run economy being viable ever again, then at least for his depiction of what is possible if you don’t mitigate the authority of capitalism.  If you don’t embrace some other values for human endeavor.

That’s got to be something that we leave behind forever, the notion that this tool is more than what it is.  And that’s what ‘The Wire‘ was about basically.  It was about people who were worth less, that were no longer necessary – there’s maybe 10 or 15 percent of my country that is no longer necessary to the operation of the economy – it was about them trying to solve, for lack of a better term, an existential crisis.  In their economic irrelevance they were nevertheless still on the ground, occupying this place called Baltimore, and they were going to have to endure, somehow.  And that’s the great horror show; what are we going to do with all these people that we’ve managed to marginalize?

Chilling stuff.  But the answer, I suspect, is that we’re (they’re?) going to do something like what we currently do and leave them (and find a way to keep them) in place and feed and shelter them, throw some extra fashion and bauble-consuming cash their way, and give them enough soma and joyboxes drugs and video games to keep them more or less pacified.

High Culture is about human beings producing and contributing innovations that both build upon and are superior to what has come before.  It is about standing on the shoulders of giants and raising your own shoulders upward and capable of supporting new passengers at even greater heights to see even farther vistas.  Increasingly, more and more of humanity is going to become divorced from this march of progress, or even from economic production at all, except as passive consumers and spectators.  They will have no, and need no, comprehension or participation in the work of the age and remain beneath the feet of all the original Titans; breathing, breeding, binging.

But for some tiny, fortunate remnant, something like a dignified human existence will continue, but only in the Elysia.

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29 Responses to Contracting but Corruscating Elysia

  1. spandrell says:

    But the Elysian women will be exhausted working in their social media jobs, way too busy to have children, so Elysia will be population sinks, to be constantly repopulated by ambitious people from the hinterland…

    Damn it sounds familiar.

    • Handle says:

      I predict the Elysiorum (I think that’s right for ‘members of’, I may need some Latin conjugation assistance here) are going to figure out their reproduction problem through a combination of procreative technology (brave new world-style incubators?) and outsourcing of maternal functions (nanny, daycare, etc but with robots?)

      I think we see the first signs of all this happening already.

      Once the hinterlands are finally distilled and filtered to dregs, exhausted of quality stock by the social-Darwinism competitive centrifuges, then the Elysia won’t be able to rely on replacements.

      If the IQ needed to be competitive with automation continues to rise over time, then the whole hinterland becomes economically obsolete.

      Anyway, the hinterland isn’t what it used to be. That’s where most of the dysgenic phenomena is occuring, where their Orlando Shaws are producing even worse Orlando Shaw Jr.’s.

      Hinterland Replacement Is Over!

      • spandrell says:

        Genitive and demonyms are different things. Locals of Samnium were the Samnites, not the Samniorum. People from Tarentum are Tarentini, etc.

        I have my doubts we’re ever gonna crack the artificial womb. Any progress on that front?

        • Handle says:

          There are always surrogates; if they can’t make wombs then they’ll rent them.

          • spandrell says:

            Fortunately the progressive faith in pre-K, pre-birth, epigenetics and all that is not genetic prevents them from using surrogates in mass.

            And for good reason, the sort of woman who’s renting her womb to the Idiocracy prelude couple isn’t probably a responsible woman. I for one really can’t fathom why people trust some Indian peasant with their fetus.

            So no, Elysians extinguish themselves, and are replaced by the proles they screwed. Kinda like the Spartans.

          • Handle says:

            I guess you have to see it to believe it. I already know two surrogate couples, and the surrogate industry is a big deal in NYC already. There is a healthy growth rate in what was once Science Fiction – women freezing their eggs while in their prime (when they do the school/career/alpha-carousel thing), and then unfreezing them later. Surrogates are usually for women with bad wombs, but as their use becomes routine and familiar, more people will use them, including the prime-age-egg-freezers.

            Already, there are ‘surrogate homes’ (good living prisons) for the Indian peasant womb-whores so they can be monitored so they won’t drink, or do drugs, or eat anything but kosher organic vegan gluten-free kale juice with DHA supplements and mozart blasting through belly-speakers. This is a level of perfection even the aged SWPL egg-donors know they couldn’t do for themselves, so it’s awesome you can pay someone to make these sacrifices for you while you continue to enjoy yourself.

            And imagine it as a non-coercive social eugenic strategy. Each Elysian woman has lots of eggs and each Elysian Alpha makes millions of sperm a day. You make as many Elysian Embryos as possible, and the main lucrative employment of non-Elysian women is to spend their lives bearing and nannying Elysian kids instead of their own prole kids.

            Maybe you let them keep a few of them so they get their maternal fix, which improves the overall stock in the Hinterland (this was Mencken’s theory of where the occasional lower class great talent comes from; talented male aristocrats banging their prettier servant girls).

            Lather, rinse, repeat.

            The average woman will menstruate 400-500 eggs over their lifetime, but they are born with a thousand times more follicles that decompose through atresia. Who knows how many good, viable eggs could be extracted with future biotechnology. With a surrogate-enabled TFR in the 100’s or 1000’s, the whole world is Elysia in a generation or two.

            Oh snap, did I just invent the fascist dystopia?

          • spandrell says:

            Duuude…

            I think I need Jim to argue against this.

            On the meantime I’ll invest in surrogate prisons.

          • asdf says:

            The actual numbers on surrogates and egg freezing are really really low. I think your just blowing a few visible examples out of proportion.

          • Handle says:

            Yeah, I know it’s very rare; so? This thread is about the future and that means extrapolating current trends well out of the proportions of our current mental envelopes. Think far out.

            Everything that becomes widespread has an early-adopter stage beginning where things are expensive and seem strange and risky. But the question is one of incentives and meeting human desires and needs.

            If we have the technology to solve a social ‘problem’, then that technology will tend to become cheaper and more widespread and eventually be seen as normalized. Indeed, there is a tipping point where it starts to seem non-normal not to do it, and women feel pressure to conform or have to ‘explain themselves’. “What do you mean you’re not doing everything possible to produce the best outcome for your kids?” How many ridiculous SWPL fads start out as bizarre but end up with their own advocacy magazine? Lots!

            My guess is that we’re currently at a kind of cultural inflection point where the SWPL class is moving beyond denying their problems and moving towards – if not acknowledging the faults in their ideology – then at least adopting practical mitigations which often involve novel technologies because of the resistance to adopting traditional lifestyles and attitudes, for which the technologies provide a kind of pragmatic substitute. Surrogates could be part of that in an Elysian world.

            Once you have professionals that specialize in providing a particular need full-time, you have the ingredients for a dramatic commercial expansion. The same thing happened with IVF, which is now orders of magnitude more common than when it began.

            Smart women, especially, are starting to openly talk about their angst and anxieties regarding resolving the contradictions of ‘having it all’ and the problem with ‘the wall’ of youthful beauty and their biological clocks.

            Everyone in that class seems to know someone with an ‘Autistic’ or ‘Aspergers’ kid, and the conventional wisdom is that this is usually caused by waiting too long. I heard this kind of talk frequently by women in Law School, and they were just in their early 20’s. Lots of them talked about IVF to get twins or triplets because they all agreed on the advantages of a pregnancy that was ‘one and done’ and a child-rearing part of the lives limited only to 18 years instead of spread out over 25, 30, or more.

            It’s just like everything else that has replaced the benefits of a traditional lifestyle. Women don’t need a breadwinner because they can work. They don’t need a husband because of that, and/or alimony, and/or the state. They don’t need to be chaste because of contraception and abortion.

            It is human nature in a post-religious, feminist world for smart women to imitate males and want to play the field and succeed in their careers as long as possible before ‘settling down’, and many of the past generation now realize they waited too long.

            But, every time some constraints gets in the way of these women satisfying every fickle, petty desire – legal, cultural, natural, technological, whatever – there arises a tremendous demand for a workaround. And there is lots of money to be made providing these workarounds!

            Elysian Surrogate Farms provides that workaround in the future. Don’t worry SWPL women, just deposit a hundred thousand fresh follicles at the municipal cryo-bank when you’re a teen, and party and work and whore-it-up as much as you like for as long as you can without worrying about family or getting pregnant.

            Sex In The City Forever!

            Meanwhile, the Elysian government pays a few thousand prole Surrogates to have and raise your Elysian kids. We don’t need Brave New World’s “Bokanovsky’s Process” or the hatcheries, because we have a different technology solution. The Elysian women’s ovaries and IVF with Elysian male sperm are the “Bokanovsky’s Process”, and the countless prole Surrogates are the Hatcheries.

            Also, instead of the proles living on reservations, it’s the Elysians who live in their tiny gated enclaves.

            The Elysian mom can visit them anytime she wants! “Look, it’s birth-mom!” Maybe you’re lucky and one of them scrambles to the top of the pile and gets into Harvard. The more Surrogate kids you sponsor, the more likely you are at producing at least one Harvard-worthy legacy!

            You can even ‘raise’ one or two of them yourself if you want to, with, duh, some nannies to help, of course.

  2. VXXC says:

    Gracious. Now Handle do see my comments over on Spandrell: what is needed is a system of government when your elites mean to do as much harm as they can and profit from it that works tolerably well.

    Which is our problem. There is no model, system, check, rule, balance, oversight that will stop madmen bent on relentless harm.

    And speaking of meaning harm: why shouldn’t my people [the Ducks if you like] burn all this to the ground, reducing everything to ash even if we have to eliminate the very alphabet?

    I know why the Vandals did that, I do. A recent insight.

    Further …why should the security forces of the police and military hold this obscenity up? Most of them are Ducks, and even the duskier shaded Ducks have adopted Majority Duck Culture.

    [Oh the machines replace humans = Crap. Then why do we need so many Mexicans, Somalis, Filipinos, etc…? And who works in the manufacturing plant? Are Chinese robots too? Please show me this automated economy run by SKYNET…then we worry about it.]

    • Handle says:

      1. The ‘Ducks’ (?) won’t burn it to the ground, and the security forces will hold it all up, in order to get their welfare or paychecks, because they have no better alternative opportunity.

      2. If a human task can be well defined it can be automated. If you aren’t paying attention to the steady march of labor-replacing automation technologies then you’re out of it. It’s happening now and it’s happening fast. Have you not been hearing about autonomous cars? We already have autonomous trains and subways, where once were drivers. Autopilot is old too. Soon there will be no drivers or pilots of anything, and the robots will never need rest or pensions and they will never fall asleep or make mistakes or human errors.

      Some particular human functions require a certain amount of mobility, independence from power supply, and manual dexterity. Cleaning a hotel room or picking grapes are, so far, some of those tasks. There are replacements, but they are more expensive than a few dollars a bushel – so far. There is no cheap-enough replacement for those tasks yet, but they are all low-skill menial tasks which will never pay much and will always be dominated by a serf/helot underclass.

  3. Jefferson says:

    Nobody else thinks that the bottom rungs will be Occulus Rifted into a TFR of 0? The future belongs to the zealous hearts, and since we don’t have enough Muslims in North America, that means Evangelicals, Catholics, or LDSes (with Orthodox Jews in NY).

    • Handle says:

      They’ll be Occulus Rifted all right. And some even more terrifyingly intense, immersive, and addictive versions yet to come too. Joyboxes on the way.

      But my guess is that they’ll still get horny and pregnant.

      • VXXC says:

        It is not noble to allow such things to happen, never mind chortle over them. We have done a complete moral phase reversal in 50 years due to social engineering. Not some sudden malady of the people, it took decades of them being immersed in economic despair coupled with a subsidy to destroy themselves to bring us to this pass.

        It’s not of course the only contagious moral plague, apparently the malice of the Tidewater spreads to all who drink from the Potomac. Our elites have nothing to be proud of, they are the pimps sneering at the women they deceived and ruined.

        • Handle says:

          No chortling at all. Just a sad realism. In a way this thing has already happened, the way a thing happens the first moment it goes viral; the epidemic is just a matter of time.

          • VXXC says:

            If they are pushed towards good most of them will go, it’s something everyone figures out or doesn’t make it. If they are pushed towards evil there will be attrition of the weak, say a third. The problem is women are weaker and subsidized as Baby Mamas…we know the rest of the story.

            Enough. Time for this obscene farce to end.

            Then have any reactionary [or even conservative] social norms ye like.

            What worked worked not for thousands of years but hundreds of thousands. Thousands of years ago is the invention of writing. By all means tradition, and family at any price.
            There is however something that necessarily needs doing.

          • VXXC says:

            Rebourgeoisification then.

            Works fine.

          • Handle says:

            Yeah, I like Rebourgeoisification a lot as a broader social concept. I was hoping it was original, but google shows a few prior uses, the top being for chocolate! Nevertheless, I call dibs on it in this sphere.

            Though we may disagree on the specific details, I think the vague ideal of rebourgeoisification really defines the essence of the Neoreactionary consensus, and distinguishes it clearly from Progressivism, Conservatism, and Libertarianism.

            And the essence of the distinction is the historical political analysis (mostly Moldbug’s and some of the more realistic Paleoconservatives), and futurist speculation as to how to make a rebourgeoisified society stable in its adherence to the bourgeois structure.

            What the neoreaction says is ‘Egalitarian Democracy or Stable Bourgeois Society; Pick One!’

        • Big Bill says:

          The answer (if it is not being worked on currently) will be cheap, reliable, innocuous sterilization.

          If you are poor, take the pill and we will keep you in video games and hip-hop music and Nike shoes for life.

          Or (as could just as easily happen) you and the other members of your “community” gradually find out you are having problems getting pregnant, or your fetuses are not carried full term, or your babies are unable to survive.

          There will be no pain and suffering to the living, merely an inability to successfully reproduce … for a few billion of the world’s population.

          Think of how slowly the awareness of GRIDS spread in the initial stages.

          Think how much harder it would take to track the person who adulterated the water supply, or served the milk in the kindergarten lunchroom, or sold shots of Kristal at a hip-hop concert.

          • Handle says:

            I suspect most aren’t, so for those unfamiliar with the term, ‘GRIDS’ is ‘Gay-Related Immune-Deficiency Syndrome’ which has been universally referred to as ‘AIDS’ since 1982.

            We can be happy that the renaming was done for technical, not PC reasons. ‘Acquired’ is a more abstract modifier and thus more accurate. It is better than ‘contagious’ or ‘communicable’, because those words connote airborne, ingestion, or skin-contact modes of transmission, and it is better than ‘sexually-transmitted’ because you can also acquire the HIV virus through a blood transfusion or organ transplant.

  4. VXXC says:

    Ducks = Whites. As opposed to say “Lily”. [Duck Dynasty].

    American Security Forces do not resemble what you refer to Sir.

    Automation of Human Tasks if well defined: I work in Telecommunications…and this magic age of automation will arrive after the electric car and cold fusion.

    America in General: does not at all resemble the Tidewater, in particular it’s current state. It is a great mistake but an all too common one to draw dismal general conclusions about America from working it it’s Capitol environs. Everyone I know is either totally disgusted, many to to the point of wanting to leave the country altogether. Or even depart the planet, the Human Race, download to AI…Exit…escape to Fantasy Island.

    The only happy people I’ve ever met there were shall we say swimming in the soup. And that doesn’t end well.

    The lower classes you describe are a result of public policy, the harm was not unintended consequences, it was perfectly desired. MALICE.

    Nothing decent can endure long on the same plane of existence with the slime of the Tidewater. When you look at the trash proles, look upon the sins of social engineering with a motive of malice.

    And while Malice and Power may long endure, madness and power do not….there will be no Elysium…

  5. SOBL1 says:

    I slapped something up on Tumblr about Elysium. It was as follows. Elysium is the same story at “The Marching Morons” except the elites of Elysium did not have the willpower to execute on the plan that they knew they could do if they wanted to but chose not to. The elites of “The Marching Morons” dont think of the plan until a stranger from the past explaisn it but they do take care of the problem, causing some to commit suicide out of guilt. It’s the same story but the difference is the audience and the storyteller. That’s whyt he endings are different.

    This is the odds on favorite for the future of the US: Brazil Norte. Brazil today is best described not in words but in a photo where the crystal blue pools below the 50 story high rise of the wealthy is separated by a giant fence and armed security from the favelas.

    I’m still hoping for that 7-1 shot of a US break up.

    • Handle says:

      I’d never heard of “The Marching Morons”; thanks for the heads up. The SF details though are very dated sixty years later, not anticipating lower birth rates, or contraception, etc.

      The language of “The Problem” is eternally attractive, cf. Moldbug’s, “The Dire Problem”. “What are we going to do with all these simple folk when they’re not necessary economically and just giving them stuff turns them into an awful underclass?”

      I think that question will be the defining political debate of the next two generations. There are lots of potential ‘answers’ (though not much consistent with the current structure of political contest), and the sides will be defined by which answer they adopt.

      The left, of course, will just say ‘Give them lots of stuff no questions asked!’, but I think they overestimate the sustainability of that policy. The ‘conservative opposition’ will meekly say in ‘contrast’, ‘Give them slightly less stuff, with slightly more questions asked.’ which is only marginally less unsustainable.

      Actual ‘Dire Answers’ are unthinkable.

  6. Handle says:

    “Knock knock.” “Who’s there?” “The future.” “Oh snap.”

  7. spandrell says:

    I can think of a bunch of failure modes for your low-tech BNW Elysium. But I think the most effective way of killing it off would be for Tom Wolfe, or hell, yourself to write a novel detailing exactly right what you’re saying, relating it to particular people who are starting the trend today.

    By making the future predictable and mundane, the hip overclass will develop a mental block against following it.

    Hey, it would make for a great book, save the world AND make you some money.

    • Handle says:

      I am writing a book actually, and, yeah, something like this, while semi-derivative, definitely goes into it.

      The MoFo who owns the .com website with the title I want, however, has done nothing with it for years, and refuses to respond to my, or GoDaddy’s site-buyer service, offers to purchase it.

  8. spandrell says:

    Now that I think about it, Nick Land and me also reached this conclusion after some whiskies before the Elysium movie even got public:

    https://bloodyshovel.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/a-chat-with-mr-land/

  9. Pingback: Lightning Round – 2013/12/18 | Free Northerner

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