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Re: <nettime> Political-Economy and Desire
Newmedia on Fri, 2 Mar 2012 19:13:54 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Political-Economy and Desire

Mr. Ghost-of-Wells:
As your email address indicates, you are apparently a "fan" of H.G.  Wells. 
 Of course, the Morlocks and Eloi (plural, one "l") are the dramatis  
persona in Well's 1895 "Time Machine."
"By the year 802,701 AD, _humanity_ 
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_race)  has evolved into two  separate species: the Eloi and the _Morlocks_ 
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morlock) . The Eloi are the  child-like, frail 
group, living a _banal_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banal)  life of ease on 
the surface  of the earth, while the Morlocks live underground, tending 
machinery and  providing food, clothing and infrastructure for the Eloi. Each 
class evolved and  degenerated from _humans_ 
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human) . The novel suggests that  the separation of species may have been the 
result of a widening split between  different social classes, a theme that 
reflects Wells' sociopolitical opinions."  (Wikipedia entry for ELOI.)
Wells was a Fabian "socialist" and, as some nettimers know,  someone who is 
far too little appreciated  today -- especially in  the Anglophonic world.  
In particular, Wells was featured  in discussions of his 1928 "The Open 
Conspiracy" at the nettime  Beauty-and-the-East confab in Ljubljana and who I 
also "memorialized" in my  "English Ideology and WIRED Magazine."
Some of this helped to stimulate the infamous  
"goofy-leftists-against-Wired" thread on the WELL, hosted by sci-fi satirist  Bruce Sterling, who claims 
he was deeply influenced by Wells.  Fortunately,  he's much funnier.
The implications of Wells' construction of human nature is perhaps best  
summarized in Michael Vlahos' 1995 essay "Byte City" published by the  
think-tank that brought us Newt Gingrich (and some interesting early debates  about 
the impact of the Internet), the now-defunct Progress and Freedom  
In this essay, Vlahos (who now "supports" radical Islam and works at the US 
 Naval War College), proposes a segmentation between the 5% "Brain Lords" 
(i.e.  your crew with the "laser pointers" and Wells' "New Samurai"), the 20% 
"Upper  Servers" who work as their support staff, the 50% of "service 
workers" and then  the 25% who are permanently "Lost."
Radical?  Honest?  Hardly -- this is just what you would expect  if you 
play out the implications of Hobbes, Bentham et al . . . just  as H.G. Wells 
did (with an added dose of Santa Fe "complex systems" thrown  in).
What I'm looking for are those contemporary political-economists who have  
figured out that the 1950s shift to service economics, followed by the 1990s 
 shift to information economics, has *fundamentally* changed this very old  
"story."  It has gotten very TIRED.
Btw, sociologist Daniel Bell, who is often given credit for coining  
"post-industrial," spends most of his 1973 "The Coming Post-Industrial Society"  
discussing why he (and his friends) are actually the "Brain Lords" and should 
 therefore be put in charge -- as usual, sociology comes down to power.
We "flipped" into something quite different when we went "post-industrial"  
(which Bell appears to not understand) -- so how do today's best thinkers  
describe this *new* situation?
Mark Stahlman
Brooklyn NY
In a message dated 3/2/2012 10:03:22 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
morlockelloi {AT} yahoo.com writes:

Desire  is but hard-coded goals, that got hard-coded for reasons that were 
prevalent  in the past. Now that the technology can cheat and s(t)imulate, 
the firmware  is trashing in useless loops. Desires are amplified and have 
practically  squeezed out ideas and ideologies. The cat has encountered the 
eternal laser  pointer.

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