Predatory Precarity

“Reforming government contracting, controlling medical costs, breaking up big-tech, opening the professions to international competition, these sound technocratic, even “pro-market”. But under present levels of stratification, the consequences of these things would be a revolution, whole swathes of society accustomed to status and political enfranchisement would find themselves banished towards a “normal” they used to only read about, opiate crises and deaths of despair, towards loss of the “privilege” it has become some of their custom to magnanimously and ostentatiously “check”. Did I say they? I mean we, of course.

But of course, not doing these things means continuing to tolerate an increasingly predatory, dysfunctional, stagnant society. It means continuing deaths of despair, even as we hustle desperately to try to ensure that they are not our deaths, or our children’s. Even for its current beneficiaries, the present system is a game of musical chairs. As time goes on, with each round, yet more chairs are yanked from the game.

The only way out of this, the only escape, is to reduce the degree of stratification, the degree to which outcomes depend on our capacity to buy price-rationed positional goods. Only when the stakes are lower will be find ourselves able to tolerate, to risk, an economy that delivers increasing quantity and quality of goods and services at decreasing prices, rather than one that sustains markups upon which we, or some of us, with white knuckles must depend.

Lower the stakes.”

-Steve Randy Waldman, “Predatory precarity.” Interfluidity.com. August 20, 2019.

Interesting throughout. Central point is that the more disparate a society, the more corruption is built in. I particularly like the line: “It is extraordinarily expensive to be both comfortable and some facsimile of virtuous,” which struck me as being in the same ballpark as this post on Admiring Yourself and the connections between the Holocaust and other X-isms.

The Vimes Boots Theory: Further Reflections

“This, by the way, explains one of the differences in behavior between poor people and not so poor people. It’s easy to say, “Why don’t you just save up to buy the better quality thing?” but sometimes people don’t know how. Not how to save, but how to buy the better quality thing. Whether you have the money is mediated by your economic class; whether you have the knowledge how to convert money into quality (in goods or in services) is mediated by your social class.”

siderea, “The Vimes Boots Theory: Further Reflections.” Dreamwidth.org December 30, 2018.

An exploration of the Vimes Boot Theory of socioeconomic unfairness, which boils down to having the ability to pay more for quality gear ends up saving you money, time, and saves you opportunity costs.