Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Saturday, March 23, 2019 03:17:14 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Opinion

To rebuild the roads

By
04th-Jan-2015       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Joel Schlosberg :
It's 2015. Has anyone seen our flying cars?
How about the tranquility and economic security that, beyond the cool gadgetry, created the appeal of the 2015 of Back to the Future Part II? Why do they seem as absent as its faxes and laserdiscs? And why, midway through the half-century anniversary of the 1964-1965 World's Fair, does its tomorrow seem as crumbling as its remaining buildings (last seen alongside their fellow 1960s kitsch, the Keane paintings of Big Eyes)?
Marty McFly wasn't the first traveler to a future American paradise. A century before, Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward: 2000-1887 sent protagonist Julian West forward to a 2000 utopia ushered in by a nationalized economy. West is as wowed by the bountiful products of central planning as Marty is by hoverboards; the conspicuous absence of anti-consumerist sour grapes is startling in post-Trabant retrospect.
Well before the year 2000, however, it looked like Back to the Future Part II's Reagan-style private enterprise had won the day. If anything might bring mushrooming productivity and a concomitant dwindling of working hours, it was not Bellamyite efficiency but business competition, a la the Spacely Sprockets-Cogswell Cogs rivalry that gave The Jetsons' patriarch a two-hour workweek to be late for.
But maybe Mattel and Pepsi aren't all that different from Bellamy's planned economy.
Scrutiny bears out David Graeber's suggestion that Marx and Engels "were right to insist that the mechanization of industrial production would destroy capitalism; they were wrong to predict that market competition would compel factory owners to mechanize anyway. If it didn't happen, that is because market competition is not, in fact, as essential to the nature of capitalism as they had assumed." Markets have an affinity with technology that benefits the ordinary people engaging in its exchange, enabling them to leverage the value they create while lessening the labor needed to obtain that value.
Thus free markets are an existential danger to all third-party institutions whose wealth is appropriated from the products of traders' labor.
Forestalling the development of such technology is the corporate state alliance observed by Robert Anton Wilson, in which "big unions, the corporations, and government have all tacitly agreed to slow down the pace of cybernation, to drag their feet and run the economy with the brakes on."
The perennial calls for a new moon shot or Manhattan Project assume that large-scale centralized projects, by either government or Ma Bell-style corporate monopolies, are necessary for technological leaps. But as Ralph Nader pointed out, even in the twentieth century dominated by such goliaths, "[t]he firms which introduced stainless steel razor blades (Wilkinson), transistor radios (Sony), photocopying machines (Xerox), and the 'instant' photograph (Polaroid) were all small and little known when they made their momentous breakthroughs."
Bellamy's most prescient follower may have been Ernest B. Gaston, who synthesized Looking Backward with the other major American reform book of the time, Henry George's Progress and Poverty. Gaston's own real-life utopian experiment, Fairhope, pinned its "fair hope" for Bellamy's harmonious future on voluntary cooperation within George's market competition.
Where we're going, we don't need the government - or corporations - to build roads.

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Save Halda from dying


DEPARTMENT of Environment has revealed that waste from a housing estate and some factories are polluting the Halda river in Chattogram to the extent that it caused dying of fish. Currently, the pollution of the Halda is severely affecting the livelihood of adjacent people, in particular the fishermen. In June ...

International »

Prince Charles heads to Cuba amid US tensions


AFP, Havana :Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will make the first royal visit to communist-run Cuba on Sunday at a time when ally Washington is seeking to ramp up sanctions against the island.The 70-year-old prince was asked by the British government to add Cuba to a long-planned tour ...

Football »

US beat Ecuador 1-0 in int’l friendly soccer


AP, Orlando :Gregg Berhalter's vision for the U.S. national team started to unfold as the Americans passed the ball from side to side, played diagonal balls long and short. Possession is his key to success.The style was more pleasing. But the only goal of night was pretty weird.Gyasi Zardes's shot ...

Entertainment »

Homayra Himu wants to give direction


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Five years ago, popular TV actress Homayra Himu produced a telefilm titled Bhalobashi Othoba Bashi Bhalo. But producing that telefilm she faced financial crisis during that time. She was sufferer for this and later decided not to produce any work. But she is interested to give direction ...

Sports »

Russia's Natalia Zabiiko and Alexander Enbert perform their pairs free skate during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo on Thursday.


Football »

Trinidad and Tobago's Aubrey David (left) and Wales' Ryan Hedges battle for the ball during the International Friendly soccer match between Wales and Trinidad and Tobago, at the Racecourse Ground, in Wrexham, Wales on Wednesday.


Entertainment »

Deepika Padukone checks all ticks in list over a week


Bollywood’s leading lady Deepika Padukone has had an eventful last week as the actress unveiled her prestigious Statue of Purpose at Madame Tussauds and graced the Vogue International cover as the Global Talent. Both the events are key and one of the major highlights in the life of the actress. ...

City »

Holi festival celebrated with enthusiasm, fanfare


Thousands of devotees on Thursday celebrated the Holi, a Hindu religious festival of colours, across the country with due religious fervour and much enthusiasm."Marking the festival, a large number of devotees thronged the Dhakeswari National Temple in the morning to offer abir, a pink colored powder, at the foot of ...

Editorial »

Europe`s worst genocide and Karadzic`s life imprisonment


IT'S another symbol of justice against a 'genocide' that had committed about 25 years ago by a powerful European ruler; Radovan Karadzic. The 73-year former Bosnian Serb leader has been awarded life imprisonment for his crimes in the war that broke-up his country in 1990. UN judges in The Hague ...

Business & Economy »

Vivo launches V15 with 32 MP Pop-Up Selfie camera


Business Desk :Vivo, the innovative global smart phone brand, launched the long-awaited smart phone V15 after it's pro version V15 Pro was unveiled in Bangladesh last month. The Vivo V15 packs a 32 megapixel pop up selfie camera, a powerful triple rear camera set-up, stunning Ultra Full-View display 6.53 inch ...

International »

NZ bans sale of assault gun, semi-auto rifles


 AFP, Wellington :New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced an immediate ban on the sale of assault rifles and semi-automatics Thursday in a muscular response to the Christchurch terror attack that killed 50 people."Today I am announcing that New Zealand will ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons. We will also ban ...

International »

EU chief says Brexit delay possible if MPs approve deal


The EU could approve Britain's request for a short delay to Brexit but only if UK MPs next week vote through the withdrawal deal they have twice rejected, European Council president Donald Tusk said Wednesday.With nine days to go before Britain is due to leave the bloc, the country is ...

Business & Economy »

Bolsonaro to visit Trump to firm up conservative alliance


AFP, Brasilia :Brazil's far right President Jair Bolsonaro will meet US counterpart Donald Trump next week to strengthen ties in the nascent regional conservative alliance aiming to ramp up the pressure on Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro.After decades of fractious relations between Brasilia and Washington, things have improved with the assumption to ...

Entertainment »

Romeo Akbar Walter celebrates unnoticed people: Mouni Roy


Actress Mouni Roy, who will be seen in the forthcoming film Romeo Akbar Walter, says the espionage thriller celebrates the unnoticed people who have sacrificed their lives for the love of their country. Romeo Akbar Walter is set against the backdrop of the India-Pakistan War of 1971. In the film, ...

Entertainment »

Biased towards TV but enjoy digital: Sakshi Tanwar


Actress Sakshi Tanwar, who has featured in a web series titled The Final Call, says she is biased towards television but has started enjoying working in the digital platform as it gives an opportunity to actors to experiment in a lesser period of time.  “I feel every medium is different. ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news