Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Wednesday, September 19, 2018 02:32:25 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 »

We welcome Islamabad for awarding Bangladeshi-origin refugees Pakistan`s nationality


PAKISTAN government has decided to grant nationality to all Pakistan-born refugees of Bangladeshi and Afghan origins staying there for decades. Prime Minister Mr Imran Khan on Sunday made this announcement during his maiden visit to Karachi, saying the Bangladeshi and Afghan refugees who were born in Pakistan would get National ...

Sports »

Argentina's Facundo Conte (left) and teammate Alexis Gonzalez celebrate during the Men's World Championships' volleyball match between Argentina and Slovenia, in Florence, Italy on Monday.


Football »

FIFA president Infantino has doubts about La Liga match in Miami


AFP, Barcelona :FIFA president Gianni Infantino has expressed concern about La Liga's proposal to stage a fixture between Girona and Barcelona in the United States.The two clubs have each approved a request submitted to the Spanish Football Federation for the match to be played at the Hard Rock Stadium in ...

Entertainment »

Annie Sekhon all set to shine in Bollywood


Actress Annie Sekhon who has worked in many television shows and Punjabi films is having the time of her life. Off late she's been enjoying the success of her latest Punjabi film, 'Punjab Singh' opposite Gurjind Maan. The hangover of this film hasn't even faded yet and she's taking a ...

Entertainment »

2018 Emmy winners list


Best Drama Series: Game of ThronesBest Comedy Series: The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselBest Actor, Drama Series: Matthew Rhys, The AmericansBest Actress, Drama Series: Claire Foy, The CrownBest Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Peter Dinklage, Game of ThronesBest Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Thandie Newton, WestworldBest Writing, Drama Series: Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, ...

Business & Economy »

Md. Momin Ud Dowlah, Chairman and Managing Director of Eon Group of Industries Limited, inaugurating its 18th anniversary celebrating programme by cutting cake at Eon Convention Center in the city on Sunday. Major ABA Mesbah Ud Dowlah, Vice-Chairman, ABA Shahid Ud Dowlah, Executive Director, Sayeeda Dowla, Director and Dr. Tamim Ud Dowlah, Group Director were also present.


City »

BNP Standing Committee Member Barrister Moudud Ahmed speaking at a discussion on 'Voting Rights-Fair Justice and Human Rights: Present Bangladesh' organised by Bangladesh Jatiya Manobadhikar Parishad at the Jatiya Press Club on Tuesday.


International »

US slashes refugee admissions to 30,000 for 2019


Reuters, Washington :U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday the United States would cap the number of refugees allowed into the country at 30,000 for fiscal year 2019, a sharp drop from a limit of 45,000 it set for 2018."We proposed resettling up to 30,000 refugees under the ...

Editorial »

Journalists` concern for free speech should not be ignored


EDITORS' Council on Saturday expressed its surprise, dissatisfaction, and shock at the final report of a parliamentary standing committee on the draft Digital Security Act which totally ignored the concerns expressed by journalists. Following disapproval from journalists, rights campaigners and foreign diplomats in Dhaka, the Law Minister earlier had admitted ...

Sports »

Japan's Osaka blames US Open tears on 'notorious' nerves


AFP, Tokyo :Naomi Osaka has put her US Open tears down to shredded nerves and her natural awkwardness, rather than the tantrum thrown by Serena Williams that overshadowed a historic Japanese win.The 20-year-old melted hearts when she burst into sobs as boos rang out following her emphatic 6-2, 6-4 thrashing ...

International »

Floodwaters rise as killer storm stalks southeastern US


AFP :Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage.Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South ...

International »

Imran Khan pledges citizenship to Afghan and Bangladeshi refugees


Al Jazeera News :Karachi, Pakistan - Prime Minister Imran Khan has pledged to implement existing Pakistani laws that would grant citizenship to all Afghan and Bangladeshi refugees who were born on Pakistani soil, a major departure from previous policy.Pakistan is home to more than 1.39 million registered Afghan refugees, according ...

City »

BNP Standing Committee Member Barrister Moudud Ahmed speaking at a protest rally organised by Nasir Uddin Ahmed Pintu Smriti Sangsad at the Jatiya Press Club on Monday demanding release of BNP Chief Begum Khaleda Zia and other leaders of the party.


Entertainment »

Radhika Apte turns adviser for AndhaDhun director


AndhaDhun director, Sriram Raghavan holds Radhika’s opinion in high regard when it comes to working on a project. Radhika being an omnipresent character in the entertainment world, the filmmaker feels that seeking advice from the actress always works in favor of him. According to sources, Sriram Raghavan said, “Since Radhika ...

Editorial »

DUCSU election is desirable but subservient party politics must end


ACADEMICS and former student leaders have emphasised favourable environment and immediate announcement of schedule to hold the long-awaited election to Dhaka University Central Student Union (DUCSU). While Dhaka University authorities initiated a discussion with student organisations over the issue yesterday, the participants welcoming the DU's move pointed out that flexing ...

 
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