FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Serving Up Servitude

by

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt made a splash recently at Davos with his quip about the vanishing Internet. Frankly, he does creepy better than obtuse as when he all but begged the question about what the hell we’re being kept around for: “We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”

Strip a man of his keyboard and all that remains is a blinking cursor and his wordless nightmares. Perhaps we are the dead already—carbon-based anachronisms awaiting the Insidious Hand of benign neglect to make our post mortems official. Have we overstayed into the Silicon Era such that an Artilect now wants our seat on the bus? Google approaches as a guillotine dressed in geek’s clothing.

Humor us Mr. Schmidt. For you see, typing (or writing, as Truman Capote might allow for the better tappers in our midst) helps us to converge on where you seem dead-certain we already live. Yes, we’re slow, but interiority is such a tough habit to kick. Google Earth is a marvel to be sure. Yet there is no small number of keen minds for whom the non-locality of consciousness defies GPS coordinates. We might even live to survive your Panopticon and have a laugh about it on the Otherside. So I’d be careful with that hubris. Some trans-human demigod could swat you absently like a four-eyed mosquito. Then where would your stock options be?

* * *

Schmidt is a particularly bad bad actor. He slips easily into an exasperated tone when asked to wax eloquent on that last stubborn fly in the ointment, humanity. It was as clear in the long faces at Davos as it was in Eurogroup Chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem’s withering glare when Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis put food for Greece’s children before George Soros: We’ve become a vastly populated nuisance. They want us out of here so badly, it hurts.

Imagine Zeus running out of thunderbolts and having to fall back on pushing strings. There would have been a mutiny on Mount Olympus faster than you could say Eurogroup Chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem—maybe even faster. Quantitative Easing never got anyone a job who wasn’t already on the BIS Christmas card list. Austerity is a boot out to squash a colony of bugs. In their ham-fisted efforts at herding us, the elite’s faltering touch is showing. Long term, this may be good. Short term, it’s incredibly perilous. Never embarrass a faltering elite in broad daylight. Their numbers are too few, and their cognitive hold over We of Far Larger Numbers too tenuous for open monetary farce to prevail for long. You’re only asking for WW3.

Mass denouement has been underway for some time now.

Sigmund Freud’s nephew Eddie Bernays (the inventor of Public Relations) saw us as little more than bracketed swirls of subterranean appetites to be mined and monetized. Our irrational pleasure centers were invaded subliminally. This led to what cultural theorist Byung-Chul Han calls the Neuronal Age where overactive receptors create unnatural fatigue and the sense of unavertable outside entreaties. And boy do we have the pounds to show for myriad uninvited entreaties. People now routinely eat themselves to death. Speaking of entreaties or at least odious treats, no one ever woke up yearning for a Twinkie until a Twinkie was first made to exist and then advertised onto our burgeoning list of manufactured pleasures.

Yes, victimology can be overdone. Nonetheless we were helped along mightily by cues we never had the explicit option of refusing. Maybe Mom didn’t love us enough or Dad was a little too stern. Was it the market’s right to sell into our unfillable holes, banishing us normanballessayforevermore to the husky section of Sears? But for another hug Mommy and our asses would look just fine in these jeans. Over the ensuing period, the will to power swept through humanity like a hundred-year war. We’re looking weary and ripe for supersession.

Something is dying to usurp us and usher in the post-consumer age. The anthropic economy was an unoiled rack of Newtonian gears and pulleys shuttling supply towards demand, groping in the dark for equilibriums, one month producing too much, the next month too little. The surveillance apparatus is not being constructed to better serve us in the sense of a market perfecting its answerability to consumer demand, although that remains the party line. They’re not cataloging our retinas to sell us cereal, in short. For one thing, we are dismally predictable and not nearly the unique snowflakes we often fancy ourselves to be. The average Internet user visits no more than a few dozen unique sites per month. They know us more than well enough by now.

Analyst Daniel Castro of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation recently estimated U.S. tech company losses due to government spying programs could amount to $35 billion by 2016. This is a decidedly post-economic development couched disingenuously as an undesirable consequence. Frankly my dear, what spook gives a damn? Even Senator Wyden noted the suspicious absence of alarm:

“When the actions of a foreign government threaten red-white-and-blue jobs, Washington gets up at arms. But, even today, almost no one in Washington is talking about how overly broad surveillance is hurting the U.S. economy.”—from October 8, 2014 Public Forum

This current slow-motion global economic collapse is not scheduled for either a happy ending or a people-pleasing recovery. No, the final business cycle is an abyss-by-design. We are being ‘descended into’ transient serfdom on the way to superfluity. The main actors, Central Banks, are wringing their hands in premeditated angst as they stagger about ‘trying everything’ alas to no avail; all pure theatre to keep the masses spellbound and agape.

All currencies are collapsing against the USD after which the latter will perform the very last swan dive. Then structured economics will vanish. The economy is being put out to pasture. Mad Max barter might play a role on wild, wide stretches of highway. But for the most part, Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand will be replaced by the Panopticon’s Invisible Eye.

The great underlying tension that girded capitalism for decades was something akin to the Keystone Cops. Capital was forever teasing out the maddening vagaries of human want, often with humorous results. The landscape is littered with Edsels and New Coke. Nothing was wasted though. These misfires fed powerful feedback loops. The ultimate goal was never for Capital to please man, but for Man to furnish Capital with the ultimate prize, perfect control. Otherwise, what a way to run a railroad, chasing every Tom, Dick and Harry as though their appetites amounted, in some qualitative sense, to a covetable hill of beans.

Market research, product placement and needs assessment were midterm gestures until manufactured consent could perfect the ultimate gloved fist of demand implantation. Rather than stooping to glean the silly ramblings of the man on the street—as if that mattered—real power looked forward to the day when it would know what the man wanted before he articulated the desire for it. This is Huxleyian dystopia. Consent becomes the organizing principle on the way to the final solution.

Capitalism was the interim stalking horse the Bankers used to perfect the Final Mousetrap. Widely available prosperity was the inducement that coaxed the best minds into an endgame endeavor that ultimately they nor their families would live to partake. And to think we fell for the myth of sustainable upward mobility! Who can’t feel it in the air? There is a sense now they have all that they need. It’s written all over Schmidt’s smug mug. Covert technology is thirty years ahead of what’s in the public realm.

You see, it was never about serving markets. It was about serving up servitude. The mark of the beast might get you a Twinkie when total submission becomes the new coin of the realm. Relax. Most people will enjoy the final act and they say Diet Soma is low in calories. Only the poets will suffer.

Until death do us part, comrade.

Norman Ball is the author of ‘How Can We Make Your Power More Comfortable?‘ and ‘The Frantic Force‘. Checker him out connecting the dots at his Full-Spectrum Domino blog.

 

More articles by:

Norman Ball is a Scots-American businessman and consultant. Learn more about his new eBook from Eye Am Eye Books  ‘East-West Dialectics, Currency Resets and the Convergent Power of One’ at his blog Full-Spectrum Domino. His email is gspressnow@gmail.com

February 22, 2018
Jeffrey Sommers
Bond Villain in the World Economy: Latvia’s Offshore Banking Sector
Mark Schuller
Haiti’s Latest Indignity at the Hands of Dogooders, Oxfam’s Sex Scandal
T.J. Coles
How the US Bullies North Korea, 1945-Present
Ipek S. Burnett
Rethinking Freedom in the Era of Mass Shootings
Manuel E. Yepe
Fire and Fury: More Than a Publishing Hit
Patrick Bobilin
Caught in a Trap: Being a Latino Democrat is Being in an Abusive Relationship
Laurel Krause
From Kent State to Parkland High: Will America Ever Learn?
Terry Simons
Congress and the AR-15: One NRA Stooge Too Many
George Wuerthner
Border Wall Delusions
Manuel García, Jr.
The Anthropocene’s Birthday, or the Birth-Year of Human-Accelerated Climate Change
Thomas Knapp
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Russiagate
February 21, 2018
Cecil Bothwell
Billy Graham and the Gospel of Fear
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail