Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Festive Greetings!

I probably won't be on here again until the New Year, so just to say Happy Festivities to all my blog pals, and anyone else who might happen to pass by.

Oh, and I receive this cheering message from Blogger every time I access it ...

... so can do no more than reciprocate their sentiments.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Right Way Up

Here’s a pyramid.


The base is when you were born, the apex is when you’ll die.  You have no choice but to climb the pyramid, through inexorable time.
The substance of the pyramid is your potential – what remains for you to achieve?  As you climb, your potential will inevitably diminish; that’s the way pyramids work.
So think outside the pyramid.  The higher you climb, the more you see.  And maybe by breaking off chunks of rock and throwing them, you’ll be able to change what you see.  (Sometimes they will bounce off other pyramids and come back.)
Of course, the worth of the climb will depend on how you do it.  You can go up the craggy, rough-clad outside, which will be hard but will increase your field of vision and focus your choice of chunks to throw; or you can crawl up the narrow inside tunnels, which may be easier but you won’t see so much, except through the occasional passageway that might lead to the outside.  Difficult to aim accurately through those though.
If you’ve chosen the outside path you can probably duck round a corner to a different route up (pyramids have four facets).  And of course there are many forks and turns in those tunnels too. 

Like the Pyramids of Giza, this metaphor is starting to crumble, so I’ll stop.  For now.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Can I be forgiven...

... for misreading the last word of this local paper headline?

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Marx was right(ish)!

Bee said to me this morning: “I think I ought to stop buying from Amazon.” 
I agreed, which was easy for me as I hardly ever do.  (I only go there once all other avenues have been explored, usually for obscure stuff that it’d be hard to find anywhere else.)  But that wasn’t her point.
Later in the day, I read Carole Cadwalladr’s exposė in the Observer of the near-slavery working conditions in their Swansea warehouse (which I already more or less knew about).  That was Bee’s point.
I accept that, obviously.  But my extra point is concealed in an opinion lurking early in Cadwalladr’s article.  “Amazon is successful for a reason.  It is brilliant at what it does.”  This is where I part company.  Amazon is actually rubbish at what it does.  Let me explain.
A capitalist system, theory tells us, exists for only one purpose: to produce (duh) goods and services which can be sold in the market, thereby enriching the owners of the system (capitalists) whilst rewarding the producers of the goods and services (workers).  Marx’s argument was that the inherent bias of the system (because power leeches upwards towards ownership and away from labour) contains the seeds of its own destruction, via revolution. 
Well, he’s been proved wrong on that one – so far.  But what he couldn’t have foreseen, of course, was consumerism, household debt, and the internet. The new capitalism is based on the belief that the present isn’t a problem, because you can just push it forward into the future.  My* old metaphor of the inverted pyramid of piss still holds up. 
So that’s why I say that your Amazons are bad at what they do – they just don’t get it.  They don’t get true capitalism, which requires a balance of contribution from each direction.  Henry Ford got it when he worked out that he could use people to make his cars, but he needed to pay them money, so that they could buy his cars. 

*Kingsley Amis’s, actually, but I’ve adopted it as a fond mindchild