That's not a bad way to do it, actually. People in really unpleasant jobs like garbage collection could send their kids to college to study something less nasty.
Come to think of it, though, if work is unnecessary, why have money?
2006-05-11 08:44 pm (UTC)
I like The Culture's way of putting it: "Money is a sign of poverty."
Anyway, all my training in economics screams at me that a scheme like that wouldn't work, although I have yet to decide the main reason why.
According to Garbage Land, sanitation workers are in fact paid pretty well, which is some compensation for what is actually an extremely hazardous and difficult job.
I also feel like mentioning that the Mafia controlled New York's garbage industry for a long time; it was only in the 90s that their hold was broken. (And garbage collection costs then fell by millions of dollars. They rose back to Mafia-level costs later as the market consolidated into a small number of companies-- among other factors.)
Screw college. I think that if everyone in a country was actually given a chance to contribute to their fullest capacity, the basic jobs wouldn't get done. Who wants to be a garbage man when they grow up? How many people can you honestly say couldn't do something more 'worthwhile' with their abilities if they had the chance? Thus, giving an incentive to people who may be overqualified to undertake a job which they would otherwise consider beneath them.
Kino's Journey by its nature doesn't make much sense, but it's an interesting anime anyways. However, in this case I believe it was to give people a framework for their life.
2006-05-12 06:56 pm (UTC)
I'm So Glad I'm a Beta
"I was wondering," said the Savage, "why you had them at all–seeing that you can get whatever you want out of those bottles. Why don't you make everybody an Alpha Double Plus while you're about it?"
Mustapha Mond laughed. "Because we have no wish to have our throats cut," he answered. "We believe in happiness and stability. A society of Alphas couldn't fail to be unstable and miserable. Imagine a factory staffed by Alphas–that is to say by separate and unrelated individuals of good heredity and conditioned so as to be capable (within limits) of making a free choice and assuming responsibilities. Imagine it!" he repeated.
The Savage tried to imagine it, not very successfully.
"It's an absurdity. An Alpha-decanted, Alpha-conditioned man would go mad if he had to do Epsilon Semi-Moron work–go mad, or start smashing things up. Alphas can be completely socialized–but only on condition that you make them do Alpha work. Only an Epsilon can be expected to make Epsilon sacrifices, for the good reason that for him they aren't sacrifices; they're the line of least resistance. His conditioning has laid down rails along which he's got to run. He can't help himself; he's foredoomed. Even after decanting, he's still inside a bottle–an invisible bottle of infantile and embryonic fixations. Each one of us, of course," the Controller meditatively continued, "goes through life inside a bottle. But if we happen to be Alphas, our bottles are, relatively speaking, enormous. We should suffer acutely if we were confined in a narrower space. You cannot pour upper-caste champagne-surrogate into lower-caste bottles. It's obvious theoretically. But it has also been proved in actual practice. The result of the Cyprus experiment was convincing."
"What was that?" asked the Savage.
Mustapha Mond smiled. "Well, you can call it an experiment in rebottling if you like. It began in A.F. 473. The Controllers had the island of Cyprus cleared of all its existing inhabitants and re-colonized with a specially prepared batch of twenty-two thousand Alphas. All agricultural and industrial equipment was handed over to them and they were left to manage their own affairs. The result exactly fulfilled all the theoretical predictions. The land wasn't properly worked; there were strikes in all the factories; the laws were set at naught, orders disobeyed; all the people detailed for a spell of low-grade work were perpetually intriguing for high-grade jobs, and all the people with high-grade jobs were counter-intriguing at all costs to stay where they were. Within six years they were having a first-class civil war. When nineteen out of the twenty-two thousand had been killed, the survivors unanimously petitioned the World Controllers to resume the government of the island. Which they did. And that was the end of the only society of Alphas that the world has ever seen."
...sorry for the long quotation, but it seemed so perfectly suited...
2006-05-13 01:40 am (UTC)
Re: I'm So Glad I'm a Beta
No, it is. I think the horrifying thing about Brave New World is that, in many ways, what they did makes sense - it's just that it's a fundamental affront to the idea of free will and humanity.
How do you respect people's inviolable right to live a non-foreordained life, and still manage to create a stable, functional society?
2006-05-14 05:34 am (UTC)
Re: I'm So Glad I'm a Beta
No proposition is likelier to scandalize our contemporaries than this one: it is impossible to construct a just social order.
Bertrand de Jouvenal, Sovereignty
I don't believe that's true, mind you. I think a stable, functional, just, free society can be constructed. It's just that you have to accept that none of the four can be absolute without eliminating one or more of the others. For example, it's impossible to have a perfectly stable or perfectly free* society, period. It's impossible to have a perfectly functional society without eliminating freedom and justice. I strongly suspect that a perfectly just society would require eliminating certain freedoms (such as privacy); it would also be almost entirely unable to go to war.
But I do think it's possible to construct a fairly stable**, mostly functional, usually just, largely free society, and that America was doing pretty well at becoming one until the Industrial Revolution screwed it all up. There's no way of going back to before the Industrial Revolution, and I don't want to; I don't see any reason we can't construct another stable, functional, just, free society that takes into account the reality of industrialization and the resulting shift of economic activity from large numbers of small organizations to small numbers of large organizations.
One other note: free will is such a bizarre, paradoxical concept. It's an oxymoron (it requires human behavior to both be random and patterned), yet we must believe we have it and our societies must allow us to exercise it, regardless of whether it exists or not! I still have trouble wrapping my brain around that.
*All societies limit the actions of their members. Even basic laws against things like murder and theft are limits; a perfectly free society is anarchy, and anarchy is the least stable of all societies, generally lasting minutes or hours before somebody starts organizing a hierarchy.
**Among the many things that can destroy a society, one of the deadliest is environmental destruction, because that destroys the food supply. The main reason I'm an environmentalist is that I don't see how we can possibly construct a stable society if we aren't going to be able to produce food.
Having a society where work is unneccesary is about the only way one could get rid of money. C.F. Star Trek.
Star Trek is a story about how great life would be if we had infinite free energy and infinite free computing power.
Not to mention machines capable of turning that energy into whatever you want. I'm not sure why the space nations would fight wars, or even exist at all.
People don't fight wars for resources; those are just an excuse. Apes fight each other until one surrenders. People fight wars because, ever since the invention of the javelin, it's been possible to kill your opponent before he can surrender. And as long as you have people killing each other, it makes sense to minimize that killing by creating an organization that has a monopoly on the legitimate use of force -- in other words, a government.
2006-05-12 07:05 pm (UTC)
I rather susepct that people do indeed fight wars for resources (although that is far from the only reason!), and that the surrender explanation is tremendously simplistic. Just looking at the Wikipedia article on war, the information theories and economic theories regarding the causes of war seem more plausible.
I wish I knew more about the subject.