Restart The Bullshit Economy

David Graeber:

What precisely do people mean by "getting the economy up again"? If the economy is how you keep people alive, fed, clothed, housed, etc, the economy was still running during lockdown. So in what sense is "the economy" coming back when lockdown is lifted?

I can only conclude this is the voice of those people whose work has been revealed to be largely or completely useless who have become impatient that the veil is lifted, or worried if it is too long, they won't be able to put it back.

What's being restored is not "the economy" -- it's precisely the bullshit economy, all those managers who supervise other managers, all those people whose job is ultimately to convince you the existence of their jobs is not insane.

The only reason there's even a possibility of restoring the veil is the maintenance of the old 20C rubric of "productivity", since yes, some factories have shut down, eventually stock of refrigerators or harmonicas will have to be replenished.

But this is now a small part of the economy, most labour isn't "productive" in that material sense & framing things in terms of "productivity" (i.e., in official stats they even talk about the productivity of real estate) is ultimately a way of claiming that anything that produces profit (like real estate) is "productive" and therefore that all those managers and consultants really are making something after all.

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5 Responses:

  1. Eric Brombaugh says:

    Load 'em all onto Ark B I say.

    • Malcolm says:

      Alas, most of the Bullshit Economy is already happily WFH.

      The Real Economy has been given its orders to keep on at the meat packing plant.

    • alex4pt says:

      unsanitary phones killed off a lot of folk iirc, we probably need some of those 'heroes' right now

  2. Dude says:

    Every time I hear someone say "restart the economy", I hear 2Pac's "They Don't Give a Fuck about Us" playing in my head.

    Tell me they're restarting the economy with the 1950s-level rates on the rich (which was 91%!! See here), then I'll believe they aren't just aiming for an oligarch paradise... I mean, more than the one they already have.

  3. Re-opening the economy is code for kicking people off unemployment.

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