Why Dystopias are more popular than Utopias | Yugopnik
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Mass production itself is not at issue. Mass production is necessary to maintain modern population density. The issue is in profits, how profits influence resource distribution in a society, excessive waste of goods which are not profitable (mass transit) or cannot reach profitable markets (30% of our food supply goes to waste despite a large portion of the world population suffering from food insecurity), and the accumulation of profits by individuals.

Absolutely agreed. Now re-read Brave New World and note the following:

  1. While there was money, it acted more as a way to induce consumerism (the real target of Huxley’s ire). As I noted earlier, Huxley’s beef was with hedonism and how it dehumanizes. He lampoons the capitalist-adjacent (but not capitalist-exclusive) focus on consumerism as it leads to empty hedonism.

  2. But at the same time the economy was strongly central-controlled which is pretty much the precise opposite of capitalism. (This is why I repeated several times ‘there are no capitalist countries’ and ‘there are no socialist countries’ in my earlier rant: there is not a society on the planet that’s pure-anything.)

Huxley’s satire is far more subtle and more pointed than ideologues who read it seem to be able to perceive. Right-wing types read it as a condemnation of socialism because they see the command economy. Left-wing types read it as a condemnation of capitalism because they see the consumerism. The truth is he sticks a shiv into both systems while working at his main thesis: that the best means to control is hedonism.

Ideas do not come out of a contextless aether.

Of course they don’t! Which is why, as I pointed out above, the right and left both read both books and see something completely different. From their respective contexts Orwell and Huxley are lampooning socialism (the right’s readers) and capitalism/fascism (the left’s readers). And the reason is that Orwell and Huxley both lampoon either hedonism (Huxley) or authoritarianism (Orwell) without explicit reference to actual political or economic systems. They are doing the 禅 thing of overturning the question of which political or economic system is best by answering 无: in effect “unasking” the question by pointing to the things they thought were the real concerns.

Orwell’s and Huxley’s worlds both are strongly centrally-planned economies. Socialist, in a word. Huxley’s world, however, is rooted in consumerism, castes, and hedonism, very strongly capitalist-adjacent with a smattering of feudal or worse (via the castes). Orwell’s is rooted in intense, iron-fisted control of information and, by extension people, which is primarily fascist (a.k.a. hyper-capitalist) in model. So it is hyper-simplistic to say that they’re criticising ‘capitalism’ when at the core of both stories is a strongly socialist feature, don’t you think?

If we’re going to be honest. I don’t really care what either of them wrote about. They were both cranks whose works became enshrined by neoliberals and then led to nothing of note. I only talked about them to stay in context.

The reason I think this whole conversation is silly is that you’re attempting to steer it toward these model societies that a. don’t exist b. by your word are complete fabrications of the authors.

In following this assertion, one cannot examine the intrinsic and inseperable social relationship between an economy and the political system that supports it. You call dialectical materialism pure ideology, yet this thought experiment is like examining the power structures in Harry Potter. It’s a complete waste of time.

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