18 December 2005

This world that's created, this world of economic rational self-interest and cold calculating self-maximising behaviour, what's so bad about it at bottom? Is it so wrong? Is the only reason you're disappointed with it because you're used to something which was right for a different era, a time that's past? Are you not clinging anachronistically, misguidedly, romantically to the interaction between people in a shop, in a restaurant, when now it's just better to click online and to speak to the mesh grille in the drive-thru?

We get other people to do things for us. Was it ever thus. Now the technology has changed and it's possible to be even more isolated from the consequences of our actions. We treat human beings as units of labour for the purposes of decision making in business. We treat human beings as units of information for the purposes of torture. And we get wealthier and more powerful by making sure that other people need to come to us for resources or legitimacy or guidance. It's not a crime. [Extracted from a response to a student's response to the film Wall Street and Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis.]

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