Friday, March 20, 2015

Wages of Humanity

Download this little gem of a short novella by Cixin Liu, an incredible Chinese SCIFI author.  It will give you one spin on the evils of the division of wealth we are suffering.  Think evolution.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

NM made national news again:

The New Mexico Administrative Code prohibits teachers and other school staff from saying anything negative to students about standardized tests. Or, to be more precise, they are not allowed to say anything that might “disparage or diminish the significance, importance or use of the standardized tests.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/03/19/you-wont-believe-what-new-mexico-teachers-arent-allowed-to-say-to-students/

Bubba Muntzer said...

One of the indications of great writing is being able to suspend the narrative while your characters go off on discourses about the nature of things, to in fact to make those philosophical discourses a necessary part of the narrative. The great Russian novelists could do this. All the great writers do it. Liu does it in this book and you don't even notice it. I love writing like that.

I'd also like to read some of Liu's other books and see how he fleshes out his thoughts on things like the sanctity of private property and the redistribution of wealth.

Growing up and being educated in China he no doubt received the basic Marxist education, but they've been experimenting with Capitalism for awhile now. They're seeing some its effects, which come out in the book. He's in a good position to compare what's happening with what it was like under state communism.

He talks about private property quite a bit, and private property is central to the book's climax. In the US, we can see the effects of government policies that are only about the redistribution of wealth, but which never interfere with the sanctity of private property or of the Capitalist system itself. This is what puts Democrats in a bind, I think. They point out the harmful effects of wealth accumulation and can get redistributive programs passed, but then are left trying to justify the instances where money gets handed out to people who don't work.

Marxism isn't really about the redistribution of wealth but about private property. It's about redistributing the means of production, the ownership of the factories and raw materials, the mineral, air and water resources, the timber of the forests and so forth, the agricultural land. So that people would be working for themselves.

Because we have private property, because rich people own and control the land, the expensive commercial property, the mines, etc., the owners can argue convincingly that the system we have is just.

This makes the connection between the wealth our labor creates, and the labor itself, hard to see, and harder still to see is how private property, which justifies their monopoly on the means of production, is the foundation of the system.

You don't have to believe in Socialism or think it would work out better than Capitalism for the Marxist analysis to give you some insights you wouldn't normally have. I think that's evident in Liu's writing.

That's just my interest though. The book is about much more than that. The whole thing about the mind of the hit man is at the heart of the book. Liu leads you on a path that allows you to identify with him, and in so doing brings you very close to the edge.

Great book.

Jim Baca said...

I am reading all of his books. His work is very popular in China.