Recently I was struck by how capitalism can enforce seemingly contradictory values without admitting or experiencing any sort of cognitive dissonance.
Angeli Lascon for Protean Magazine, writing on disability:
That survival is the fundamental condition of living under capitalism points to the eugenicist undercurrents in the core capitalist ethos. Central to capitalist eugenics is a moral framework of worthiness or merit, whereby one’s ability to work for capital determines their right to simply exist, and the quality of that existence. Succinctly captured in the ubiquitous phrase “the cost of living” is the commodification of existence, whereby one must work incessantly to earn any kind of life, but especially a good one: decent housing, sufficient and nutritious food, clean water, healthcare, fleeting moments of joy or pleasure.
Aaron Horvath for Current Affairs, writing on passive voice:
It’s hard not to see this spate of obfuscatory language as part of a deliberate effort to suppress our collective awareness of the workers who fulfill our orders. Acknowledgement would breed recognition. Recognition would promote solidarity. And solidarity would be bad for business. It could also be that techie grifters—many of whom are hemorrhaging money—are pulling all the stops to dazzle investors with the chimera of automation and artificial intelligence. Or perhaps it’s that, were these companies to actively acknowledge the humans on which their business models depend, they’d end up shattering the illusion that these people are merely “independent contractors” over which they have no control. What better way to disempower your workers than with language that pretends they don’t exist?
At one and the same time, capital both violently asserts that we have no value if we do not work and increasingly obscures that those who do work even exist.