• schopenhauer1
    1.7k
    I don't think the consumer's knowledge of a product's production method and sources is the issue.

    I believe you mean the manufacturer's or worker's alienation from the product and the fact that they only participate in a figurative segment or link in a much larger, sometimes transnational chain of production.
    aporiap

    No, in a way, I do mean just that about product's production. Consumers don't know much about the very technology they use. Most people praise this as a good thing as it shows that the industrial market economy creates such specialization and labor division, that we can be thousands of steps removed from the process of production/distribution. There are almost an infinite amount of factors that go into making any individual product or utility. Everything we touch and experience in society has some story that didn't involve us, yet we utilize it. We are aliens from the world we inhabit.

    So what is the consequence of this? We are simply pushed along by the innovations of others. Empty vessels with no real connection to our own artificial environment.
  • schopenhauer1
    1.7k

    How about these questions:
    What if everyone in the world decided not to work?
    What is it we are trying to get out of life in the first place?

    The absurdity of both work and the silence of what we are getting out of life in the first place is telling.

    Edit: You see, there is an ethos here that is implicit in this situation.

    You want the STUFF (i.e. all the complex technologically created goods). > YOU must contribute now (since most people aren't technological pioneers through circumstance or lack of aptitude this means lever pushing for many). > You are beholden to the forces of technology because if you want the STUFF you need to contribute your bean counting and lever pushing > there is no way out except perhaps antinatalism

    I don't know, if people like @Baden or someone else I haven't heard from in a while wan to comment feel free. Certainly, this is intended for @Bitter Crank. @aporiap and @andrewk also had some comments in this thread.
  • aporiap
    47
    No, in a way, I do mean just that about product's production. Consumers don't know much about the very technology they use. Most people praise this as a good thing as it shows that the industrial market economy creates such specialization and labor division, that we can be thousands of steps removed from the process of production/distribution.
    I don't think many people think much into the goods they've bought. And there are different kinds of products and different levels of value or connection given to products. There are ones simply used for convenience and practical relevance, there are ones we feel express or reflect aspects of ourselves or groups of which we feel apart or drawn to- clothes, merchandise, music. There are ones we feel connection to or have other personal significance - trinket from grandma, dad's old mustang. I don't think removal from production process removes these feelings. What do you think is lost by this lack of knowledge of a product's origin?

    There are almost an infinite amount of factors that go into making any individual product or utility. Everything we touch and experience in society has some story that didn't involve us, yet we utilize it. We are aliens from the world we inhabit.

    So what is the consequence of this? We are simply pushed along by the innovations of others. Empty vessels with no real connection to our own artificial environment.
    Again, I don't understand the jump from understanding of a product's origin to lack of connection to the product or the greater environment. Isn't that a prerequisite to purchasing a product - it having some significance or meaning to us? And that value can shift or change, grow or dissipate in time.
  • schopenhauer1
    1.7k

    See the response above:

    You want the STUFF (i.e. all the complex technologically created goods). > YOU must contribute now (since most people aren't technological pioneers through circumstance or lack of aptitude this means lever pushing for many). > You are beholden to the forces of technology because if you want the STUFF you need to contribute your bean counting and lever pushing > there is no way out except perhaps antinatalismschopenhauer1
  • schopenhauer1
    1.7k

    I'll give another response too. Knowing how the products that we use works means we are an active participant in the very things that surround our economic world. We can't even fathom one part that goes into our car without going in literally a million directions (everything from the agricultural methods used to grow the foods that fed the autoworkers, to the actual engineers who designed the autopart). It is so intractably wide a network, that we are always on the outside of the "know". We are just passive recipients of market forces and not directly involved in that which we utilize. It is an odd sort of alienation that we are removed many fold from. Some might say this is just evidence of the goodness of the market system, but there is an alienation of the users and producers. Those who designed the complex systems and those who take it for granted once it is distributed to a large market for profit.
  • aporiap
    47

    How about these questions:
    What if everyone in the world decided not to work?
    What is it we are trying to get out of life in the first place?
    1. Do you mean if everyone decided not to work officially? I.e. they 'work' at home - cleaning their kitchens, flowering the garden, making food; but they refuse to work at their work places? I think if you mean that then probably we'd diverge into small working communities. Progress would slow, life expectancy would likely shorten.

    If you mean stop work completely, including house work, then probably we'd all not last more than a few decades.

    2. That's such a complex question and you will get different answers from different people. I think it's some kind of stability of mind and sense of life contentment.

    [quoteThe absurdity of both work and the silence of what we are getting out of life in the first place is telling.

    Edit: You see, there is an ethos here that is implicit in this situation.
    You want the STUFF (i.e. all the complex technologically created goods). > YOU must contribute now (since most people aren't technological pioneers through circumstance or lack of aptitude this means lever pushing for many). > You are beholden to the forces of technology because if you want the STUFF you need to contribute your bean counting and lever pushing > there is no way out except perhaps antinatalism
    It's not always so rote. There are so many job and career options, there are so many ways to feel connected to a given job or career. You might teach or do therapy because you love to work with people or mentor others. You might prefer a family oriented, balanced, low competition life - so you prefer to work in blue collar sector. Sometimes there are barriers to carving a career, some of those barriers are unjust and should not be there -- but I think if we lived in a society where career opportunity was freely accessible and without significant barriers, I don't think people would be so limited by their work options.
  • Shatter
    11
    The fundamental disagreement here seems to be between those who believe that simply working for oneself, or one's family, is better than working for someone else and using the proceeds to provide for oneself etc.

    It seems to me that if the former suggestion was valid we would never have "progressed" to the advanced industrial societies we live in today. I build electrical installations, someone else arranges for me to have food and drink. Would I do a better job of providing all of these requirements myself? Emphatically no! I cannot be an expert in everything.
  • Bitter Crank
    5.5k
    Yes, that is one of the reasons for specialization and working for organizations rather than working individually. I know how to do a few things that are really useful; it doesn't add up to enough skills to supply myself with food, clothing, shelter, etc.

    That is a perennial contradictions of anarchism: Organizations are inherently bad, but without organizations we all starve. Some people starve even with organizations, but with organization more people get fed.
  • Shatter
    11


    Chomsky argues that anarchism is not disorganised, but is instead organisation without hierarchy. Fanciful as this may sound, it does offer a potential to alleviate the "inherently bad" aspect of (corporate) organisation without the wanton destruction of everything we rely on for our survival.

    If we assume, for the sake of argument, that this is at least theoretically true, is a consequence of this that alienation from production is not an important factor in our lives?

    On a different note, are we really, relatively speaking, all that alienated? Does a monkey know how fruit is produced?
  • schopenhauer1
    1.7k
    It's not always so rote. There are so many job and career options, there are so many ways to feel connected to a given job or career. You might teach or do therapy because you love to work with people or mentor others. You might prefer a family oriented, balanced, low competition life - so you prefer to work in blue collar sector.aporiap

    All lever pushing. That versus the person who invents a better processor or whole new systems which millions rely upon.
  • aporiap
    47

    I saw this and thought of your thread-
    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1018363788315773&id=574719552680201&refsrc=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F&_rdr

    What do you think? Is this the sort of way of life you'd prefer people to live by?

    Also I disagree with the equalizing and trivializing of the personal value and meaning of different forms of work you have to give me an argument for why they have the same meaning and end in despair for the individual

    @
    Apologies, this is the version of the video. What do you think? Is this the kind of connection to products you mean?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVCjb_9aj7M
  • schopenhauer1
    1.7k
    Also I disagree with the equalizing and trivializing of the personal value and meaning of different forms of work you have to give me an argument for why they have the same meaning and end in despair for the individualaporiap

    I meant to say that most are lever pushing outside the very few who change processes for millions. They perhaps have a much greater stake in the production. Even this is one instance and since can't be a part of the whole process, is simply also a passive recipient like the rest.

    I don't know if it ends in despair, but it ends with individuals being just very minuscule participants, and thus are essentially pinballs in the "given" of the environs which the behemoth of the world economy provides for the individuals.
  • Marchesk
    1.7k
    Now the burden is to show when things weren't bad, and why they weren't, and how we can maybe fix that. It's easy to decry things. It's very hard to explain how to make things better.csalisbury

    Indeed. If not being alienated from production means slaving away on a farm to make ends meet, I probably would rather be alienated with all my consumer goods, unless I'm really into farming.

    Let's not kid ourselves. Before capitalism there was feudalism, and that was not better for most people, despite there being a lot less alienation with production. And there are still parts of the world where people have to produce their own goods. They tend to be rather poor, and many of them would rather have access to the alienated labor and goods.

    If being alienated means I have clean drinking water, abundance of food choices, access to healthcare, education, travel, etc. then that's magnitudes better than most humans had before me.
  • LD Saunders
    84
    How am I "alienated" from production if I help build something without understanding all of the production processes involved? It's just a made-up concept by Marxists without any significance. So, we would somehow be less "alienated" if we lived in abject poverty because production was radically reduced so we could all understand how each product is made from start to finish? I prefer my modern standard of living, so no thank you, Marxists.
  • Marchesk
    1.7k
    Would I do a better job of providing all of these requirements myself? Emphatically no! I cannot be an expert in everything.Shatter

    Indeed! Specialization (along with automation) has allowed the standard of living to go way up, for all of us unfortunate souls who get to be alienated. Not saying it's a perfect result, but I would say it's generally less bad than what came before.

    Although I have no idea what life was a hunter/gatherer would be like, but at least with civilization, the standard of living is much better now, for those who have access.
  • schopenhauer1
    1.7k
    Indeed! Specialization (along with automation) has allowed the standard of living to go way up, for all of us unfortunate souls who get to be alienated. Not saying it's a perfect result, but I would say it's generally less bad than what came before.

    Although I have no idea what life was a hunter/gatherer would be like, but at least with civilized life, the standard of living is much better now, for those who have access.
    Marchesk

    The point of my post was to address the fact that we are mostly ignorant of the very processes and things we take utilize in daily life. We become passive participants and eventually become beholden to the given which is:

    You want the STUFF (i.e. all the complex technologically created goods). > YOU must contribute now (since most people aren't technological pioneers through circumstance or lack of aptitude this means lever pushing for many). > You are beholden to the forces of technology because if you want the STUFF
  • Marchesk
    1.7k
    The point of my post was to address the fact that we are mostly ignorant of the very processes and things we take utilize in daily life. We become passive participants and eventually become beholden to the given which is:schopenhauer1

    Yes, and maybe there is something less than good about that. Thus the DIY movement, and all those shows about how STUFF gets made. But is it worse than what we had before?

    Maybe a smith would know everything about how an object was made. Was their life better off overall?
  • schopenhauer1
    1.7k
    But is it worse than what we had before?

    Maybe a smith would know everything about how an object was made. Was their life better off overall?
    Marchesk

    I am not advocating going backwards in time. I am just pointing to our ignorance and how beholden we are to larger forces we had no hand in and did not create ourselves but certainly dictate modern life for us. I can't explain its significance more than there is an alienation or atomization to this.
  • Marchesk
    1.7k
    I am not advocating going backwards in time. I am just pointing to our ignorance and how beholden we are to larger forces we had no hand in and did not create ourselves but certainly dictate modern life for us. I can't explain its significance more than there is an alienation or atomization to this.schopenhauer1

    I see. Well, it might get worse if AI becomes more generalized in capability.
  • Bitter Crank
    5.5k
    On a different note, are we really, relatively speaking, all that alienated? Does a monkey know how fruit is produced?Shatter

    "Being alienated from the products of one's labor" is not an obvious condition for industrial workers, let alone monkeys. "Alienation" in the case of products isn't "a bad feeling" like being alienated from one's parents, for instance, whose love once seemed secure. Rather, it's an insight into one's relationship to production which one might grasp alone, but will more quickly grasp if prompted by someone like Marx.

    Workers in capitalist economies are definitely alienated from production. They may be, and probably are alienated in other ways too, where alienation is a psychological phenomenon.

    Chomsky argues that anarchism is not disorganised, but is instead organisation without hierarchy. Fanciful as this may sound, it does offer a potential to alleviate the "inherently bad" aspect of (corporate) organisation without the wanton destruction of everything we rely on for our survival.Shatter

    Yes, this is true. Anarchy is an-archy not helter-skelter. I love the idea of an-archical society but bringing about such a society is a daunting project. Ursula LeGuin, a science fiction writer, explored what an anarchical society might be like in her novel, The Dispossessed.

    If we assume, for the sake of argument, that this is at least theoretically true, is a consequence of this that alienation from production is not an important factor in our lives?Shatter

    Alienation from production is an important part of our lives the same way clean water and fresh air are. We may not notice that the water and air are dirty if we have tasted nothing else, but clean water and fresh air are definitely better for us, once we know what is what. And the cure for alienation isn't a pain killer, its a reorganization of the economy and society so that workers ARE NOT ALIENATED, which means the end of rich people owning everything.

    Whether alienation is cured by socialism, syndicalism, or anarchism... the changes would be HUGE.

    Chomsky is always worth reading; have you read Prince Kropotkin, Mikhail Bakunin, Emma Goldman, and more modern anarchists?
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