Telling it like it is: news from the dead centre

The Tower of Babel by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Flemish painter © expiredThe industrial growth civilization may have no central command — but it behaves as if it does. VIVID thinks it should come clean and set up a reality newswire, which declares in straight-talking, plain-speaking English what is being decided at its hypothetical, brain-dead centre. This month we’d have:

From the DKCTRL (Department for Keeping Children Thinking along the Right Lines): all pupils in UK state schools will be told how to conform more readily to society’s standards and avoid inappropriate use of drugs, alcohol or sex – especially where such use might result in costs to the national economy, e.g. from treating drug addiction, supporting young mothers, and in terms of the opportunity costs of not having these mothers and drug addicts working and contributing to GDP. Chief Minister of the DKCTRL said: “Of course, the DKCTRL would also like to help young people in our society live happier, healthier lives but there is a limit to how much we’d like that.

“If we took it really seriously that would mean acting on the aspects of society that cause young people to be stressed (like the pressure to perform at school), depressed (such as the breakdown of communities, families and the diminishing chances of a healthy future for the natural world) and rebellious (because they know how little input they have into a system designed to serve us old farts at the top). It would also stymie our programme of strongly encouraging young people to measure their success and self-worth by what material goods (such as MP3 players and trainers) they have managed to amass, therefore keeping the consumer economy going.”

The DKCTRL acknowledges that this particular habit makes people less happy but emphasizes that the financial indicator equation systems prove that properly addressing issues like community, environment and other means for people to find purpose and happiness will have a detrimental effect on GDP. “It is much cheaper to leave things roughly as they are and occasionally pay for things like extra teaching for delivering common sense information about sex, diet and drugs that the pupils already largely know,” added the minister. “We realize that without the backdrop of a psychologically healthy society, there is little reason any of them would want to act on this information, but at least we will be seen to be doing something.” For an obfuscated version of what this branch of the DKCTRL is up to see here.

The DKCTRL is also worried that some UK schools are not producing children optimized to function in the money economy as well as they should be. The department is to encourage these schools to perform better by making them compete for a paltry sum of money designed to get them on track. And it keeps the spirit of competition alive, which the DKCTRL knows results in lots of extra productivity on the basis of deferred reward, and is to be commended. For a less transparent description of one such initiative see here.

The DMIULFCUSFPEELQNR (Department for Maintaining Increasingly Unlikely Levels of Faith in a Collapsing and Unsustainable System of Finance based on the Premise of Eternal Extraction of a Limited Quantity of Natural Resources) has this month decided to follow its multi-billion dollar, last ditch attempt to keep the money lenders going with a similar, $14 billion attempt to keep US car manufacturers afloat. It has set off some irrelevant bickering over detail between slightly different groups within the capitalist cabal, in order to sidetrack the bemused populace from a key issue deliberately omitted from all arguments. This is that any system that feeds money up the power chain by extracting and converting finite resources cannot go on forever; and that the part of this system that relies upon 15 million people a year buying sophisticated new motor vehicles that they don’t actually need, especially at a time when most people are skint, most lenders aren’t lending, the raw materials are running thin as is the fuel the vehicles run on, is inevitably going to be one of the first parts to fail.

Chief Minister of the DMIULFCUSFPEELQNR said: “We know this is a token gesture but we really can’t be bothered with rioting car plant workers so close to Christmas and quite frankly, we love the automobile, we love the oil industry and we can’t bear to admit to ourselves that the American dream has been rudely interrupted by some simple math. It affects our sense of self-worth so we won’t do it. We’ll just keep it limping along until we’re out of the game, away from the firing line and have enough money under our mattresses to retire in style, somewhere a long way from Detroit.” To see the obfuscated version of what one branch of the global DMIULFCUSFPEELQNR is up to, look here.

In other news, the ICSANLSMHTL (Institute of Conviction that Science has all the Answers and Natural Life Systems must be Managed by Humans Thinking Linearly), is delighted to announce that a one-day awareness raising event for children has successfully convinced them of the importance of science in “managing the planet”.

Another event at a prestigious location in London has succeeded in integrating values of comparison and competition into discussions of the merits of certain species and the worth or otherwise of saving them. This is a clear victory over the argument that all species are interconnected (and equally important) in the web of life, which must be respected and protected in its entirety if we are to recover the health of our biosphere, an argument too awkward and expensive to be allowed to prevail.

At this “Earthwatch debate”, bees were declared the most irreplaceable species on the planet based on a vote from the audience, narrowly bnot voted off by humans yeteating plankton. Commendations are due to the publicity team who managed to suggest that the audience was choosing between voting with their hearts or their heads, when in fact the very “either-or” nature of the event covertly precluded any proper involvement of the heart at all.

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