Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.
The object of any capitalist enterprise seems to be to contrive, through law or violence, to control the greatest amount of resources possible, and to increase such control even beyond time and the possible. There is no point at which the capitalist enterprise is programmed to decide enough is enough. The resources it seeks to command include what we normally think of as wealth or capital, such as raw materials, space, time, and money, as well as physical human beings, where they are in space and how they exert their energy at any given time, but also including their ineffable attributes: loyalty, passion, purpose, wishes, sexual feelings, determination, perseverance, language, ignorance, knowledge, imagination, anxiety, pettiness, preference, and any number of other intangible energies, to which a name may or may not be attached.
Does capitalism succeed in its quest for control? Yes it does. What can put the breaks on its quest? Unions, the power of which has been waning since and partially because of the Reagan administration; government, which has been known to vacillate between bowing to the influence of the people and to that of capital, with capital in the excessively ascendant currently; and natural forces, although any limit imposed by so-called "nature" is often turned by capital into yet another opportunity or public excuse to exert other kinds of control.
All limits are just more business opportunities. Is the world crumbling due to fossil fuel emissions? Here's a battery! The concerned consumer never sees the emissions produced during lithium extraction, battery manufacture, and generating the electricity used to charge the batteries, all of which activities occur "off-camera."
Are unions forcing you to raise wages? There's a company you can hire to undermine labor solidarity. There are all kinds of lobbyists hired to convince governments to hire the capitalist to remove obstacles to capitalism, and think tanks to advise governments to listen to those lobbyists. It's big business, removing obstacles to business, and everyone wants in on that gravy train. It's a viciously circular feeding frenzy, and the great masses of us outside of über-wealth are the bait ball.
The ability to profit from our emotions, both petty and grand, and the ability to turn catastrophe and human misery into investment opportunities, seem to be the two aspects of capitalism really coming into their own, converging as we rapidly approach the end of civilization. The triumph of Donald Dump in the 2016 election may be the apotheosis of that convergence. After that, we all must explode, individually and collectively, into sparkly combusting unicorn farts. There's nowhere else to go. There's your end of history, Francis Fukuyama: like a stone in the urethra of human progress, nothing more can issue forth. Dump is that blockage, the nephrolithiasis of history.
It's been said that capitalism can't exist without democracy. Yet it's in the self- destructive and contradictory nature of capitalism to require democracy while simultaneously striving to destroy it. It also requires workers, while at the same time destroying them. No, maybe that's an exaggeration. Capitalism merely tries to train them to live without food, shelter, sleep, education, health care, community and humanity. It requires nature to exist but at the same time destroys it. Were these forces, capitalism and democracy, in some kind of balance, it might not be necessary to free ourselves from capitalism. But because capitalism's desires have superseded those of any other organism, including the planet itself, it's either free ourselves, or perish.
And there may be a clever way to free ourselves. There's another notable instance when capitalism's twin engines of exploitation of catastrophe and its manipulation of desire and imagination converged in an example of entrepreneurial hubris worthy of a chef's kiss. There are two documentaries about it currently available, one on Hulu and one on Netflix, and I strongly urge you to watch at least one of them. Gather your friends around, lay in a supply of tortilla chips and a huge trough of seven-layer schadenfreude and watch the tale of Fyre Festival unfold.
The elevator pitch: a fake wunderkind entrepreneur, skating on his success rounding up investors and customers for his VIP credit-card-and-insider-consumer app that never delivered on its promises, sells VIP tickets for thousands of dollars to a luxury music festival that never delivers on its promises, leaving the suckers who paid thousands for a millionaire-with-bad-musical-taste experience stranded all night in wet FEMA tents on a rocky island with no music and tacky lunchmeat sandwiches.
I think we've found the weakness of capitalism. It believes its own most grandiose bullshit.
So here's what we do: sell ridiculously expensive tickets to a luxury sex planet. And pitch that there's going to be an awards night, something that will appeal to the most vile capitalists. The tickets must be expensive enough to prevent some non- hubristic non-rich person from winning one in an office raffle, as one dude did, or supposedly did, in the case of Fyre Fest. He was apparently the only one who got his money's worth: “watching rich people freak out because their luggage was being handled roughly or they were slightly dehydrated? Oh, it was like chicken soup for my middle-class soul. Best weekend of my life,” he is supposed to have reported.
No, we don't want someone with such small dreams on our Luxury Sex Planet and Business Achievement and Nation Rapist Awards Night Voyage. Only those with money to burn on completely stupid, self-congratulatory crap are allowed. Because when they get off the spaceship, they'll realize, get this: they've landed on Venus! The only thing to eat is volcanic rock. The temperature is a balmy 800 degrees. The only natural hot springs is full of sulphuric acid. And the awards are cheaply made.
We want something we can tempt ancient banana slug-walrus hybrid Henry Kissinger to shell out for. A destination event that will cause the wattles of the Koch brothers to tremble at the thought of, one that will draw over-valued thought leaders, sultans, CEOs, top social media influencers, and branding champions alike to their extra-terrestrial deaths. We even hire Elon Musk to build the space ship! Of course he'll want to go, and he can even bring his car. Then we can divide up the wealth they leave behind here on Earth, and maybe mitigate the environmental damage we've been forced to collaborate in perpetrating.
It's using your opponent's most grotesquely abusive power against him. That is the beauty of it. Imagine if we could get rid of those controlling pests, they who feel entitled to try to commandeer anything and everything, by offering them the recognition they feel they deserve for being avaricious, power-mad, egomaniacal control freaks.
And that's just one idea I have for how to take back our planet. It's called poetic celestial justice. And I've invented an app that goes with it. It's gonna make me a zillion bucks.
This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!