Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A gentleman's guide to career, romance, and nation-building

Capital, understood as a social relation, depends on the willingness of people to work and consume in a consistent, if dynamic, way. Sometimes you work harder and consume less, as in a recession; other times you work less but consume more, as when credit is available: and yet, a minimum number of your neighbors remain unemployed, reinforcing a sense of good fortune either way. Capital is not just the money or machinery available for production, but also that mass of people who choose work and consumption as the objectives that absorb their lives.

For capital, such activity must persist in the face of every other social obligation. Our president might be remotely detonating women his daughters' age in order to get at the men in their homes; somebody else's leaders might be stoking sexual violence against women as a rule; your parent may be dying, or your city. Nevertheless, the world makes getting out of bed and going to work, day in and day out, its highest calling. To anyone who asks "How could it happen?" after watching the film adaptation of any social catastrophe, the answer is always that our fidelity is not to people, but to the things that have situated themselves between us -- not the least of which we know as "careers."


Ethan said...

The last four posts are so goddamn useful. Thanks.

JRB said...

Your feedback is goddamn useful! So thank you.