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The Game Never Named, the Addendum Never Spoken


#1

The Game Never Named, the Addendum Never Spoken

Kristine Mattis

Remember that silly game we used to play with fortune cookies from Chinese restaurants? Maybe people still play it. It’s the one where you read your fortune and tack on “… in bed” to the end of the sentence – like, “You will soon meet a mysterious stranger … in bed.” The supplemental phrase usually fits fairly smoothly onto the given fortune, and generates a few chuckles from listeners.

Here’s a new game in a similar vein, but this one doesn’t engender much laughter. First, take a look at the statements below. See if you can identify which are true versus which are false.


#2

Well done, Ms. Mattis. What the D and R parties noisily disagree over—for example, abortion, gun control and the rights of the gender non-conforming—have much less impact on our lives than what they quietly agree on—primarily corporate capitalism, endless war, and the perpetuation of the “two-party” long con.


#3

“Abortion, gun control and rights of gender non-conforming” were elevated in the media solely to distract us from issues of consequence and divide the 99% to make it easier for the 1% to conquer the 99%.

Mattis’ list demonstrates how successful corporate originated propaganda (spread by the media and politicians they own) is.


#4

We all can’t see how the parties of the Duopoly have irreparably damaged our Democracy by selling out themselves and all of us to the Military Industrial Complex.


#5

Hyper-financialized capitalism is a disaster. It gave us the crash of the late twenties and we may go down before the century anniversary of that. The meanness and avarice of our money system is downright criminal and bereft of all morality.


#6

As I understand it, an end to capitalism would mean an end to wages and wealth (and profit and money)

So “livable wages”, “a universal basic income” and “a cap on individual wealth” are misplaced priorities, if we’re talking about the whole "From each … to each … " thingie, yes?


#7

We can, if we choose to, do all of those things.

As John Lennon said, for example: “War is Over if You Want It”.


#8

If you think every sentence is false, prove it.
“Imagine ending the game.” However it’s not just one game. Every one of these issues is a DIFFERENT GAME.
It’s ridiculous to claim that nobody has ever thought about “ending the game”, as you call it.
You address a multitude of issues, each one of which involves one or more scientific disciplines, which in almost all cases have been addressed at length by academics working in the respective fields. Some issues, like poverty, justice, equality, regulating industry, war and democracy, have been studied for centuries.
Just “imagining” justice, equality, good health and ecological sustainability isn’t going to do much good. Each of these concepts is the result of extremely complex social arrangements interacting with historically determined cultural norms that are largely specific to each country. You can’t just “imagine” all that.
Justice means fairness in relations between people. Therefore justice is a concept that comprises a multitude of sub-justices, i.e. as many as there are relations between people. So there is fairness between the sexes, fairness between borrower and lender, fairness between parents and children, fairness between bosses and workers, fairness between media and readers, and so forth. Each of these sub-justices depend on the current economic and social structure. In the gig economy there is no right to go on strike as there is, or was, when huge factories were the norm. Now that homosexual relationships are becoming institutionalized, countless issues involving family law must be rehashed.
Besides, many of these issues is interwoven with each other. Some of them depend purely on changing people’s attitude or altering social structures. But others are largely of a technical nature and cannot be simply brushed aside as the fault of reactionary ideology.
The subtitle of your essay is “The preservation of capitalism”.
You seem to imply that all these ills that you deplore are the consequence of capitalism. Well, some are and some aren’t.
Yeah, capitalism sucks.
But what do you want to put in its place? There is no off-the-shelf model that we can simply install.
Up to now the best solution on offer is the Social Democratic welfare state as developed in northwestern Europe, but it is by no means flawless. There is still homelessness in Sweden, for example. And things haven’t improved among other things because Sweden is importing homeless people from Africa and the Middle East. So even an ideal solution would work only in part because the obligation of solidarity toward outsiders requires assuming burdens of foreign societies that are rife with oppression, ignorance, superstition and poverty.
Moreover many of the reforms you want to introduce are of dubious value. I haven’t read anything about universal basic income yet, but it’s a new and untried idea and there is no guarantee that it will improve matters much.
Ending sweatshop labor is only practicable if the sweatshop workers are productive enough. If working improvements cost too much, ending sweatshop labor would simply mean making workers unemployed. Improving working conditions involves changing many aspects of work, not all of which are equally important. So, like many other things you mention, “ending sweatshop labor” is just an empty phrase until you specify the various working conditions and set standards for each of them.
Addressing overpopulation means telling Africans to have fewer babies. How are you going to do that? Recolonize Africa?
Vibrant independent media systems are of course wonderful things, but I find that independent media outlets like Common Dreams for example have their own set of biases and censorship that can be just as pernicious as those of the MSM. And sometimes they have exactly the same biases as the MSM.
“Shifting our focus from treatment of disease to eliminating the causes of disease” is just an empty phrase until you populate it with actual epidemiological studies of malaria, chronic obstructive lung disease and so forth.
Consequently your shopping list of social ills is useful at best as a guide to further research.


#9

cool story bro


#10

How about a different game?

We can’t maintain capitalism . . . .

(Hint: the answer is “if we wish to survive.”)