More problems of meta.

Sunday, 22 March, Year 7 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

We've recently looked at how meta ruined political representation, and with it any possibility of sane political arrangements for the "genre savvy" population. It doesn't, unfortunately, stop there.

Take for instance economics. Let's imagine that in the village of Sania, there exists some demand for icecream parlours. Icecream is a product of human labor and human industryi, and as such through labour and industry it will be provided, and in time consumed, and there's that, the closed classical cycle of icecream.

Suppose now bonbons are introduced, and so a part of the demand for icecream back when icecream was the only game in town moves on to bonbons. What happens to the icecream industry ? Well, on one hand, some icecream parlours finding no longer a market for their products, will have to close shop. Meanwhile, some icecream workers, finding a new and exciting market for their skills, will switch profession.

Which parlours will close shop ? The shittier ones. Which workers will switch profession ? Well, for a minority, the better ones, who have mastered the art of icecreaming and being thoroughly bored with it, are looking for a new challenge. For a majority, the shittier ones, those for whom being an icecream worker was a pinnacle of achievement in their otherwise dull, pointless lives, who aren't either willing or able to give it up, have no other alternatives or available resources, they will swarm upon the fledging industry. Soon enough the situation will have been balanced : about the same proportional mix of good and bad workers in bonbons as in icecream, and a number of shops roughly equal for each to the relative demand. And that's that, "sweets" has broadened.

Meanwhile, in the village of Metania, there also exists some demand for icecream parlours, though you couldn't tell it from asking the Metanians themselves : they're too savvy to not see through your ploy and answer accordingly! Accordingly to what ? Accordingly to anything but your question, what, you think them suckers ?! Don't think them suckers, yo, for they are savvy. Have you seen the M-E-T-A-N-I-A sign up on the hill ? *eyeroll*

Nevertheless, the village of Metania also has some icecream parlours, where a number of people who are emphatically NOT icecream workers don't really work. What do I mean ? I have no idea, ask them. On one hand, if you ask them why are there fly guts in the icecream recipe they will tell you that they don't know, they only work there. On the other hand, if you ask them how do they enjoy life as an icecream worker they will tell you that they're actually a writer/actor/singer/songwriter or newswoman, and only there waiting for their big break while they put themselves through college. This college, an item that apparently didn't exist in Sania in the same sense it exists here - back then it was a specialist shop like the icecream parlours themselves, serving a particular need whenever needed, whereas here they seem to serve no particular need (just like the icecream parlours selling iced fly guts) but ubiquitously so.

What happens should the governmentii lower the icecream allocation for the population (which are not only permissible, but outright obligatory ?) Why, first and foremost, no shops will close, and definitely no workers will move on. This is a given, it will be in there from the very beginning in the introductory speech (everything in Metania starts with a speech, and definitely ends the same way - which neatly mirrors the metanian tendency for nothing to perceptibly ever start or end).

So then what will happen ? Oh, well, "an entrepreneur" will buy all the extant shops (the shitty ones because they were going out of business anyway, the good ones through "regulation" making it impossible for a good shop to continue independent of the "entrepreneurial" conglomerate), calculate the new per-shop available spending, and align the per-shop icecream production to the new value. If there were a hundred shops doing on average a hundred each and the measure takes it down to 7`000 total, then the hundred shops will do seventy each and that's that.

The workers of course will maintain the same salariesiii and generally... nothing will have changed. The headcount is still the same headcount it was before, on paper - in reality none of the people working there work there (ask them) ; the icecream is still the same icecream it was before (try it sometime), and all this with a 30% nominal reduction of something that didn't exist, without any visible change on the other side of the balance book of that same something that still doesn't exist - exactly as you'd expect of things that don't actually exist.iv

As amply discussed in that much older article, the costs of genre savvy come straight out of the quality of living. Actual people living their lives would care about hits to their quality of living first and foremost, but imaginary entities living imagined roles on an imaginary stage in an imaginary play emphatically do not - what difference does it make to the actor if the feast his role visits is catered with rubber chicken ? Not like he eats it anyway. Not like he eats it. Another eats it. Another. Feed it to another, not me. Julia!

As oft observed here, the insanity of "universal literacy" is a contributing factor to the problem in its current manifestationv, but imagining anything may be resolved by shooting that messenger is not unlike keeping the flood at bay through judiciously choosing the wallpaper. So what is the solution then ?

There isn't a solution. There can't be a solution. People too "smart" for their breeches will ruin themselves and everything they can touch, being too smart by half is still the hardest failure mode to guard against, there just... isn't a solution.


  1. In the classical sense, cognate with industriousness ; not in the nonsensical sense that gave Ford-ness, and even less in the post-nonsensical sense that gave Apple-ness. Neither the assembly line nor the vacuous "rebranding" of products made by other people as "your own", like so many silly 90s preteens replacing strings in MS-DOS programs have fuckall to do with human industry. []
  2. What is that ? I have no idea, ask them. Essentially, someplace they don't really work while waiting for a spot to open in "industry", I think. []
  3. How ? Through not having been paid anything at all in the first place, but that's a different discussion. []
  4. And this isn't the only problem meta-existance brings. See tin women for another. []
  5. How did you think Athens failed ? []
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