Re: Brilliant article...
Let's think historically, since the Enlightenment and Hammurabi have eased the way for us here.
The productive forces of human society are enormous and constantly growing, and one of the things they are doing is connect us all up so we know what's happening to everything everywhere, as in automatic inventory, just-in-time production and delivery etc. We also know who's where and doing what.
Now, the last time the productive forces of humanity took a huge leap forward in world-changing historical terms was when the merchants and bankers turned themselves into manufacturers, and the city took over from the land. Aka the origin of capitalism. This took centuries, but gradually, from the Reformation around 1500 to the French Revolution around 1800 via the English Revolution of around 1650, feudalism as a mode of production and fundamental form of social organization was ejected, violently, and replaced by capitalism. This happened because the productive forces were tied down and being strangled. Workers under feudalism weren't free but tied to the land as serfs, to guilds as apprentices and journeymen, and to lords and masters as servants, and the same went for the means of production. Capital couldn't be bought or sold or moved at will, but was locked into traditional and inefficient niches. The battle for freedom for capital and labour freed them up, and with them the productive forces.
This is happening today only now it is capitalism that is tying everything down and holding everything back in the name of private ownership of the forces of production and the profit this must generate. We can now produce everything we need to feed, clothe, house, educate and thrill everybody. We have the physical means in the machines, the agricultural capability, and above all the science and technology to manage, develop and plan worldwide deployment of production and the requisite skills. However...
The feudal constraints on business, movement, thought, etc are now parallelled by capitalist constraints on the free exchange of ideas or of scientific and technological discoveries, in the form of copyright and patents, and on a more and more bizarre insistence on holding back production to protect profits. Housing construction for instance only occurs when a) it doesn't threaten rent incomes, and b) it not only generates a surplus over labour and materials input, but a whopping great ten percent more in money terms that is pocketed by the owners of building companies to consume as they and only they see fit. Diamond-studded dog collars and all.
Not to mention the boosting of private profits by a) taxing workers' incomes to subsidize corporations (corporate welfare) and b) shovelling huge amounts of the surplus we produce into totally unproductive branches of industry (death and destruction in the military, and misery and ignorance in addiction, sex industries and gambling).
Anyway, the crises we are going through right now and the surrealistic abuse of advances in science and technology perpetrated by governments like the US, are all part and parcel of the age of transition between an outworn mode of production, capitalism, and a mode of production more appropriate for the productive forces of human society, socialism.
One of the things capitalism is doing in its death throes is throwing off a spectacular display of sound and fury and phosphorescing lights claiming that it is the end product of human history and that there is no alternative to its methods and traditions. This has been pretty successful at fooling "public opinion" that history doesn't exist and that socialism is an impossible illusion.
One of the things the present crisis is doing, however, is to show us precisely the historical incapacity of capitalism not only to solve the problems of humanity, but even to solve its own selfish problems of making stuff and selling it. And it also shows us to just what brutal and destructive lengths capitalism in government is prepared to go to preserve its monopoly of power and wealth. Perverting all its own proud revolutionary democratic principles from the struggle against feudalism (eg the US Constitution) in the process.
Capitalism in its current form is inseparable from oppression, war and the abuse of power. It's utopian madness to dream that there is a good capitalism underneath all the scabs and putrid sores. Just as it was utopian to dream of a good feudalism underneath the boils and gangrene of the Old Regime.
Think historically, and there are solutions.
Ignore history, and you'll be trapped in your own nightmare for ever.