Our friend Anti-Gnostic, a man so hard he shaves with a halberd, left an interesting comment at another forum:
What we are moving toward is neo-feudalism. A large, mercantile group will own an area, and you will rent everything from them. A consortium of Bloombergs will buy Manhattan Island. Same with Silicon Valley, Napa Valley, Malibu. Slum areas will be bulldozed and anybody who can’t plunk down $500K will have to leave. There will be no prisons–criminals and schizophrenic vagrants will be escorted out the gate.
Upon reflection, I think this is a remarkably plausible speculation. I hadn’t considered the notion of pooled consortiums, though the expansion of sometimes already quite expansive corporate campuses has been quietly gnawing for a while. And I think AG has articulated exactly why. Feudalism–it’s going back to the future.
I’ve long wondered exactly how those on the left who think rather than merely obey planned to manage their conflicting impetuses: diversity and “good schools.” Under the advisement of their honest feet, we know they understand the fundamental tension between the two. And since diversity now enjoys a seemingly perpetual momentum, one would think the more canny of the prole-haters would begin setting about the business of erecting those good schools. And this will be how.
Campuses of the large multinationals will simply expand to incorporate residential areas reserved for loyal and productive Neo-serfs. There will be high walls and armed security. Well-lit streets, children’s playgrounds, and soccer fields. There will be a full range of retail outlets, grocery stores, theaters, and assorted pleasant diversions. And if the dollar continues to be contemptuously debased, there will be salaries issued in scrip to pay for it all. What there will not be is unwelcome incursions from those who dwell in the ever-expanding archipelago of American favelas.
There will be corporate-provided daycare (mothers must work!) and yes, there will be good schools. Far better schools than the Thunderdome publics will be at diversity’s culmination. Though of course, these sprawling corporate redoubts will feature their own diversity. There will be an ample representation from all corners. As much a Star Wars cantina as can be assembled on Earth. Though unlike the yowling mobs outside the gates, these will all have been rigorously pre-selected to filter the violent and indolent. Further, all will understand with and without being told, that behavior running counter to “corporate values” forfeits the entire package. After all, there will be about 8 billion more applicants when your position is vacated.
And perhaps what’s most galling is that the program will work. Diversity among a cohort of screened, cowed, and relatively high intelligence cube farmers will probably result in nothing more malign than standard nepotism among supervisors. Though even this can smoothed out by HR bean counters. Workers and their families will live in an artificial diversity bubble of prosperity and security. And best of all? Liberals within can self-congratulate on their virtue and ecumenical attitude toward others–unlike those fetid racists having their teeth kicked in outside the walls. As Stalin himself once observed *to look upon my well-guarded home, to wallow in carefully crafted diversity, to laugh at those frightened for their children, and then to go to bed…there is nothing sweeter in the world.
Of course corporations aren’t going to provide the perks of safety and diversity for free. Salaries will be very low because viable employment and secure lodging options will be very lower. Feudal lords used to take half a serf’s production. That’s probably going to be an aspirational figure for future labor units. Inhabitants can forget about nice cars, expensive trinkets, and family vacations. When diversity and good schools are the only things that matter, don’t complain when they’re the only things you get.
And by the sheerest coincidence AG n’ me aren’t the only ones contemplating this future. Google has some ideas on corporate cities. As it happens Google also has some ideas on what constitutes diversity: lots of Asians. And something tells me that all of those earnest diversity lovers that come to reside in a Google City won’t mind that in the least.
*Or maybe the actual Stalin quote was this: To choose one’s victims, to prepare one’s plans minutely, to slake an implacable vengeance, and then go to bed…there is nothing sweeter in the world.