Re: SciFi&Eco: Back to the Future?

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Mon Jan 15 2001 - 13:49:37 MST

On Mon, Jan 15, 2001 at 10:45:22AM -0500, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> The authors were writing about specifically different problems. Orwell
> was certainly warning about the problems of socialist tyranny,
> propaganda, and mind control, while Huxley was warning about the tyranny
> imposed by the stratification of a consumerist society along the lines
> of Classist Britain, totally ignoring the potential for automation
> eliminating the need for there to be Beta, Delta, Gamma or Epsiolon
> classes.

On the contrary: he was acutely aware of it. Why do you think they kept
the gammas and epsilons?

If automation eliminates the need for 90% of workers[*], then a utilitarian
critic of society will ask "what use are the unemployed 90%?"

And from that question, it's a short step to advocating eugenic solutions
like, er, sterilization or [insert fave policies of the guy with the

-- Charlie

[*] Note that this isn't the same as eliminating the need for 90% of the
    work -- workers can be redeployed and retrained, most of the time. The
    question is, what do you do when 90% of your population _can't_ be
    retrained to do something useful?

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