Economy, debt, inequality, austerity: November 6
Story “The Ones Who WalkAway From Omelas”
– cannot have true joy without (someone) suffering?
– Society: cannot be happy without unhappy (homeless?)
– The “lumpen” turned into a human
– Allegory for factory farming
Who an what is in our broom closet?
– Does the broom closet also serve as a warning?
Tense, Event, Ethical Substance
– The ways in which these 3 things interact tells us about how we distribute life and death
– Tense: all the things in our broom closet are there because of how we understand tense. We
don't care about the “right now” - we are not engaged with it. We are engaged with the “future
anterior” in which everything will have been 'worth it'.At some point it will have all made
sense and been worth it.
– Event: There isn't an event in the story of Omelas. No Tsunami, no genocide, no 9/11, just what
she calls “The Ordinary Chronic and Cruddy Dispersal of Suffering” - broom closets are
this. No one thing we can organize our ethics around, it happened for these and these reasons
and now the event is over. This is not the case. Ordinary, chronic, and cruddy. “We'll care if you
can be spectacular for us, if there's an event”. We usually pay attention to the big stuff.
Dispersed suffering, happening all the time and we are aware of it. “Vital organ of our own
happiness” - girl in the broom closet's misery. No saying, “I feel sorry for her”, she is a vital
organ in you, liberal empathy does not have a place, your lives are too entangled. Our happiness
is made up of that ordinary chronic and cruddy suffering. Two Options: One, you either re-
organize society so that people come out of the broom closet but compromise some things that
make you happy. OR, you just say, out loud, “my happiness is more important than that person's
suffering”. Not walking away from Omelas, but a kind of accountability. Not in the future, as it
will have been ok, but right now, its ok with me.
– Ethical Substance: Some people are ethical, and some are the substance of our ethics.
Dopefiends or kid or animals cant be ethical, but they make us ethical because we care about
– David Graeber
– “Surely one has to pay one's debts!” (What are the assumptions here?)
– Violence and debt
– First World VS Third World debt
– We conflate the economic and the moral (one must pay debt)
– Assumptions in the statement: the idea of equality, it assumes the lender and the debter are
equal. It also assumes that we always pay out debts. Risk: no guarantee you'll be paid back.
Most of the debts we have in our lives we will never be able to repay. Do we repay our parents?
In a way, socially we do. We do what they did (become parents) heteronormativity, marriage, moral idea of debt.
– Assumption of equality: the way that most of the countries now came to be so deeply in debt
and subject to austerity programs, it began in the 1970s. Oil crisis, because of the fact that there
was not enough supply of oil – countries that had oil invested money in western banks. Western
banks are not flushed with money, what are they going to do with it? They went to third world
dictators and politicians and gave money away (like free money no big deal). They took it,
invested it in Swiss banks. 1980S Regan era, the US economic policy changes and they tighten