High as shit, pissed at the world, ready to die, and early to work. All for the money. This can describe a large majority of the population of Hoodsnark. It exists as far as one person can see. Can see the production of goods that make him strive to live. Living for acquiring.
Countries arrive at the stationary state, a Adam Smith argued, when their ‘laws and institutions’ degenerate to the point that elite rent-seeking dominates the economic and political process. I have tried to suggest that this is the case in important parts of the Western world today. Public debt — stated and implicit — has become a way for the older generation to live at the expense of the young and the unborn. Regulation has become dysfunctional to the point of increasing the fragility of the system. Lawyers, who can be revolutionaries in a dynamic society, become parasites in a stationary one. And civil society withers into a mere no man’s land between corporate interests and big government. Taken together, these are the things I refer to as the Great Degeneration.
Niall Ferguson, The Great Degeneration
Mr. Ferguson’s view would not be the pervasive perception of the inhabitants of Hoodsnark. It would be the actual perception that only Reginald B. Barlingstonworth, the dog lady (land-lady), and the like would take advantage of; half knowing (can see that they are dealing in the acquisition of money, thinking of course that money is happiness) and half unknowing (doesn’t think past the acquisition of money to the destruction of turning Hoodsnark and its inhabitants into money). Dealing in consuming.
Manni’s voice is that of a prophet, mostly ignored. His apocalyptic vision of the future is seen as absurd, even though Manni is pretty sure that the destruction of Hoodsnark is imminent.
Reginald can make a speech much like our President can:
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
…There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own…So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon.
President Barack Obama (his second inaugural address, I think)
- Has ‘we the people’ become The Government?
- What happened to civil society? Did we do anything?
- Huge government projects? Where? A long time ago. No more, unless you count the war on terror as a government project. (It sure has kept companies like Halliburton and Schlumberger busy. That war is waged in the name of my safety… okay…. right…
- The dangers of excessive regulation and litigation were ignored. NAFTA and the destruction of the middle class. The wool has been settling over eyes since forever.
- Be content with Super Stars, Naked Ladies, Footballers, dreams (and I do mean ethereal, non-existent chances) of large sums of money, buy happiness, watch sitcoms/commercials (these will tell you how to be happy).
- Don’t mind the man behind the curtain. Don’t see the money changers in the temple. Forget.
- Run the maze. Never stand up. Your only hope is the Government. Don’t look elsewhere.
Everything in Hoodsnark is made to consume. The act of consuming has become the source of happiness. Shit! Hoodsnark is Hell. And Reginald and his buddies are incredibly happy!