In the last entry I explored the exploitative heart of our current world-system. I showed how the underbelly of capitalism is so far removed from the ordinary experiences of average citizens in developed nations that aspects of life in some less developed nations can look downright post-apocalyptic. But I also argued that these seeming disruptions or interruptions of capitalism are the ordinary functioning of the system. In so doing, I was trying to represent real or “developing-world” problems both abroad and even inside the heartland of America. In this entry, I want to expose the dystopian aspects of the first world. I want to show the end product of all that global effort and demonstrate that even this putative utopia has fissures, which expose unsustainable facets of the current world-order. In particular, in this post I want to showcase some “First-World-Problems” or micro-dystopias and explore their amplification or extrapolations.
[i] It is often said that were the developing world willing to adopt a more laissez faire economic policy it would in short order achieve the quality of life associated with the bourgeois first-world. Restated, the embrace of global capitalism by less developed countries is supposed to provide access to the “American dream” and not merely in terms of Levi jeans and iPhones but resulting in a fundamentally better lifestyle.[ii] Basically, free markets are supposed to equate with freedom and “the good life.” But is that really true? Is the First-World lifestyle really all that? If we could get rid of the world’s poorest slums and produce a lifestyle equivalent to that in the metropol middle class would we all be living in paradise?Proponents of Neoliberalism have described access to free markets and free trade as a kind of global panacea.