From: christina long (info_at_citrona.net)
Date: 2004-01-17 18:48:43
>>i think that's much more a problem, if you make
>>and market music as a 1-day product, you will also have your
>>audience/customers acting like it's a cheap throw-away article
That's how I've felt as well. Especially now that not only distribution but production, because of technology, has created such an abundance. I think this over abundance that technology has brought along with many other factors as turned such a beautiful past time into a high speed disposal razor factory. Regardless, I'm still the type who constantly pulls out the same records or CD's over and over regardless of how large my selection is or how much hype is surrounding the music. An old song can still be so new......
Here's a wonderful essay written by Howard Scott in reference to technology and it's effect on the price system.....Seems to me he's had a good point for many many years now....
Harpers magazine, January 1933
The Northwest Technocrat, 4th quarter 1990, No. 321
A 1990 condensation of an article that appeared in the January 1933
issue of Harpers magazine and prepared under the direction of Howard
Scott, Continental Director-in-Chief of Technocracy Inc.
"The reason why America finds herself in her present agony is because
for many years she has been ignoring physical laws which are fundamental
to her operation. Her present troubles are only another warning that the
final day of reckoning is at hand. To say it one way, the cause of our
troubles lies in the fact that during these years, instead of thinking
of our well-being and of the operation of our country in terms of
energy, we have thought of it in terms of something purchasable with
dollars. If we are to understand the problem at all we have to grapple
with this question of energy; upon it everything else rests.
"It is the fact that all forms of energy may be measured in units of
ergs, joules, or calories that is of the utmost importance. The solution
of the social problems of our time depends upon the recognition of this
fact. A dollar may be worth -- in buying power -- so much today and more
or less tomorrow, but a unit of work or heat is the same in 1900, 1929,
1933, or the year 2000. In a Price System, wealth is produced only by
the creation of debt. A man is wealthy only when he is a creditor. If
his wealth consists of bonds, stocks, mortgages, notes, equities, and so
forth, he is merely the owner of a collection of promises to pay. Even
currency is in this category, for you will find on the face of a dollar
bill the words 'payable to the bearer on demand' -- with no questions
asked as to how he happened to be the bearer.
"The units in which these forms of debt appear -- be they stocks, bonds
or currency -- are units of value. Value cannot be measured; it has no
metrical equivalent. A pound of coal is always a pound of coal, but the
weight of a dollar's worth of coal is seldom twice the same.
"In the past, man was the chief engine and -- except for his draft
animals and a few water wheels and windmills -- the only engine. By
contrast, the largest single modern turbine has a capacity of 300,000
horsepower, or 3 million times the output of a human being on an eight
hour basis. But since that turbine runs twenty-four hours a day, its
total output is 9 million times that of one man. In other words, the
output of four of these turbines is equal to the energy output of all
the adult workers of the United States....A point was reached where
technical improvements began to displace men....At the point where the
rate of replacement of men by machines exceeded the expansion of the
industry, a maximum of employment in the industry was reached and
thereafter declined....And as the machines move forward, men with their
trades and skills are left behind.
"Under our present Price System, we manufacture goods not to use but to
sell -- and make a profit; and profit is a debt claim. When the great
period of American industrial expansion began we had a huge frontier,
the west was undeveloped, we could make use of a great increase in
population. The opportunity for this expansion was so great that for a
period of years we could make any number of mistakes and still escape
the consequences. Then, little by little, a horror began to appear. So
swift was the advance of technology that machines and plants began to go
out of date before we had got to a point where the debt incurred to buy
them might be paid....To make a profit we borrowed, to pay what we
borrowed we borrowed more, twice; we then borrowed all over again.
"A careful examination of the debt figures and the production figures of
this country (and these figures have been repeatedly checked and cannot
be brushed aside) reveals the appalling fact that for years our debts
have been increasing at a rate faster than production and both of them
faster then the rate of population growth!
"Modern industry is operated under the Price System, and to be
successful it must do one thing: it must make a profit and pay a return
on the money invested. Forgetting all other considerations for a moment,
the amount of profit depends on the quantity of goods that can be sold.
That is the reason for the incessant cry for trade expansion abroad and
at home. On the other hand, inside his plant the producer has found that
his profit increases if he cuts the cost of production, and that the
surest way to do this is by producing on a large scale by means as
automatic as possible--in other words with machines. A producer does not
install machines in order to give his employees more leisure; he uses
machines because they multiply, many times over, the output of which his
employees were capable and at a faster and much cheaper rate. It is only
lately that people have observed that the producer is putting out a most
sinister profitless product -- unemployment....
"It happens that industrial investment is made for the most part by a
very small fraction of our population, and the return on that investment
must be put somewhere. It has been argued that this interest and
dividend return goes into circulaion again, but this is exactly what
does not happen. The small investing fraction of our population cannot
possibly spend all their interest and dividends, and the result is that
this return must be reinvested in production. There is nothing else to
do with it.
"Why is it that with all the available sources of energy in America the
Price System will not work? The reason is that the Price System demands
that the price of labor be high enough to buy the goods produced. The
use of technology (in) industry sets three things in conflict with the
The mechanics of placing purchasing power in the hands of the consumer
is the exchange of money for the consumer's time (or labor) and
technology is reducing the total amount of time required.
The working of the Price System has forced the manufacturer to reduce
the total number employed rather than to distribute the amount of time
required among the total number of available workers. Technology has now
advanced to a point where it has substituted extraneous energy for man-
hours on an equal basis and where the distribution of human labor
Through increased investment in machines -- made necessary by the
increasing rate at which they go out of date -- the manufacturer is
forced to reduce the proportion of his costs which go to labor. This
again inexorably worked against the increase of wages and the
distribution of time.
"In other words, a Price System demands man-power (with a wage) if it is
to succeed, and man-power for production steadily becomes more and more
a thing of the past as the kilowatt-hour takes its place....
"On a population basis this country has a capacity of 3,600,000
horse-power [1990 figure is 7,383,000]. But the country is not run on
such a basis. Technology has stepped this capacity up to a billion
horse-power [1990 figure is 33,000,000,000], and it is this tremendous
power let loose which is battering the Price System to pieces. Yet we
cannot voluntarily cease the use of this energy, for we have now gone so
far that our very lives depend upon it....Seven percent of the available
energy is used in the provision of food. The other 93 percent goes to
keep our society going. A close calculation estimates that if we shut
off our coal, oil, electric and water power, a large percentage of us
would be dead in twenty days....So highly integrated a mechanism has our
country become with its very life dependent upon the smooth and
continuous operation of our electricity, steam and water power, our
coal, oil and gas that the blunderings of an Insull, the clumsy
smashings of bankers are little short of murderous. A chemist in the
laboratory of an oil company can examine the sample of a certain grade
of gasoline and tell you in figures that will never change exactly the
maximum number of heat units that can be extracted from that grade. He
can measure exactly, and that exact measurement is absolutely necessary
in running our system. But can the sales manager in the office next to
the laboratory tell you the exact price of gas next month, next year, or
ten years hence? It is absolutely impossible. We are playing with
dynamite when we attempt to harness the system to price.
"The supreme fault of the banker is not that his aims are sordid or that
his appetite is rapacious. The trouble is that he is hopelessly out of
"We have heard a good deal in the past...about underconsumption, but it
has occurred to but few people that it isn't what a people produce that
proves their wealth, it is what they consume. Wealth is the conversion
of available energy into use forms, be it potatoes, shoes, or electric
light. The process of being wealthy consists in using up -- not wasting
-- the products which, through the use of energy, we are able to make.
The United States is the most nearly self-sufficient geographical and
industrial unit on the face of the earth.
(Figures available in 1933: We have 50% of the coal reserves of the
world and 40% of the iron ore. We produce and consume more than 69% of
the world's oil. We are the greatest producer and consumer of natural
gas -- 85% of the world's total. We occupy 3,400,000 square miles of
land area -- have 6.2% of world population and produce approximately 50%
of the world's energy.)
"To say it another way, our North American social structure involves a
greater expenditure of energy per capita per day than any other social
mechanism of the past or present. There are no physical factors in
existence which would prevent the efficient operation of this Continent
on an energy basis. The only thing that does prevent it is our devotion
to a shibbolith -- PRICE; and it remains to be seen whether we shall pay
for our devotion with our lives.
"A new system based upon a recognition and an understanding of our
available energy must be devised. That is the problem before the people.
It can be done. Are we going to set about it before it is too late?"