Re: [acid-jazz] The future of music consumption?

From: christina long (
Date: 2004-01-17 18:48:43

  • Next message: t-bird: "4 points (Re: [acid-jazz] The future of music consumption?)"

    >>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....

    Published in:
    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
    system itself:

    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
    becomes impossible.
    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?"

    - Christina