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I'm eagerly awaiting the forthcoming geek poet who'll write our Howl. Who saw the best minds of our generation destroyed by startups... their skulls bashed open by a sphinx of capital... that moloch "whose mind is pure machinery... whose soul is electricity and banks!"

http://genius.com/Allen-ginsberg-howl-annotated/

Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch in whom I dream Angels! Crazy in Moloch! Cocksucker in Moloch! Lacklove and manless in Moloch! Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom I am a consciousness without a body! Moloch who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy! Moloch whom I abandon! Wake up in Moloch! Light streaming out of the sky! Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisible suburbs! skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic industries! spectral nations! invincible mad houses granite cocks! monstrous bombs! They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pavements, trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to Heaven which exists and is everywhere about us! Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies! gone down the American river! Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions! the whole boatload of sensitive bullshit!





Thanks. I'm a few paragraphs in. Yeah, the poem is powerful because Moloch is not only a stereotyped evil other. ("The capitalists.") We are Moloch. "Moloch whose name is the Mind!" Speaking personally and unprofessionally, I feel a grand loss of innocence from the time when as a dorky kid when I wrote Emacs Lisp macros for fun. I don't blame others, I don't blame "capitalism," I don't blame teh evil bankers. I simply want money so that I won't need money so that I'll be "free," just like everyone wants this. I do appreciate what David has been saying for years.


Capitalism is certainly worth blaming, at least for offering a lens to justify the deterioration of the global middle class.

Essentially, the wealthy have come around to the idea as seeing the poor and middle classes and resources to be exploited, like a coal mine, by offloading their tax burdens onto them. The more people chafe under low pay and high taxes, the more easily they can be tricked into thinking the social support system is unsustainable and should be dismantled before people are taxed to death.

People who created this mindset and let it fester know who they are. The rich who benefit stay silent. That's why this generation of CEOs who may be highly vocal about social issues tend to be conspicuously quiet about tax policy. For every Warren Buffett, there are a dozen post-exit founders who are happy to leave their capital gains tax rate where it is.


> Essentially, the wealthy have come around to the idea as seeing the poor and middle classes and resources to be exploited, like a coal mine, by offloading their tax burdens onto them.

"Come around to"? That's the central essence of capitalism, for which it was criticized by the socialists who put the name "capitalism" on it in the 19th century.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the term "capitalism" originally coined as a synonym for "wealth" (and particularly conspicuous wealth)? The novelist who coined it was writing a satire, but its origin doesn't strike me as implying an intrinsic value judgment.


> Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the term "capitalism" originally coined as a synonym for "wealth" (and particularly conspicuous wealth)?

I was referring to the socialist critics of the dominant system in the developed world of the 19th Century who introduced and popularized the use of "capitalism" it as a label for an economic system (who, seem to be first users of the term, though that's somewhat tangential to the main point I was making.)

> The novelist who coined it was writing a satire, but its origin doesn't strike me as implying an intrinsic value judgment.

Presumably, you are referring to W.M. Thackeray's use in The Newcomes in 1854, which is counted on Wikipedia, with reference to the OED, as the first known use of the word in English; this postdates the early use of "capitalisme" in French to refer to an economic system, and even known earlier uses in English of "capitalism" to refer to an economic system [1]. Thackeray's use is somewhat oblique, and there seems to be some discussion among people who care about these things whether it was about wealth per se or some kind of attitude or orientation toward wealth. But, in any case, his use isn't the first (even if it may have been original, not directly following the others) and is a tangent from the use of the term to refer to an economic system.

[1] e.g., W. B. Greene, Equality, 1849. https://books.google.com/books?id=yCQ3AQAAMAAJ&q=capitalism#...


I think that as tech people, we often give up working on meaningful products for money, when in fact, that's exactly why we're not getting money. It's risk aversion repackaged as prioritizing money.

The people writing Emacs Lisp macros are also working on complex Common Lisp or OCaml applications in very high end jobs, and making far more money than the people who are playing these "disrupting" games. Most people in startups work a few years for stock that ends up being worthless when the company goes under, and programmers tend to get hit the worst with this because they give all the short-term-profit to glorified secretaries on the business side of the business.


Hmm.. Got any proof of that? I always thought that the programmers making the most money were those working in finance, or those working for Google/Facebook/Twitter/*.


Finance or Google/Facebook/Twitter/* are exactly not "disruptors". Do I need to go find evidence for what we agree on?


Jeff Hammerbacher: ‘The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads… That sucks.’




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