Surreal comedy and the Culture

Well firstly I’d just like to link you to a surreal comedy show linking aerobics with learning English (specifically about what to say if you get mugged).

Now thats done I’d like to ramble a little about The Culture and Woolworths. Now theres a lovely bit in at least one of the Culture novels where Banks, via his characters, asserts that “Money implies poverty” or similar wordings and indeed I got that impression again yesterday.

Being in town and thirsty I proceed to stroll into Woolworths since I know they would sell me my beverage of choice, upon selecting a bottle of said drink I noticed that again they had a 2 for 1 sale on it, literally even though I wasn’t thirsty enough for two it made no economic sense for me to not take two. I may drink the other bottle today, maybe tomorrow, it’ll keep, but thats no the point, I didn’t need it then and really felt no need to deprive another of the available resource but since it cost me none of my shiny tokens I thought I may as well walk off with it (as it would cost me more later should I want it and not take straight away).

Without the driving motivation of shiny tokens I feel small wasteful situations like this could be avoided, although I’m going to be the first to admit that you can only ignore money when your culture is post scarcity I think, I’m not sure theres a better way of divvying up resources amongst the world then to make them trade tokens for what they want (including the hiring of other people for said tokens).

Still, in a few hundred or thousand years if we’re lucky our society (well, what started as our society and since grew in strange and unimaginable ways) will work out some crazy way of becoming closer to post-scarcity and we can hopefully start to throw off the shackles of money, I’ll never see it, and indeed I reckon my brain is too closely molded to the current model to get on with living in such a way, but I feel its worth pondering.

5 thoughts on “Surreal comedy and the Culture

  1. silent_wrong_me

    Interesting, but flawed thinking.
    In taking two you greated an opportunity to yourself for benefit, and saving of around 75p

    The opportunity cost of taking that potential saving was, the extra weight to carry which is negligable (no encumberance).

    As for depriving others, that would be only an extremely marginal thing, as they have plenty of stock and would continue to sell to all buyers. In fact, by the nature of two for one, if the demand was outstripping supply then they simply wouldn’t do it.

    What you are doing is stock pilling, which is a completely different concept. If at some point in the future we can get what we want when we want it (money or no) then yes, this will be pointless, but as the current situation is, you know that you might not have access to tasty liquids next time you want it so might as well get it while it’s availible (and free).

    Did that make any sense?


    1. mostlyfoo

      True it is stock-piling but I was aiming to extrapolate this onto a larger scale, or make it in some way representative of the problem.

      While I did make a saving for myself in the small-scale/short-term it just seemed so pointless to me when thinking about trying to organise things on a large-scale/long-term.

      And indeed I agree, currently its a fine plan due to money, supply etc. I was just hoping that one day sometime in the future we could all just be a bit more efficent about things.

      Am I being any clearer? Or just rambling still?

      1. silent_wrong_me

        Oh, rambling definately :-p but that doesn’t make it any the less important/true/clear

        A more efficient? I don’t know, it seems pretty clean for me, everything in the world is weighed up against a standard unit. Instead of remember 1 A = 3B or 1.5C or 16D or 0.5E, we simply say that 1A = £3, and 1B= £1 etc. It is remarkably efficient in it’s own way.

        It handles choice perfectly, those who want lots of A can choose lots of A, those who want B can have B and those who want a little of everything can have a little of everything… i think it’s wonderful personally.

        On a large scale… well we are human, and we are bad at seeing large scale… what is 1,000,000 fanta bottles? does it make any *sense* in the real world?

        Now i am rambling :-) but it’s all good natured rambling

        1. captain_carrot

          You appear to be trying to scale up the specific example Foo was using, instead of looking in more general terms. 1’000’000 Fanta bottles doesn’t really have any meaning in the real world, but applying what Foo was saying to other things, not just small bottled drinks, does.

          1. silent_wrong_me

            Maybe i am not getting it (not deliberately i promise)… i will try again to come at this from another angle…

            What Mr Foo is saying(?), is that by assingning ‘products’ a ‘cost’ there are situations created where it is more ‘economical’ for particular individuals to take more than is required and there by introducing inefficiency in to the ‘system’ that would without a ‘cost’, not be there.
            Hence hoping, that if a ‘cost’less system could be developed an increased efficiency could be achieved?

            Product: Something that is bought, including discreet items, services and intangibles

            Cost: Something taken away from an individual than could be used for something different (Opportunity cost being the more accurate measure)

            Economical: Less costly per product unit

            System: The economy and world as a whole, including all humans, animals and cost itself

            If above is true i shall think about my response :-)

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