COMMON RUIN

“Ars longa, vita brevis”

At the Year’s End

What can we expect in 2014?

What can we expect of 2014?

2013 proved to be an extraordinary year in my personal life. Indeed, I never would have predicted that my life could change in so profound a way, let alone in so short a span of time. I am not one to celebrate, as it were, the ‘ringing in’ of a new year, but, in appreciation of the events that occurred, and in anticipation of what may transpire in the coming year, I will be making an exception tonight.

This is not the occasion to detail precisely how my life has changed—I suspect most of the individuals who follow this blog are generally more interested in my socio-economic analysis as it is. I shall, however, mention one of the negative developments of 2013.

Those who know me best know that my sole ambition since I was 16 years of age has been to become a professor in the humanities. Although the specific discipline I wished to specialize in frequently changed (originating in history and ending in philosophy), my commitment to a profession in the academy was resolute. But, alas, the neoliberal assault on higher education,[1] operating in conjunction with the economic crisis, has rendered that dream impracticable. The horror stories my many adjunct professors have relayed to me over the years have succeeded in causing me to question the very rationality of maintaining an aspiration for a career in education.[2] The conclusion I have reached is that, unfortunately, it is not a sensible goal to harbor any longer. Were I to hypothetically continue to pursue my treasured objective of becoming a professor, there would be no guarantee of employment (at least in a bearable location) after graduation; and even if I were somehow able to procure such work, the prospect of tenure for my generation of educators is highly unlikely. My journey in the liberal arts has been a most rewarding experience nevertheless, and I do not regret a moment I spent in the field.

Forever gone is the notion of attaining self-realization in work. As is the case for countless others, capitalism has rendered that an impossibility. Instead I will spend the remainder of my working years joylessly laboring in the one industry individuals can still obtain gainful employment: health care. I hope to be able to eventually return to school in order to complete my degree in philosophy, so I can at least publish in academic journals and be involved in discussions which interest me. Time will tell whether such a course of action will prove feasible, however.

Before closing this post, I would like to offer five brief speculations regarding the manner by which the class struggle will unfold in 2014.

1.) The political elite in North America and the European Union will remain steadfast in their determination to force the proletariat to bear the costs of the economic crisis via various programs of austerity. A few more populist movements may spontaneously emerge in reaction to them, only to be suppressed by the authorities.

2.) Fascistic organizations will continue to expand in southern and eastern Europe due to the left’s inability to successfully organize working people along class lines.

3.) The housing and stock markets will, for the most part, sustain their upward trajectory until the mid-summer months, when demand evaporates as a result of the economy failing to recover for the preponderance of society.

4.) The bourgeois state apparatuses of the West will begin to more directly emulate China’s “social management” techniques.

5.) A combination of increased supply of labor and decreased demand in the tech industry will be the impetus behind a slight exodus of manpower and capital from Silicon Valley.

Let us hope these events do not come to pass (excluding #5) and we rather witness a substantive increase in class consciousness.

NOTES:
[1] Eloquently described in David Blacker’s latest book, The Falling Rate of Learning and the Neoliberal Endgame (Alresford: Zero Books, 2013).
[2] An amusing video detailing the atrocious job prospects for aspiring academicians can be viewed at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=obTNwPJvOI8

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  1. Pingback: Another Summer Passes | COMMON RUIN

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