An Argument for Joining the Cult of Productivity

Hustle harder, move faster, break more totally

Nobody believes in the future. We expect technology to replace or make us obsolete in the none-too-distant future – no matter your profession. The current global economic/societal framework will actively pursue this as a means of maximising profit for the donor cast. Very few people across the emergent generations, aside from those born to the donor cast, have been able to amass the resources necessary to hedge against displacement.

This has resulted in a cross-cultural anxiety manifesting as hustle culture. The Cult of Productivity encourages furious and ceaseless labour from all, pitting billions in an economic state-of-nature battle royale, from which few will emerge and at the cost of the personal health of non-donor caste combatants. The commodification of humanity forced into the framework of a hypercompetitive market operating under the unspoken rules of natural selection; rules that the donor caste need not concern themselves with. As long as there is a fresh supply of product-humans there is a fresh supply of capital. The central conclusion underpinning this institutionalised social Darwinism is that bodies equate to profit, therefore more bodies equate to greater profit.

The donor caste has an interest in preserving this system, the non-donor casts have an incentive to change it, but largely are only focussed on formless ideological arguments, shallow identity politics, and futile attempts at social ladder climbing. To force a change in the current system, it is necessary to attack the machinery of it. As the structural machinery defies hostility, direct assault is probabilistically prone to failure, resulting in resentment and despondence. As Mark Fisher noted, opposition is systematically subsumed, commodified, and sold back to the protesters as a matter of natural course. With few means of changing the framework directly for the benefit of future people, it becomes increasingly necessary to destroy the framework of the present.

Biofuel

Much as a car needs petrol, framework machinery requires fuel. As established, that fuel is product-humans who simultaneously fulfil the role of production and consumption. Having reached a current point at which the consumption does not create enough sustainable long-term benefit to the consumer, it is almost entirely focussed on short-term dopamine hits for lack of substantive future-building investments. As strict control on resource scarcity benefits the donor caste and those attached, the consumer mechanic of the product-human is rendered arbitrary. However, the product-human, operating in the established framework, and for lack of options, mechanistically instantiates the consumer function loop.

Increased productivity is the mantra of the era. In the wake of lockdown questions arise on the validity of rise-and-grinding, data emerges on the ironically self-consumptive health implications of hustle culture, even as the wine merchants of the grind and mealy-mouthed puppets raise trumpets and herald a new era of ever harder hustling and number pumping.   

Increases in productivity drives technological momentum, capability and demand follow people producing goods and services, and working on ways to optimise working environments, procedures, and technology. Growing productivity demand drives increasing amounts of labour time for ever more ambitious projects, in turn driving product output. Workliving produces a lack of consumers to continue the circulation of capital, funnelling all unstored money into workliving market subsections.  Foreshadowed by highstreet retail, increasing restrictions on time leads to the collapse of any industry that is not able to offer a sufficient return on investment to the product-humans. After a certain point, product-humans become increasingly inefficient from the standpoint of productivity cost-benefit analysis. Automation emerges, displacing product-humans.

Displaced product-humans reach critical mass forcing choices: state-provided basic living or social Darwinism by resource distribution. If displaced product-humans are still economically valuable enough to the donor caste or their subordinates, then product-humans are sustained on subsistence-capital donations. When product-human return on investment hits net zero, the product line is discontinued.

Embrace the grind: Weaponised hustle culture as the means to force change for future generations.

Abandon all notions of owning property. Pre-established wealth has already bought everything or is in the process of doing so and will continue to do this for the foreseeable future. Product-humans aren’t going to win that battle, nor should they attempt to martyr themselves, for there is no pragmatic gain. Embrace the rent, pay with existing resources. This poses no problem as product-humans busy hustling will not be consuming valueless short-term no-growth dopamine hits.

Pay off debt, avoid all subsequent debt. Ignore all pressures to get into debt, avoid credit cards. The debt-liberated are free from those severe psychological burdens. The debt-liberated avoid debt, disdainful of financial servitude and stress. The debt-liberated are flexible, unchained from unconditional servitude and free of overbearing worries. Not consumed by future payments, they have the space to think with greater clarity and to make definitive decisions, stepping away when things aren’t working for them.  The debt-liberated, free from that psychological weight and its parasitic purveyors, can redirect newfound time and energy toward their betterment.

Becoming debt-liberated allows for the accumulation of savings, and these should be horded. The donor caste and co. will complain bitterly, urging all product-humans to spend at all available opportunities and spend outside of their means, but the wise product-human will always ignore them. The donor caste will, after all, ignore their own exhortations, as they know the impracticality and self-defeating outcomes of this behaviour. Thus, all product-humans should mimic the donor caste dragons in wealth accumulation behaviours. The inevitable happens, things go wrong, a wise product-human will be cushioned by savings accrued through the grind, thus continuing to avoid debt and servitude, while continuing to hustle harder. Burn out is inevitable, but sans debt and with savings, product humans are able to simply step away, recharge, and re-enter the grind at their leisure. 

I need to get some vegetables. There’s a shop five minutes away. I also need to take a walk and exercise and make use of the sun. There’s a shop a mile away. If I buy vegetables at the shop a mile away I can combine my walk with my shop and kill two birds with one stone, maximising my efficiency.

In our paradigm we equate efficiency with productivity, productivity with value. The more productive you are, the more valuable as a person you are. I know, I know – you are not your job, not how much money you have in the bank, etc. etc. Everybody hears you, everybody nods, nobody acts in accordance. If nobody acts as such then nobody fundamentally agrees. Thus in real terms your value is tied to your efficiency/productivity metric. Ideology is nice, but numbers don’t lie.

We all live and breathe this efficiency–productivity paradigm. Work efficiently, play efficiently, eat efficiently, sleep efficiently, relax efficiently. The market for gadgets of every conceivable design to monitor every conceivable biometric on a day to day basis is thriving. Toss and turn less at night, have some dopamine. Fewer heartbeats means more efficient resource consumption per joule of energy – lets find a way to get that number down to zero. Somewhere there’s an Instagram post that reads: “OMG, I took my most efficient shit this morning! #livingmybestshitlife”. Now you know, ladies: your man isn’t premature, he’s efficient. All of this makes sense in the paradigm bubble. Step out of it and we are obsolete automata.

Children are one of the most inefficient, productivity-destroying resources on the planet. Lose sleep. Lose time. Lose leisure. Lose money. Most importantly: Lose productivity. Lost productivity = lost value. You don’t want to lose value, do you? Preoccupied with work and life it is easy to avoid the negative return on investment entailed by reproduction. Hook up, pair up, acquire other economic units at will, but the negative resource and time cost-effectiveness of proto-economic units, should automatically disqualify them. Even with the benefit of a cost-covering salary, there are more productive activities to pursue. You do not have the time nor the money to both raise children and hustle successfully. Choose to hustle.

Generations raised in the cult of productivity will never thrive. Parents, unable to devote time to child-rearing will unintentionally produce psychologically hampered offspring who may become unproductive members of society, reflecting poorly on you, thus there is no sufficient benefit to breeding. Offspring are, though innocent of malignancy, a mere drain on personal productivity and efficiency. Alternatively, childrearing is outsourced to boarding schools and nannies, which becomes its own form of hustle. Children operating in this paradigm may grow up emotionally stunted but are perfectly capable of maintaining the spiral of ever-increasing productivity.

Do not produce bodies. New bodies become more product-humans scaffolding the framework that benefits the donor cast. Nothing improves as new bodies are expendable. So just work. Work benefits the worker and continues the propagation of the framework as desired, but in operating to framework expectations, a product-human cannot be expected to simultaneously build the future that the donor caste will one day rely on. Either the social framework adapts to allow life to exist outside of the battle royale, or it collapses. It will not adapt because adapting would mean an inefficient resource drain and this would inhibit profit.

Depriving the world of bodies creates a situation where the product-humans are less expendable or replaceable, and thus shifts the balance of power in their favour. Else, the world commits to full-scale automation and the progressive dehumanisation of society in order to reinforce the existing global class structure. Once automation and algorithmic workers displace all product-humans, this becomes a moot point. How will emerging post-automation populations ensure their own relevance or survival? Without a means of generating capital and with no financial incentive on part of states to supply the capital necessary to feed obsolete economic units, there is no need to them to survive. They can no longer produce new economic units who will themselves survive, much less thrive, as there will be no resources to sustain new economic units. We cannot offer children born today the benefits of tomorrow. Whatever the outcome, letting the system starve itself to death is necessary.

This, of course, is already happening across the world, much to the horror of the donor cast, but more can be done. These patterns are already rattling established hierarchies, shifting the earth beneath the foundations of power structures reliant on the established status quo.

A means to an end

Ultimately, whole populations must commit a form of existential suicide, driving an abrupt and decisive depopulation of the next generation in order to force the world to work for the benefit of the generation following. Decentralise, destabilise, deconstruct. The cult of productivity will be the vector by which to force necessary change in the world by working within the productivity paradigm to the detriment and collapse of all else. The productivity paradigm of infinite-growth capitalism spirals in on itself until it reaches the point where it must either change or die. As change would displace established power structures and status quo operating procedures reliant on the productivity paradigm, the only recourse is to force the framework to build the ammunition and the gun that it will then jam into its own mouth. Destabilised powerbrokers will do what they are told to do or everything dies. Either option is acceptable. Starve the meatgrinder of bodies while committing to the Darwinian battle royale, come what may, as the only means of effective political action, and eventually you will either win or you will force a stalemate. If those with an interest in maintaining the status quo pull the trigger, so much the better – creative destruction merely allows us to build something useful in the space left behind.

In the meantime, there will be some great technology to play with.


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