In Philip K Dick's "Minority Report" anthology there is a short story called "War Game" (1959). A foreign power is subverting capitalist culture with a Monopoly-type board game in which the objective is not to get rich but actually to get rid of money and property. In the story, the children love it.
We were given similar messages in the Sixties, ironically by people who were or became millionaires - think of Pink Floyd's song "Money", the film "The Magic Christian" and so on. And as late as 1979, Pink Floyd were telling us "we don't need no education", though all its members were at technical colleges when they met each other. It is as though the long march through the institutions, having installed many bright grammar-school-educated Boomers in key positions, was to end with the systematic discouragement of similar competition from the next generation.
Last week, Julie Burchill wrote an excellent piece for The Spectator ("Meet the new faces of nepotism") on how the ladders of opportunity for the aspirant working-class have rattled up the walls. What matters now (again) is having the right parents:
"Yes, you chirpy Cockneys and you stoic Northerners, not only have the jobs your parents did — making things — disappeared, but the cushy jobs that a blessed few of you once might have escaped the surly bonds of the proletariat by nabbing — modelling, acting, writing for newspapers — have now been colonised by the children of the rich/famous/well-connected, too."
Now, the - well, now they are the underclass, thanks to GATT and Schengen, listen to hard-nosed rappers and play GTA5 with their primary age kids. I do wonder what this diet of violent games is doing to their imaginations and mental model of what society is really like. Perhaps the next revolution won't be students having self-righteous fun.
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