The android is just another way of speaking about the new other, and I consider myself to be part of the other just by being a woman and being black. There’s still certain stereotypes that I have to fight off, and there’s still a certain struggle that we all individually have to go through.
But this is a larger failure, the failure of a kind of progressive-leaning bourgeois politics of class sympathy. It’s a perspective that is very alive to class, but a politics largely deaf to it. Liberal politics tells you we can solve the contradictions of capitalism simply by figuring out a way to include more people in the wealth that’s been generated. The main problems are moral (greedy mean people!) and distributional (which might explain why Blomkamp smuggles in some Malthusian themes of “overpopulation”).
Radicals know it’s going to take much more fundamental restructuring of society, one which will require prolonged struggle ending with the defeat of the rulers. I welcome a popular culture containing more radical themes, but, in the final account, this is not the class struggle movie we are looking for.
"It doesn’t end well for the meerkat."* And by ‘meerkat’ I mean your hope for an exciting, well constructed, politically engaged science fiction film instead of the same old lazily written blockbuster nonsense.
* A 100% real quote from the film.
In 1978, economist Paul Krugman wrote The Theory of Interstellar Trade, an academic paper that grappled with the question “how should interest charges on goods in transit be computed when the goods travel at close to the speed of light?" Hardly the most fictional economic theory out there.
Why is it that so few of our writers bother to include economics in their worldbuilding toolkit? Is it because courses in economics were something that only business majors took in college? Is it because economics is so tangled with politics that they despair of separating well-documented research from passionately held belief? Why must hard science fiction obey the laws of physics and yet ignore the insights of our best economists? For instance, just how large must an economy be to sustain the construction of L5 colonies? Or to terraform Mars in the face of an uncertain return on investment? Or to launch a fleet of expensive starships which might not make it back to Earth for decades or even centuries? And our fantasy writers are equally culpable. History teaches that the rise and fall of dynasties are primarily due to economic factors. The king must raise taxes in order to pay for his war against the Dark Lord. What is the value of labor in a world where magic works? What currency do dwarves accept in exchange for their armaments and do they care about their balance of trade?
It is free, and not a trap.
Heh it’s a totally reasonable question, it’s the terms themselves that are ambiguous ;)
I think the best way to think about it is in terms of...