Stray Notes

Created: 99-04-01
Last Modified: 99-04-01
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from Alexander Jablokov (1991), Carve the Sky (New York: Avon: 038071521X), p. 109.

"Natural, Anton?" Vanessa said softly. She licked her upper lip thoughtfully. "You're the Seneschal of a Household. How natural do you think that is?"

Anton thought about the great five-towered house at Fresh Pond Verge and the Household that lived within it. It seemed like an eternal entity, the basis of civilization. "All social structures are, to that extent, arbitrary. It suits me. That's all I can say."

"The essence of dominance," Torkot said. "'It suits me.' And you criticize the Academia for its arrogance?"

"I said it suited me. I don't try to make it suit everyone else."

"You are evading the issue. For that type of life to suit you, it must exist." Torkot leaned forward, suddenly intent. "Do you think our civilization exists by accident? Your house at Fresh Pond, for example, with its Household, art collection, hunting forests. It exists because something else doesn't. Fresh Pond could be covered with pavement, and you could live in a mile-high tower. Your could fight on its shore in blasted ruins for ancient cans of preserved beef. You could be the manager of a factory that uses the pond for cooling and dumping its waste. These are all choices. Each benefits someone. Each displeases or oppresses someone else."

Anton didn't try to argue the point that a world of blasted ruins benefited someone. He'd met people who would have been perfectly suited for such a world. "And who benefits from our form of civilization?" Anton asked.

Torkot leaned back. "The three of us do. As you've pointed out, it suits us."

Professor of Economics J. Bradford DeLong, 601 Evans Hall, #3880
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
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