‘The Rise Of Capitalism’ by Donald Barthelme

The Rise Of Capitalism by Donald Barthelme, 1972

The magic trick:

Closing a sad, strange story with a beautiful statement about human existence

It’s July 4th and I could not think of a better way to celebrate 2020 USA than with some Donald Barthelme.

It’s incredibly smart. Funny. Bitter. Self-loathing. And funny again.

“Capitalism places every man in competition with his fellows for a share of the available wealth. A few people accumulate big piles, but most do not.”

There you go.

Happy Independence Day!

And that’s quite a trick on Barthelme’s part.

The selection:

Capitalism arose and took off its pajamas. Another day, another dollar. Each man is valued at what he will bring in the marketplace. Meaning has been drained from work and assigned instead of remuneration. Unemployment obliterates the world of the unemployed individual. Cultural underdevelopment of the worker, as a technique of domination, is found everywhere under late capitalism. Authentic self-determination by individuals is thwarted. The false consciousness created and catered to by mass culture perpetuates ignorance and powerlessness.


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