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The Great Pyramids

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 14 years ago, in 2008, on the World Wide Web.

(Thanks to Francois Tremblay 2008-08-19.)

Here’s a famous old Wobbly cartoon, The Pyramid of the Capitalist System. (As you can see from the diagram, capitalist is being used here to refer to the the state capitalist system of political privilege to the capitalist class, not to a free market in the means of production. The perplexed may consult GT 2005-03-31: Anarquistas por La Causa as a guide.)

And here’s the new version for this modern world:

10 replies to The Great Pyramids Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Barry Deutsch

    That’s great!

    Do you have any idea who the artist of the modern version is?

  2. whatever name you wish

    And it is all simply factually true. And this has been all of human history.

    Schopenhauer was right. The sum total of happiness in the world would have been greater if none of us had ever existed.

    And to everyone, happy beginning of the end of the world.

  3. Bob Kaercher

    Schopenhauer was right. The sum total of >happiness in the world would have been >greater if none of us had ever existed.

    I’m afraid I’m a little confused. How could there be any happiness without any human beings?

    And to everyone, happy beginning of the end >of the world.

    Gosh, I sure hope it isn’t.

  4. whatever name you wish


    Certainly, there couldn’t be either happiness or misery without a consciousness to experience it. However, if the majority of people in this world live in unspeakable poverty, ignorance, and oppression- and if this has always been the case, and if the belief of some of us these last few centuries that we could change thius has proved a cruel delusion (and I fear a feel-good rationalisation for privilege and power), then human life is doubtless in toto a mistake. Unless you believe that out human end is something mystical beyond Earthly happiness and fulfillment. I do not, and regard such talk as the lies of torturers and the delusions of the tortured, both hiding misery. Why is it that governments and religions that seek to rule find it necessary to prohibit suicide, and when pressed condemn suicide as something selfish? Slavers and slaves both desperate to believe away the reality of pain must close all the exits.

    As for the end of the world, read the economic news. Then look where it leads, and look at the surrounding situation, and follow the spiral down and down into darkness. All of us used to speaking and thinking freely, familiar with the historical luxury of regarding ourselves as individuals instead of tribes, who are habituated to life being about something other than brute survival and brutality’s mythic lies and orders, will see the yawning chasm beneath civilsiation open. The praetorians and barbarians already know this and are shouting their chants and bloody war cries. All the ancien regimes and warlords smell their chance to get back what liberal civilisation took from them, while the looters running the planet are everywhere starting to fight over the scraps.

    Look at the prescient social systems of Palestine and the new South Africa, look at liberalism everywhere falling into a cynical mockery of itself, look at feudal relations returning where some kind of socialism or free market (who has time to fight over the difference any longer?) has been won. Watch every social indicator, from lifespans to literacy rates to social mobility, by which the XIX Century once measured progress, fall.

    I see before us a century of the broken dreams of the Enlightenment, which will do for the ideals of liberalism what the collapse of Rome did for ancient Pagan humanism. The ideals of the Declaration of Independence may be blamed for their betrayal, and tainted as eternally as Russia tainted ‘Communism’. The only victors will be Vandals and Christians.

    I also hope that I am wrong that we are seeing the day. I also still believe that it could have worked.

  5. Rad Geek


    I dunno, unfortunately; I just picked it up from Francois, who posted it without attribution. I’ll try to find out what I can for you.


    Well, I think Schopenhauer’s point was supposed to be that the sum total of happiness in the world as it is is negative, which 0 would be an improvement on. (Although actually Schopenhauer’s ethical position, on what ought or ought not to exist, is pretty emphatically not based on happiness, he also thought that the sum total of goodness in the world was negative, and always would be so long as the world existed.)

  6. Bob Kaercher

    Rad: OK, I’m not familiar with Schopenhauer, but based on what you said I have to wonder how he could claim the vantage point implied in his views.

    But I was actually trying to get clarification of whatever name’s claim that “happiness in the world would have been greater if none of us had ever existed.”

    whatever name you wish: I beg to differ that we’re all falling inexorably downward into some bottomless abyss.

    I have little doubt that civilization is in crisis, but I don’t see how recognition of that necessarily leads you to the conclusion that we’re inevitably toast.

  7. Discussed at www.amptoons.com

    Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Open Thread & My Open Tabs: druggie edition:

    […] I’m oddly fond of this new version of the capitalist pyramid. The illustration style looks like something from Mad Magazine. If you know who the cartoonist is, […]

  8. Joel Schlosberg

    Hmmm, is this a response to this Mises Blog post which says that the Pyramid is a way of “whitewashing aggression”?

  9. GCU Prosthetic Conscience

    The style looks kind of like the Beehive Collective, except that they only work in black and white, and don’t draw human beings. If that makes any sense.

— 2009 —

  1. novo.silencio

    I guess all we need is positiveness to even out the negativeness, and then alot to make the sum a positive one. Shal we use our energy to build a positive world then lets do it. We dont even have to be organized for it to have a good effect. As long as I do my best, and you, and some of our friends, naighbours, family, co-workers, bosses, employees, children, parents, teachers, lawyers ond so on, then the human kind will feel better working together, eating together and so on.

    For an example of what normal people can do, check out theese people here in India: http://www.auroville.org

    Love to see so many clear-thinking people here!

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