By Ivan Illich
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Additional resources for Beyond Economics and Ecology: The Radical Thought of Ivan Illich
But mere per capita expenditure employed to mold the language of a group of speakers does not tell us enough. No doubt we would learn that each paid word addressed to the rich costs, per capita, much more than words addressed to the poor. Watts are actually more democratic than words. But taught language comes in a vast range of qualities. The poor, for instance, are much more blared at than the rich, who can buy tutoring and, what is more precious, hedge on their own high class vernacular by purchasing silence.
Probe for the deeper meaning. As California’s governor, I am building America’s first high speed rail system and pushing a relentless expansion of renewable energy. Yet, I still reflect on Illich’s ideas about acceleration and transportation and even energy. Illich makes you think. He forces you to question your own deepest assumptions. And as you do, you become a better thinker. Illich said equity would not come with more economic growth. That’s a hard doctrine. We all want our GDP to grow. Yet look at the growth in inequality these last twenty years.
How much would Facebook be worth if its users were paid for their efforts to produce content and consume advertisements? Shadow work remains hidden partly because it is sentimentalized. The defense of “family values” sentimentalizes sexist oppression by maintaining the fantasy that the modern house continues immemorial tradition, whereas the demand that housework be paid only exposes the paradoxical freedom sought in dependence on wage-work. Shadow work does not foster vernacular modes of living nor does it nourish the realm of autonomous being-together.
Beyond Economics and Ecology: The Radical Thought of Ivan Illich by Ivan Illich