Friday, October 28, 2005

New Word

: : .

OK, pre-empting a review to come when I have time to finiosh the book. Been reading Charles Stross' Accelerando (Note: I'm reading the dead tree version, that's the free online version - relevence will become clear shortly).

It introduced a new word to me: AGALMIC.

Now, according to this essay states:
agalmics (uh-GAL-miks), n. [Gr. "agalma", "a pleasing gift"]
The study and practice of the production and allocation of non-scarce goods.
. This makes me happy - a new word that sums up what some of us want from socialism - a post-scarcity (as I believe Murray Bookchin called it) society. One that would require a new discipline of understanding it, different from the current economic models.

Economics itself is of course a word that has shifted meaning over the years. OED has it as 1. a. Pertaining to the management of a household, or to the ordering of private affairs (obs.). b. Relating to private income and expenditure. - certainly that's what it was whejn the greeks first started using it way back when. Artistotle contrasted it with Chrematistic adj. Of, pertaining to, or engaged in the acquisition of wealth.

When we get behind the blind of the everyday meaning, we find there is room for an agalmic - neither household management not acquisitive accumulation of wealth, but the advancement of a post scracity society.

IIRC Georges Bataille in his The Accursed Share suggested that we never have had scarcity - never. We have always had the extreme wealth of the sun - pouring goods down on us - we have only ever had our limitations to catching and using that wealth. Every society has spectacularly squandered its wealth because it could not use it.

An Agalmist Party, anyone?


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