Some time ago I found a long interview with Iain M. Banks that I didn’t have time to read at the time, so I stashed it into my bookmarks and then forgot about it. I found it again the other day and started reading. Early on, the famous essay A Few Notes on the Culture was mentioned and I realised that I’ve never actually read that so took a tangent that I’ve not made it back from. It’s a really interesting essay both for fans of the Culture and for general fans of future history and worldbuilding. I found a fantastic quote which seems very apt for the times we’re living in, which I was going to tweet, but then Bankie was never really known for being concise, was he?
The market, for all its (profoundly inelegant) complexities, remains a crude and essentially blind system, and is – without the sort of drastic amendments liable to cripple the economic efficacy which is its greatest claimed asset – intrinsically incapable of distinguishing between simple non-use of matter resulting from processal superfluity and the acute, prolonged and wide-spread suffering of conscious beings.
Given the briefings coming from Westminster about turning the UK into a deregulated tax haven, slashing workers’ rights while making corporations even more unaccountable, I fear Banks’ words are all too true.
I think it may be time to get away from it all with a Culture reread.