[ExI] anti-capitalist propaganda, was: retrainability of plebeians

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Tue May 12 04:28:45 UTC 2009

2009/5/12 spike <spike66 at att.net>:

>> Do you mistrust all backpackers?...
> Not at all; I am one myself.  But that doesn't cost much.  Again, things are
> different now.  One seldom sees hitchhikers.  Did any of you guys used to do
> that?  I did.  Backpacking is an excellent value for one's limited funds, in
> enjoyment per dollar.  Part of the reason I backpack is that I am a natural
> tightwad.

I was thinking of the backpackers on overseas holidays, often
students. This is moderately expensive: several thousand dollars,
perhaps several months' pay at minimal wage rates. I confess that I
could never afford this as a student but I know that many others
worked and saved for a year or more in order to travel.

>> ...Well, their employer pays them $1000 a week net and they have
>> $1000 a week to spend or save as they choose...
> A thousand a week?  We were discussing minimum wage earners.  Those guys are
> good for about 300 a week, ja?  I haven't the foggiest clue what cocaine is
> worth today.  Anyone know?  Normal inflation might not apply to that stuff,
> since it is supply driven.  Hell maybe it is relatively a lot cheaper now.
> Of course the time in question is 1979.

I was talking about those erstwhile drug-using students who now have
reasonably well-paying jobs. You said you would wonder forever after
where they got their money, once they had used cocaine as students.
(To be fair, I don't know anyone who used cocaine as a student as it
was and remains very expensive in Australia. But I understand that in
the US it is much cheaper due to proximity to the source.)

>> If a student gets by on less than a few hundred dollars a
>> week, I don't think it's reasonable to assume he must be a
>> thief unless proved otherwise. It would be different if he
>> owned expensive sports cars, or something... Stathis Papaioannou
> Ja, again we are making the specific case of cocaine, a special case of
> conspicuous consumption.  Back in the depression (the original recipe, not
> this one) we heard urban legends of bankers smoking cigars wrapped in
> hundred dollar bills.  I don't know if that really ever happened.  If we saw
> a big Hollywood star today smoking 100 dollar bill wrapped cigars, we would
> think nothing of it, or saw a teenager smoking normal cigars, no law against
> that.  But if an unemployed indolent teen is smoking 100s, we know something
> is up bigtime.  Cocaine is (and was back then) the equivalent of smoking
> 100s.
> You do make a thought-provoking point.  Plane tickets have gone waay down
> relative to minimum wage since thirty years ago, waaaaay down.  I recall
> flying across the country for a bit over 800 bucks in 1979, from college.  I
> recently bought a round-trip from SF to New York for 370.  Minimum wage has
> more than tripled in that time.
> Stathis, do you have a theory on how the fearless reader managed to snort
> cocaine without a job?  I do.

My guess is that he saved up for a few weeks. But even if he did some
dealing, well, if you don't think using the stuff is morally wrong
then why would selling it be? Using and selling are both technically

Stathis Papaioannou

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