Another variation of the Political Organization Problem pertains to Technology affecting how various artforms are conducted and how people discuss and critique them. Life imitates art, it is often said, and the type of Total Mobilization being employed affects the artforms in themselves. Total Mobilization of Production for Profit focuses on what sells based on popularity according to the Incentives of Supply and Demand. Total Mobilization of Production for Utility, meanwhile, follows a similar set of parameters beyond yielding various subcultures and fandoms within a prevailing pop culture. Art itself is treated as ways for consumerist curators to comfortably visit museums to see works of art from centuries past and for less-than-voluntary almsgiving to the masses on the other as expressions of the Austrian School’s conception of Marginal Utility. Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek really did not care how abstract any work of art looks, preferring to focus more on how much it ought to become worth in Kapital, as has been the case in the recent subset of Cryptocurrencies known as “Non-Fungible Tokens” (NFTs).
What can be said about the Total Mobilization of Production for Dasein as far as the Work-Standard is concerned? Here, the term “Technology” refers to the conceptualization, design, implementation, creation, and applications of, but not limited to, various mechanical, analog and digital devices. Unlike Sciences like Chemistry or Physics, Technology is not an exact science any more than the fact that neither Economics nor “Political Science” are actual sciences. Political statecraft and economic governance are artforms with different ways of applying politics and economics into one’s personal life and in the everyday life of their nation. The same can be said for Technology: it too is an artform and there are plenty of ample opportunities to introduce different ways of applying them because every artform operates under the auspices of a specific art style. Art is neither an exact Science nor will any work of art be considered a ‘Commodity’, which is going to happen to art itself if the state of Total Mobilization is either “Production for Profit” or “Production for Utility.”
A Technology’s “art style” serves as a reflection of its identity. Not just the identity of its creator but also the culture, nationality, faith, tradition, philosophy, worldview, ancestral heritage and anthropological origins. These aspects of social life affect the way Technology is conceptualized, setting the conditions for why it was designed by its creator and why they chose a given art style. The history, social customs and norms behind the existence of Technology decide how it is applied and the context in which it is be conducted. Each of these factors described here can stem from the political and economic life of the nation, their legal jurisprudence a historical record of why certain regulations, like the ones which emerged in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster or those post-9/11 TSA security pat-downs and screenings at American airports, govern everyday operations.
Everything depends on the people, the Totality, ultimately interacting with Technology and setting the terms in which it affects their everyday lives. Like any other form of art, the methods behind creating and interpreting Technology’s applications are open to discussion and critique from within their own framework. Any changes to how the artform is conducted affects the manner in which people interpret and discuss any work of art. A video game critic follows a similar set of parameters as that of a television or film critic while discussing about story direction and character development, diverging from the latter whenever they are talking about the gameplay itself and graphical performance of the game engine. Inversely, a film or television critic may not necessarily be the right person to critique any video game if they are unfamiliar with the inner-workings of the video gaming industry. The same can also be said for video game critics being incognizant in how to critique literary or culinary work of art; not everyone’s interests in literature or dining are going to be the same nor should they be the same for everyone.
The state of Total Mobilization tends to redefine older artforms, providing newer methods of expressing them within everyday contexts in contemporary life. Vladimir Lenin understood this significance when he had advocated for “Socialistic Heroic Realism” during the early years of the Soviet Union. He wanted to portray the image of life under Socialism and the kind of behavior that is to be expected in the state of Total Mobilization. That was also part of the same Intent behind why the Soviets erected statues of Lenin throughout the Soviet Republics, reminding people about how the Soviet Union came into being and why they are part of that legacy. It bears a resemblance to the artistry that went into the stained-glass windows decorating the old Gothic cathedrals of Europe, reminding the peasantry about their peoples’ decisions to embrace the Catholic faith. The aims and their methods are different in both cases, but the Intent behind them is the same: to artistically convey information in contexts where words alone do not suffice.
Like Lenin, John Maynard Keynes was making similar arguments about Total Mobilization affecting art itself in Chapter 12 of The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. A “Keynesian Beauty Contest” does not only describe the inner-workings of liquidity at stock markets. It also describes the inner-workings of cosplay, a contemporary version of Western Culture’s “carnivals” and “masquerade balls,” at conventions like Comicon and Anime Expo. Investors contend with the Price of Kapital in the shares of privatized commercial firms shooting higher and higher to the point where the Speculation Bubble has yielded an “irrational exuberance.” Cosplayers contend with issues of sexual harassment, sexual assault, physical assault, and attempted murder to the point where the Commodity Fetishism has yielded a “cosplay is not consent.” Our master of ceremonies for both was Milton Friedman with his Monetarism.
Nowhere is this contrast between Keynes and Lenin more apparent than a cross-examination between the inner-workings of the Japanese maid café and its Western equivalents and the Soviet rival, the Stolovaya (cafeteria) and its Western equivalents. Both revolve around the concept of passionate women serving complete strangers, except both are conducting themselves under different conceptions of Total Mobilization. The woman at the maid café serves in an unofficial non-state function, her outward appearance more important than her devotion and passion for the service itself. The woman at the Stolovaya serves in an official state function, her devotion and passion of serving others more important than her outward appearance. The contrast is even more evident when one realizes how the maid café is constantly failing to sustain its own Dasein, from defaulting on rent and loan payments to the fact that the maid is not in it for Arbeit but for Kapital.
Technology under the Work-Standard has already given rise to the implications of investors finding new roles at the Kontore with its own distinct set of financial instruments, the rest as state commissars at the State Commissariats. A similar set of circumstances will no doubt be applicable for video game developers, gaming streamers and professional gamers and cosplayers, and everybody else who may be interested in Russian caviar, Prussian vodka, Socialist Heroic Realist art and Nietzschean piano music at a “Soviet maid café.” The Work-Standard itself shall see to it that the most Prussian or the most Bolshevist are separated from the petty amateurs and hobbyists among them, where “Fiscal Conservatism” in American politics becomes an extension of Hamiltonian Federal Socialism. The Quality of Arbeit may not be a lot, but it will be more than enough to let them enjoy doing what they love. Those who remain are the ones who shall give gaming and cosplaying proper places in the Socialist nation-state as legitimate professions contributing Arbeit and generating Geld like everyone else.
Furthermore, there are plenty of other ways in which certain artforms take on different appearances vis-à-vis different Technologies. It can be argued that similar examples exist in the armed forces, in automotive and aeronautical design, industrial applications, everyday electronics, computer hardware and software programs, website platforms and so forth. Everything can be redesigned to facilitate the Mechanization Rate for the Central Bank. Where there exists a Will-to-Power, the Work-Standard will find a way for the Figure of the Arbeiter to engineer it for the Totality.
In this section of the SMP Compendium, we will be exploring the different ways the Work-Standard affects Technology and Art within the framework of the Political Organization Problem. Expect entire entries to be conveyed in this more artistic manner compared to the entries found in other sections within the Compendium.