“In a common lesson about electromagnetic forces, students are given an exercise in which a bar magnet is placed on a table surrounded by scattered iron filings. The invisible field surrounding the magnet will draw the filings into alignment with it, until the swirling starburst shape of the field becomes visible. The capital relation is a kind of social magnet, with capital at one end and labor at the other, that tends to align all other social hierarchies with the master hierarchy based on money. Hence the hierarchy of athletic ability is translated into a hierarchy of payment for performing professionally. And yet the magnetism of capital is not so strong that it can perfectly align all the systems. Fame, for example, may in general be translatable into money (as when Kim Kardashian releases a smartphone game that becomes wildly successful), but the conversion is not an exact or uniform one.”
“Both [social science & science fiction] attempt to understand empirical facts and lived experience as something that is shaped by abstract - and not directly perceptible - structural forces.”
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