Money and Power

Two of the most driving forces in the world are that of power and that of wealth. While often hand in hand, these assets impact the way people live their lives on a daily basis in order to obtain one, or both of these concepts. Whether it be only a small amount of these things achieved, the longing to make that authority grow is unavoidable. Once you have some, you always think bigger. Just like one of our main characters in Taylor and Neveldine’s Gamer.  Ken Castle’s billion dollar idea, the Nanex, allowed him to obtain both in very little time. If not for the desire of either power or money, would Castle have ever come up with his industry?

Haraway defines a problem with the creation of cyborgs that hits Castle’s motives right on the head. She says, “the main trouble with cyborgs, of course, is that they are the illegitimate offspring of militarism and patriarchal capitalism, not to mention state socialism” (10). So while Castle has an industry that seemingly is used as an entertainment staple of the future, his intentions seem to be driven by a much greater cause. The scene proving this is right at the end where Kable confronts him on the basketball court. Questioning Castle’s actions, used to mind control useless people to dance around, Castle counters Kable and unveils a potential grander scheme fitting the description of what Haraway considers an illegitimate offspring. Castle goes on to say, “You’re thinking small, Kable. But not as small as me. See, nano-cells are real small. A thousand times smaller than these dust particulates. You inhale it, they go to work: replicating, spreading like a virus, multiplying in exponentials. Six months time, I can have a hundred million people converted. Ditch diggers, porn stars, and presidents. Not one would be the wiser. A hundred million people who buy what I want them to buy, vote how I want them to vote, do pretty much damn well anything I figure they ought to do.”

Castle isn’t just in this for publicity, or for entertainment. His actions are based upon the thought of both political and economic gain in his favor. It’s quite thought provoking. How many of the technological advancements in today’s society that seem to be simply entertainment for its consumers are actually a smokescreen for a bigger picture? And while these examples shown in Gamer are undoubtedly dramatized, it still allows the viewer to consider the possibilities of these undertones, especially when paired with Haraway’s piece. It is human nature to want power and wealth. For corporations already in the driver’s seat, technology is a way for them to maintain both of these desires. It is a way for them to influence the consumer even more so to their liking. Today we are surrounded by it all. Televisions, cell phones, computers all are being constantly accessed daily by a majority of citizens. These corporations use these products as their own Nanex cells. They are the ones controlling us with commercials, advertisements, and updates as we all become more and more like the cybrogs we see in both Gamer and read about in Haraway’s piece.

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2 Responses to Money and Power

  1. ttakoushian says:

    I enjoy how you approached the themes in Gamer. Until it was briefly mentioned in class on Monday, I hadn’t thought of the movie providing a political criticism. You’re explanation also makes me ponder how technology is utilized for “militarism and patriarchal capitalism.” One of the things about this movie that I find fascinating is how many criticism it places on our society and the common way of thinking. Even more, I enjoy when you state, “For corporations already in the driver’s seat, technology is a way for them to maintain both of these desires. It is a way for them to influence the consumer even more so to their liking.” I find this is already a huge issue that is glanced over in today’s technological status. Whenever I pull up Google, it knows exactly what to show me that will pique my interest. Facebook knows what ads to show in the margins, knowing that I will click into them. Analytics work far beyond how most people interpret it. Each and everything we see on our screen is analyzed and transmitted to persuade humans into action. In a much, much duller, less dramatic sense, we are controlled by technological advances in advertising and analytics. We are persuaded to act, to click, to buy.

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    • jmc211 says:

      You’re right in that today’s world is driven by money. Even those who aren’t in it for money themselves still need it in order to create more and drive their projects. This model is concerning in that it attempts to get as much money from the consumer as possible; however, capitalism has also been great for the development of technologies.

      Without the incentive of money, how many inventions that we take for granted today would be available? Companies are in it for themselves, to make as much money as possible, but to do that they have to provide something the consumers will pay for. There are many benefits for both parties.

      Although there are definitely cases where this system goes wrong. In “Gamer,” Castle creates technology that could enslave a population, which no man should have access to. In our world there are lines that need to be drawn when it comes to data and privacy. Having access to our spending habits and internet use is very valuable data for companies, and allows them to cater to us more specifically. But should they have access to this? Most do not like the idea. Companies that gain too much power can also work against the consumer, just like Castle was planning on doing. Oligopolies are illegal for a good reason, yet companies like Comcast own the majority of cable and internet in the U.S., allowing them to charge more than their service quality normally permits.

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