Saturday, 29 March 2008


MORPHEUS: "The Matrix is everywhere, it's all around us, here even in this room. You can see it out of your window, or on your television. You feel it when you go to work, or go to church, or pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth."

NEO: "What truth?"

MORPHEUS: "That you are a slave, Neo. That you, like everyone else, was born into bondage. . . kept inside a prison that you cannot smell, or touch. A prison for your mind. Unfortunately no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself."
The MATRIX: The movie. 1999

When the blockbuster film the Matrix came out back in 1999, it was a huge hit. Not just because of the ground breaking special effects, kung fu moves and cool slick imagery, but also because of an excellent story line. A creation of the Wachowski brothers, it was not designed to be your typical Hollywood film. One of the films defining moment is the the pill scene - red pill for truth and blue pill to carry on, with what you perceive as reality. A lot of discussion was directed towards the religious aspects that the film was trying to display, however this was not the intent of the Wachowski brothers and religion hardly encompasses everything, a lot of people are atheists anyway. The Matrix is indeed synonymous with the capitalist system - pod bound humans living a slave like existence, feeling they are living in a reality bound world, when in fact they are feeding the matrix - the capitalist system that obscures reality. For people who understand how the modern financial system works this will not seem like an odd concept. Concepts such as fractional reserve banking, debt, changes in interest rates to adjust the money supply and a whole series of economic terms designed to make the subject as inaccessible and boring as possible. Have you ever wondered why the wealthiest people in society are the people who actually produce nothing for society at all. The highest paid area of work is the financial sector, yet all they do is manage societies wealth. They produce nothing at all for societies benefit no food, appliances, clothing, housing - nothing. If this conflicts with the beliefs you hold about society the Wachowski brothers explain this throughout the dialog of the film.

MORPHEUS: "The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. When you are inside. You look around. What do you see? Teachers, lawyers, businessmen: the very minds of the people that we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system. You have to understand most of these people are not ready to be unplugged and many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight any change."

Morpheus lists educated professions to illustrate a point that the people who should be able to understand the way the current capitalist system works and see its flaws are in fact the main drivers behind it. In the Reloaded sequel, the architect states that the vast majority of people "accept the program", or the system in which they are part of. People do generally believe what they are told or what they read be that information in the newspapers or on the BBC website during a lunch break. In a society that is supposedly better educated than any of our previous generations there is increasing amounts of voter apathy, less and less political protests with people more interested in discussing the X-Factor or big brother. If you were to ask quite a number of people what the program - capitalism - is, they wouldn't even know that it was the economic system they live in.

The media is generally controlled by big corporations and government - not by the people, so the truth is rarely told and quite often spun. With the advancements in technology and productivity we should be a lot better off as a society, when in reality we are getting worse. The system uses smoke and mirrors to mask reality. As I have mentioned above the truth is rarely told. Consumable goods are cheaper, but this is due to cheap foreign labor producing them now - and this is there to serve the feelgood factor. A plasma screen TV or a fancy car doesn't make me or other people happier it just gives us a sense of more materialistic wealth. Any increases in our disposable income for example have just been diverted which for the majority has not really increased much at all. Take for example the cost of houses which have skyrocketed recently. Society would be a lot better off if housing was cheap and we wouldn't have both parents of a family working to pay the bills. Income could get diverted to more meaningful streams in the economy. We could use the money for schools and hospitals or for developing sustainable areas of trade in the economy. Its a classic capitalist mechanism of creating a feel good factor among the masses, for most people it is their main asset so when it rises in value people feel like they are the next Warren Buffet or George Soros when in fact, recently it is just based on a mountain of debt. Economic indicators have been changed also to fool the sheeple. Instead of using RPI we now use CPI, GDP measures have been manipulated to favour the upside of growth and fiscal drag for tax brackets has made sure everyone is paying more tax of course apart from the rich. The recent debt bubble that has built up recently can only end in one way, and that is with defaults and a contraction which will act as a transfer in wealth, from the lower and middle earners to the rich when it all implodes. Our capitalist system gives the illusion of a liaise faire system, when in fact its always the rich that pull the strings - the market is never in the hands of the majority as people percieve it to be. Like agent Smith they find new ways to work within the system.

The film also mentions glitches in the matrix. I always find this an interesting concept. This could be similar to real world events such as the protests during the Vietnam war (the Iraq war in current times), the works of Noam Chomsky and others or now the with congressman Ron Paul challenging the FED, a man who understands the economic policy America has pursued and has warned for years the dangers of a fiat monetary system and the future problems we now see in the levels of debt that has been created and the fact it is the common person who is being penalised. All these glitches tell people something is not as it seems, but still most ignore them and never question them continuing to pursue their everyday lives and not find out the truth even in this day and age where information is so freely available. The film in essence supports the theories proposed by Karl Marx. The workers (humans) are there to produce all the goods and wealth for the capitalists (machines). The workers are given illusions of short term prosperity be that rising house prices, or increases in purchasing power as work is shipped to more cost effective destinations. The real winners are always the people who control the system. Marxism may be viewed under a communist negative bias, but Karl Marx had capitalism figured out. He understood the workings and saw the pain it caused to people. During booms and depressions he saw the majority suffer while the capitalists would prosper - wealth was simply transferred through the social classes.

So what alternative do we have instead of the current capitalist system? I don't believe in socialism, as this does not allow people the freedom that they desire and would not spur innovation and prosperity as well as a meritocracy based system. We need a truly free laissez faire system, reducing government, cutting taxes, removing the mass fractional reserve debt that enslaves people as it is a non-productive economic concept and keeping the money supply constant and backed by something of true value, a metal such as Gold or Silver. However one thing that history has taught is that people always manage to obtain power and sadly abuse it. Maybe all socio-economic systems are not flawed - it is just the people within them that make the systems fail.

I will end with a quote, again taken from the film. A lot of people will dismiss what has been written above but I did mention that above in the article, such is the nature of people - unwilling to face reality.

Neo: "I know what you are trying to do!"

Morpheus: "I am trying to free your mind Neo. But I can only show you the door. You are the One that has to walk through it. You have to let it all go Neo, Fear, doubt and disbelief. Free your mind!"

Morpheus: "There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path."
The Matrix, 1999

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