A thick, spitting voice bellows through my headspace. Stop! Stop! You can stop thinking and talking, now, you capitalist-training son of the Beast!
Unused to such things, I look up. Me?
Standing before me is quite the vision. There are seven of them, four males and three females. All are tall, muscular, and very human looking. Very annoyingly perfectly human looking. The women have long blond hair, the men strange spiked blond haircuts. They remind me of the optimized Olympian Aryan warriors in Leni Riefenstahls Nazi propaganda films. The image is completed by the matching uniforms they are wearing. Funny, those uniforms look oddly familiar. I can almost place them, but my attention is shattered by the one whos shouting at me.
Hes wearing a different kind of outfit, an olive green tunic emblazoned with a large golden circle and crest-like logos with something written on it in a language I do not understand. They all have stickers on their faces and clothing. The stickers have moving pictures on them and little aphid legs. The stickers are slowly moving across their bodies.
You heard me, the loud-mouthed leader of this band of space fascists says, you pukeslime capitalist putrefaction of the utmost highest order.
You flikking PlanFeds, skin! 3_Jeff shouts at them from the sidelines. Why dont you just let up the line a little, skinbrain?
Apparently, my neo-Utopian hosts space vessel has been invaded by people who dont quite share their appreciation for the past. Or maybe the Clan of the Lizard-girl was simply hiding me inside someone elses vessel. Hell, all I knew about what was going on was what Anna-Marie and 3_Jeff they had told me. For all I knew this could be featherboys father bursting in, discovering his little sonny-boys science experiment gone awry. Either way, these guys were none too happy to find me.
From my core dump, I know that trade in the 27th century is as strong as it always was. Now, however, it is entirely structured by machine intelligences. The people and machine congolmerations of the future had found the order in chaos. Shortly after theyd hacked the biological codes and quantum physical codes theyd cracked the code of the market too. Merging psychometrics, quant sociology, and a dozen other sciences with economics, the chaos of supply and demand could be calculated in advance and cultivated under the fine-tuning of these mysterious, distant, intelligences. To the would-be surprise of Adam Smith and his merry band of laissez faire economists, the market flowered beautifully in an economic garden free of the weeds of greed and human intervention. Apparently, all the central planning Soviet system had lacked was sufficient processing power and bandwidth.
What I considered business and, in particular, marketing, had by this time of course become completely vilified. What they called The Marketing Wars had continued unabated for over two hundred years. The result was the elimination of almost all evidence of advertising and marketing from human civilization. It turns out that Anna-Maries little dont-squeeze-the-Charmin frame on her dress was strictly verboten, and, depending on the jurisdiction she was caught in, could land her in the 27th centurys equivalent of the clink for a good six months.
Unbeknownst to me, and cleverly deleted from almost all of the memory files they implanted in me, there are also a number of vapid factions intent on destroying anything related to capitalism and markets, which are considered to be highly contagious, deeply contaminating and impure forms of social reasoning.
These civilizations are under no aspersions as to the nature of capitalism, either. They know it doesnt inhere in particular forms of trade, social systems, or built structures, but in memes, the rawest essence of ideasubstances, the base particles of thought itself. There are scads of these angry macro and micro civilizations, clusters of affiliated nation-states whose main mission in life is to hunt out, destroy, and wipe the universe clean of the last vestiges of the scourge of hegemonic capitalism.
When they look at me they see the 27th century equivalent of Typhoid Mary.
They are, to say the least, royally pissed off that this little group has resurrected a marketing professor. I get a sense that the DNA filing they told me about may not have been as on the up-and-up as I had been led to believe it was.
Lizard girl and feather boy are rudely shuffled into the room and pressed up against the wall. They are followed by about a half dozen other weird animal freaks who must be their compatriots in Ectoneocyberaquarianship. Judging from the rough treatment they are getting, it looks like they are in trouble. That means I am probably in even more trouble.
The leader boy of the space Nazis opens his mouth again. Its lecture time. He gestures at me with his head. This animal, this profoundly primitive animal you have reincarnated upin our multiverse. You know his kind were responsible for the devastation of our planet? The deforestation of the Brazilian rainforest, the extinction of almost every species from the regal elephant to the glorious Bengalese Tiger to the humble bumble bee? This is what you would wreak upin us?
Whoah, whoah, whoah, I protest. I gave to plenty to Greenpeace in my time, dude. Besides, those were the positivists doing all the polluting anyway. Im qualitative. Didnt you know? Im an interpretivist. I do interviews. Cultural studies, even. Ive cited Marx. Really. Check my references. Come on, give me some citational credit here.
Just because youve cited it doesnt mean youve read it.
Thats true, but below the belt.
Besides, Marx was as blatheringly wrong as Smith or Drucker if you must know. He turns to the others. If I must talk to animals and tunein botboys. They laugh, and he continues. Only the Most Visionary Rotten Berry perseveres. Now, about you. He turns to me again. You worked in a business school?
You trained people in in-dus-try? How to rip out and rip off? Ripping out so-called natural resources from Gaia, destroying species? Ripping out so-called human labor and so-called intellectual property? Objectifying human beings as things to exploit, condemning huge swathes of humanity to intense poverty, indentured servitude, and despair? Then ripping off. Turning these so-called resources into so-called products and services, using the immense power of the mass media and totalitarian mind control over word of mouth to relentlessly persuade people to so-called need to so-called buy them?
Hmmm, I pondered. It really wasnt as bad as you make it. You see.
Weve seen fragments of your so-called scholarship. You were nothing more than an apologist for capitalism. And like the abhorrent social system you so pitifully represent, you will be shut down.
He lifted his ripped muscular arm, flexed, and stuck it inside his tunic. Out came an expanding blue blubber blob, something like a mini metallic jellyfish. In his strong hand it morphs into something more round, smooth and compact, with buttons, a kind of futuristic organic remote control. He points it at me. I blank.