Under what circumstances would the 13 richest people in the world hire a murderer to kill the 3 poorest people in the world?
This is Liu Cixin’s suspicion at the beginning of the short science fiction novel “Support for Mankind”. In less than 30,000 words, he also showed two extreme ideological experiments on the distribution of human wealth-“absolute protection of private property” and “absolutely equal wealth.”
Science fiction has always had a “glorious tradition” for discussing political economy. As early as 1895, Wells imagined in the “Time Machine” that the gap between rich and poor led to the division of mankind: the leisure class on the ground evolved into elves. The Eloy are like children, carefree, but afraid of the night; the working class who moved into the underground with the heavy industrial machinery evolved into the orangutan-like Moroks, afraid of the light, and went to the ground to hunt the Eloy at night. In the past few years, Hao Jingfang’s novelette “Beijing Folding”, which won the Hugo Award, is also of the same theme.
However, this kind of novels often go straight to the result of the polarization between the rich and the poor, and they are not clear about “how the world got here”. Liu Cixin gave his answer in “Support for Mankind”, and it seems that it is not different from the real world. far.
The key point of the differentiation between the rich and the poor: the rich implanted supercomputers in their brains, completely widening the intellectual gap with the poor
”Support for Mankind” depicts the “brother civilization” that is hundreds of years ahead of the earth’s civilization. They adhere to “private property inviolability” as the basic principle of the constitution, and even created an intelligent system to protect private property. Law enforcement robots are everywhere, some are only the size of a mosquito, but they can kill hundreds of people instantly to ensure absolute safety of private property. What a perfect society where stealing and looting are extinct, and the roads are nowhere to be found.
The gap between the rich and the poor is still there, but the poor still have to work hard to study and receive higher education. This is similar to the situation on Earth at this stage.
But after technology breaks through a certain critical point, education, the pathway that connects all classes, is completely torn off. This is also the “literary eye” of this novel-rich people have implanted supercomputers into their brains that only they can afford , Suddenly opened the intellectual gap with the poor. This kind of “super education” is expensive, “comparable to buying 2 to 3 commercial houses of 150 square meters in prime locations in Beijing or Shanghai.”
The upgraded brain hardware can easily carry more complex software. The superb aesthetic taste, hundreds of languages, and even perfect personality have become commodities that the rich can buy with money and put them into their minds. The rich/super-intellectual class slowly formed their own culture. For example, in accordance with their etiquette, they must use the corresponding language for people of different status on different occasions, which far exceeds the brain power of the poor.
The gap between the poor and the rich is getting deeper and deeper, and it has almost developed into a species difference. Just like monkeys cannot understand Dostoevsky and Bach, the poor have no brain power to understand the world of the rich. On the contrary, the rich People look at the poor just like people look at monkeys, and they will no longer be of the same kind.
It must be mentioned here that when Liu Cixin described the history of the development of capitalism in the “brother civilization”, he said nothing about the most important wealth transfer system-taxation. I don’t know if it is incapable of filling or intentionally left blank. This void shows Yu Hua’s coldness: When people distribute wealth, do they consider the opinions of monkeys?
The peak of capitalism in “Brother Civilization”: Even the atmosphere and ocean have become the private property of the “last property”
The “brother civilization” rich people have money and brain capital that the poor can’t reach. Coupled with the absolute protection of private property by law enforcement robots, they have no trouble making money. Wealth accelerated to a few wealthy people. After several generations, the “end-of-life” finally appeared. He started from a small company dealing in feminine hygiene products, accumulated and expanded step by step, and finally one person mastered 99% of the “brother civilization” His wealth, all land, sea, and air belong to him. Of course, all of this is legally earned under the supervision of law enforcement robots.
The 2 billion people other than the “end-born” are poor. They live in fully enclosed houses, rely on repeated cycles of air and water to sustain their lives, eat food synthesized from their own feces, and bring their own oxygen bottles when they go out. Because air is the private property of the “final property”.
In the end, the “benevolent” “final man” gave 2 billion poor people a way out. He prepared 20,000 giant spaceships for the poor to find another habitat.
“Big Brother Civilization” to the Earth’s “Reserved Land Plan”: Carry out the equalization of the rich and the poor to the end
According to the conventions of science fiction, the poor of the “brother civilization” found the earth.
They are also “kind” enough, claiming that they will not drive the people out of the earth, but give a “reservation plan”-all the people on the earth have moved to Australia and they are responsible for their support. Australia once opposed this plan, but the “Brother Civilization” spacecraft sent rays to sweep the continent of Oceania and wiped out all the people there. The level of technology is too far apart, and the people of the earth are not qualified to bargain.
Probably because the “Brother Civilization” has suffered enough from the gap between the rich and the poor, the “Reserved Land Plan” has pushed the distribution idea of ”don’t worry about the scarcity and suffer from inequality” to the extreme. They will use the poorest person on earth as the standard. , To provide equal survival materials for everyone on earth.
”From how poor the poor are in a society, one can glimpse the conscience of this society.” There are too many similar beautiful sayings. What if they are enforced? This is another thought experiment of Liu Cixin.
The unprecedented rich and poor movement began. The 13 richest people on the planet established the “Social Wealth Liquefaction Committee.” The so-called “liquefaction”, as the name implies, is a bowl of water. Software tycoons and rich women in energy drove large trucks to find poor people everywhere, and directly stuffed them with boxes of banknotes.
As long as there is one person on earth in extreme poverty, everyone else will fall into extreme poverty.
Now you must have guessed why the rich are buying murderers, because of those 3 people-an urban homeless man searching for food in a trash can, a painter living in a cardboard shack, and a girl scavenging waste with a woven bag on a trash mountain. , They rejected the grant.
Fictional novels may awaken people more
What is the use of reading novels? This is the “soul torture” most often faced by readers.
Liu Cixin’s novel itself is an excellent response. It is too easy for us to be numb by the professional terms and statistics in the news, the “gap between rich and poor”, “Matthew effect”, “classification” and “Gini coefficient”… Over time, everyone has “passed away from this type of reality”. Min” is as indifferent as looking at the earth on the moon, but the fictional conflicts and details in the novel can wake people up.
This is probably the most cruel “case” of the divide between the rich and the poor. Although novels cannot replace economics textbooks and financial news, they can make economic concepts deeply rooted in people’s hearts.
By the way, this novel is cut from the perspective of a killer, the one employed by the rich.
Finally, two knowledge points are presented:
Liu Cixin’s “Support for Mankind” was published in 2005, that is 15 years ago; investment master Peter Lynch quoted in the second chapter of his famous “Peter Lynch’s Successful Investment” Vonnegut’s science fiction novels illustrate the disadvantages of institutional investors relative to retail investors.