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Book Review: 1984

So, a while back I asked for your suggestions on what I should read. I'm starting to make my way through the list. First up: George Orwell's 1984. Nope, never read it in school. We did read Animal Farm in junior high. I liked 1984 a lot better. Thanks to Turbulent Cleric for the recommendation - he said he's not sure it counts as fiction anymore, and I see where he's coming from!

I thought the book was excellent in a depressing sort of way. Like Winston, always hoping somehow that the human spirit will win out against Big Brother, I was hoping Winston could hold out against O'Brien and the rest.

But I don't want to spend a lot of time on the details of a book (most) everyone has read. So here's what struck me most about it -

I was thinking about capitalism and socialism and economic systems. And I think what it all comes down to is: coveting. Has socialism worked well? Is capitalism, even if imperfect, always better? I think from our perspective, maybe, but capitalism's far reaching effect on others? I don't know. But I think either way, perhaps the breakdown of systems can be tracked to our covetous nature.

Socialism - We covet what others have, and we want to make sure no one else has anything more than we do, no matter the cost.
Capitalism - We covet what others have, and we want ot make sure that we can get more than they have, at any cost.

Ok, I know this is extremely simplistic, but it is what struck me most in reading. Thanks for the recommendation!

Comments

John said…
I think of the differences between socialism and capitalism being less about coveting and more about control. Who has it? In socialism, it is the government. In disfunctional capitalism, it is an oligarchy. In functional capitalism, it is individuals.
Phil said…
While I love Orwell, The Road To Wigan Pier is one of my favorites, I'm not a big fan of 1984. I once read an essay by educator Neil Postman comparing and contrasting 1984 with Brave New World by Huxley.

Postman believed that Huxley was more prescient about society in advanced capitalist countries. The problem wasn't Big Brother telling us what we could and couldn't read, say or think. The problem was an amorphous society that provided so many silly alternatives that people didn't want to read, speak or think critically.

I like reading your blog because it gives me (basically an agnostic) a glimpse into the religious life with a socially aware outlook, something most religious sites don't provide. I guess there is a religious left after all!

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