Monday, 3 April 2017

Not A Lot Going On

Some of these posts are "off the wall." The origin of the current post is truly bizarre. I will explain but I will have to do it backwards.

In the first story about Nicholas van Rijn, "Margin of Profit," that Master Merchant's employees are represented by the Federated Brotherhood of Spacefarers whereas in the last work to feature van Rijn, Mirkheim, the relevant union for his company is the United Technicians. See here.

This is not inconsistent but fully authentic, exactly mirroring contemporary Britain. There used to be powerful organizations known by sets of initials like the Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU or T&G) - (as well as lesser known outfits like the Tailors' and Garment Workers' Union, also TGWU). Industries and union memberships shrank. Organizations merged and changed their names, sometimes replacing sets of initials with words, including "Unison" and "Unite."

During an amalgamation of three public sector unions, a National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) representative hoped that the new name would be the New Union of Public Employees (NUPE) so that he would not have to change his badges. I was in the National and Local Government Officers Association which was initialized not as NALGOA but just as NALGO, thus generating the mistaken belief that its name was the National Association of Local Government Officers. NALGO was satirized as "Not A Lot Going On" just as the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) was satirized as "No Action Taken From Here to Eternity."

The purpose of this blog is to discuss issues that either arise from or can be connected with the works of Poul Anderson or sometimes with the works of authors sufficiently close to the spirit of Poul Anderson. An interest in future histories or alternative histories is a good qualification. We have discussed Anderson's Technic History and at other times half a dozen future histories in parallel. I am currently reading one book and rereading another, neither by Anderson, and as always looking out for bloggable issues although just at the moment not finding any new ones. This made me think "not a lot going on," which in turn reminded me first of NALGO, then of the trade unions in van Rijn's period. The little that Anderson shows us of these organizations is, I think, fully authentic: a need to respond to the demands of members combined with bureaucratic incorporation into Big Government.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Ha, ha!!! Amusing, NALGO satirized as "Not A Lot Going On." Ans I agree, corporations (and unions are corporations too!) frequently break up, merge with for profit corporations/unions, or are dissolved, etc.

And I agree with Old Nick resenting and opposing the cartelization of corporations and unions we see in MIRKHEIM, of them becoming mere cogs in an increasingly centralized and bureaucratic Commonwealth.