I've been watching the influence of Objectivism with increasing discomfort. Maybe it's just my little corner of the internet combined with my social circles? In America, or in Texas at least, our infrastructure is dissolving at a rapid rate. The roads and education system are in terrible shape. New graduates have difficulty finding work because the qualifications bar has been reset so high that they have to go into increasing amounts of debt--and/or look for education outside the US--in order to keep up. All for a job that probably won't pay enough for them to pay off the debt they acquire in order to obtain said job. Anyone with an actual full-time, salaried job with benefits is a rarity. Everyone I talk to is working via 'temporary contract' or is a 'consultant' and seem to be pinning a manic smile on their faces about it. No one seems to believe in on the job training anymore. Professional journalists are being asked to write for free. To top it off, magazines like Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair are actually auctioning off summer internships. You read that right. They are actually charging people for the privilege of working for free. Those who exist on the edges of abled society are being reduced to begging on the internet. Hardly a day goes by when I don't read an article about a food recall due to harmful contamination. The NRA is so powerful that it has made ATF useless. Please note, we assured it didn't work through electing people who didn't believe in government and worked to make it so. No, I refuse to believe that any of this is due to the economy and that we just don't have the money for 'government entitlements.' That is total bullcrap. First, government spending is the lowest it's been in decades. Second, the money is being funnelled into the pockets of the rich and corrupt due to not being collected from those who can afford it. Corporations now a) don't see themselves as citizens of their country of origin b) take advantage of their employees and customers, and c) don't pay taxes. (Hello, FaceBook. Hello, Amazon. And hello, Walmart.) When is this crap going to turn around? When are we going to wake up and understand that this is what it looks like when business is allowed to run government? Government and business don't serve the same function. I've been saying this for close to twenty years. This is a conflict of interest. We need government, and baby, capitalist-feudalism is not the answer. This crap isn't modern or hip. It's as old as the hills. I can't help feeling that we were spoiled by a system that, as imperfect as it is, was working too well. We forgot how valuable our safety net was and the reasons it was developed. We somehow got the idea that we could fly without it.
An aside.... I used to think that the reason that there were so few minority SFF writers was due to the lack of networking opportunity. For years, I taught a writer's workshop with the intent of doing something about that. I kept the fee down to $75. I thought in that way I was doing something even though we weren't getting that many minorities signing up. (We do get a few, however--more than when I attended the workshop years ago.) Upon reading the Gawker article I've come to understand that the problem runs deeper than that. At this point, I don't even know what to do. It's a serious blow to my motivation for teaching, much as I love it. Because, yes, it's true. Writers cannot make a living. You can't even make a living even as a journalist anymore. You really do need to be independently wealthy or your parents or spouse needs to be--if you have children.
I've always had faith that we'd wake up in time to turn things around. It's been the case in the past, and I still hold faith that it will happen again. However, it seems that things are going to have to far worse before anything substantive is done. That depresses me.
 Although, we're all telling ourselves it's just crowdsourcing, and therefore, 'hip.'
 They call themselves 'multi-national' and 'worldwide.' The problem with that kind of thinking is that it allows corporations to avoid contributing to the infrastructures in which they take advantage. There is no world government that regulates the world and balances power. Once you declare you have no country, you have the power to do whatever you want as far as employment (which might as well be slavery in some cases,) pollution, and taxes. No one has the power to stop you. And what do they say about absolute power? Yeah. That.
 A majority of the big workshops charge $2,000 or more and require three weeks off from day jobs. Now, I've no objection to these workshops existing. I do believe in professional writers getting paid for teaching. However, when these are the bulk of the established workshops, and they don't really offer scholarships, I see it as a problem. Who can afford to take three weeks off from work and pay thousands of dollars for what amounts to a hobby? White rich people--not even the middle class because what contractor can afford to take three weeks off without pay? The 40 hour work week is history. You can't write in your free time when there isn't any free time.