Books,  International

“We have won the battle for production!”

The arrival of these winds from the north has coincided not only with the disappearance of bread, but also with the flight of the milk. As if winter had affected the ovens and frozen the cows’ udders. Although on TV they announce that the production targets for the precious milk have been exceeded, they deny us the solitary cup of coffee or the insipid tea every morning. These are times to jerk yourself awake without looking at the table, to tell the kids not to ask questions, and to put aside work, the blog, friends, life, to devote yourself entirely to the pursuit of a piece of bread and a glass of milk. Time to drag ourselves through the dust of shortages and lines and because to break this contemptible cycle and fly we need—more than wings—the fuel of food.

–Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez, Generation Y

“Comrades!” cried an eager youthful voice. “Attention, comrades! We have glorious news for you. We have won the battle for production! Returns now completed of the output of all classes of consumption goods show that the standard of living has risen by no less than 20 per cent over the past year. All over Oceania this morning there were irrepressible spontaneous demonstrations when workers marched out of factories and offices and paraded through the streets with banners voicing their gratitude to Big Brother for the new, happy life which his wise leadership has bestowed upon us. Here are some of the completed figures. Foodstuffs—-”
The fabulous statistics continued to pour out of the telescreen. As
compared with last year there was more food, more clothes, more houses, more furniture, more cooking-pots, more fuel, more ships, more helicopters, more books, more babies–more of everything except disease, crime, and insanity. Year by year and minute by minute, everybody and everything was whizzing rapidly upwards…

The announcement from the Ministry of Plenty ended on another trumpet call and gave way to tinny music. Parsons, stirred to vague enthusiasm by the bombardment of figures, took his pipe out of his mouth.

“The Ministry of Plenty’s certainly done a good job this year,” he said with a knowing shake of his head. “By the way, Smith old boy, I suppose you haven’t got any razor blades you can let me have?”

“Not one,” said Winston. “I’ve been using the same blade for six weeks myself.”

–George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-four

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