“The pattern of the B labor contract was quite clear. You never got out of debt. Easy credit was part of the system, and so were irritants that forced you to exercise it…And while I worked, a new debt would accumulate.”
This forcibly reminds me of my world literature class last semester when we talked about the negative effects the World Bank and other institutions have on developing countries. What happens is that developing countries borrow money from the World Bank, which restricts what they are allowed to do with it. As a result, their economies never get independent from first world countries, and they are unable to pay the debt back. The debt increases with time and the additional money they have to borrow. I think Pohl was drawing attention to this vicious cycle in today’s world economy.
Lovecraft, in the beginning of The Call of Cthulhu, says “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents…The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality…”. Lovecraft eloquently states an age old fear about science: that it will eventually open us up to such incredible and terrifying possibilities the likes of which will destroy us. The limitless expand of scientific inquiry still to be done is like outer space, and so it seems natural that from that void evil gods of madness and strange comets of alien color come from. The imagination, when set with anxiety, produces horrific scenarios and monsters, much like Lovecraft did in his novels. This anxiety, I feel, is over the advancement of science. However, he’s not wrong. The Cold War, with the threat of total nuclear annihilation a very real danger, is proof that advancements in science have an extremely powerful effect on the world, and may in fact one day destroy it.
A quote I particularly liked was: “The master mathematician’s grim warnings were treated by many as so much more mere elaborate self-advertisement. Common sense at last, a little heated by argument, signified its unalterable convictions by going to bed.”
I have personally found that people just don’t understand science, and most toss it out the window when it gives them a result that isn’t in accordance with common sense. This ignorance persists until the results they threw away are right in their face (in the form of a “star” coming close to the Earth, or more recently, a string of the worst hurricanes on record as an effect of global warming). Wells, a scientist himself, undoubtedly experience the same thing when trying to explain what he did to the masses. It’s not hard to understand why he put that in The Star.