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Nobody Can Hear You Shout in Outer Space

Sound requires a material medium to propagate, so in the vacuum of space there is no way of hearing an explosion, the roar of an engine... or protests.

Category: Cultura | 8 November, 2013
Editor: Daniel Vidal Hussey

Early in the 21st century, the European Confederacy’s Space Programme managed to establish colonies on other planets for the purpose of extracting water and other natural resources that were becoming scarce on Earth. The harsh living conditions and the nearly absolute cut off from the planet of origin made the colonies a particularly undesirable spot for professionals from the major European powers. However, the government of the Spanish Federal Republic saw an opportunity in the outer colonies to reduce the alarming unemployment figures they had been dragging for decades and thus turn around the negative economic growth rate.


They didn’t call this a desperate measure. They called it an Employment Promotion Scheme.

For the unemployed, turning down a job in the outer colonies meant the immediate loss of unemployment benefits, a measure the government passed urgently after an initial proposal by the Spanish Employer’s Organisation. The relocatees signed a six-month training contract in the colonies. The training costs were then deducted from their salaries once they were given a permanent contract.


They didn’t call the derivation of human capital to extraterrestrial colonies a forced migration. They called it external mobility.

Workers in the outer colonies were divided into three categories: the Alpha Class, made up of government representatives and financial managers; the Beta Class, made up mainly of engineers; and the Omega Class, consisting of lower-skilled workers. The Omega Class carried out paltry tasks for which they were paid well below the minimum wage.


They didn’t call it a worthless contract. They called it a minijob.

Due to irregularities in the food control tasks, a contaminated shipment set off an epidemic in one of the extraterrestrial colonies. Health insurance was only available to the Alpha Class and senior Beta Class beings with more than ten years employment, so most of the colony could not access the privatised health care services. Those infected developed an alien parasite that, after completing its larval stage inside the host, violently exited it to complete its growth and devour the few remaining survivors.


They didn’t call it a consequence of healthcare privatisation. They called it a conjunctural viral irregularity.

After the alien epidemic, duties were purged from the Beta Class and the employment conditions for newcomers were made more flexible. The involution of the welfare state in the colonies generated an escalation of heated protests. The Confederacy’s diplomatic attempts to resolve the situation were futile, and after a blunt “live long and prosper”, the Confederacy let the troops put an end to the hostilities. Finally, the Alfa Class left the colonies to perform administrative tasks from the control centres on Earth. Space workers staged protest rallies, strikes and demonstrations, but nothing changed. Despite being all the way up there, they still looked up at their leaders from below. Their protests were lost in the void.

The thing is that nobody can hear you shout in Outer Space.

Category: Cultura | 8 November, 2013
Editor: Daniel Vidal Hussey




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