The Cyprus Experiment | Jake Painter
The society of Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World is a highly stratified one. Within this world, individuals are lumped into a predetermined caste system, with local hatcheries and conditioning centres determining how many are needed to fill each caste based on the needs of society. These castes range from Alphas and Betas at the top to Deltas and Epsilon semi-morons at the very bottom; with the former filling the ranks of the elite and the latter doing the most rudimentary, unglamorous, but ultimately vital work. The Resident World Controllers had an idea however: what if we were to do away with the caste system entirely and just populate the world with Alphas; with them being the strongest, most intelligent, and the very best humanity has to offer? As a result, they removed the existing population of Cyprus and in their stead replaced them with Alphas. This experiment however, would very quickly turn sour.
Creating a society that is exclusively made of the best and brightest creates one obvious problem: who is going to do the work that is deemed not suitable for the best and brightest? This is the exact problem the resident world controllers found themselves in; soon after the experiment took place, many Alphas who were forced to do work usually reserved for Deltas and Epsilon Semi Morons, began to become irate that they had to do such tasks. What especially grated these Alphas was the fact that they had to do this work whilst other Alphas – who were the same as them genetically and intellectually – occupied higher positions in society. This discontent eventually exploded and led to large scale rioting and the breakdown of society, forcing the authorities within Cyprus to eventually ask the Resident World Controllers to reassert their authority on Cyprus to regain order, thus ending the experiment. Little do we know that we have been conducting the very same experiment in this country.
Arguably Tony Blair’s biggest mistake was neither the Iraq war, carrying on Thatcher’s neoliberal project, nor even the erosion of civil liberties and the British constitution. Instead, it was Blair’s insistence that we send so many of our young people off to higher education, with the goal of 50% of school leavers attending university. The fundamental truth in any society is that society needs to be stratified: there needs to be those who rule and those who are ruled, there needs to be chiefs and there needs to be Indians; but what happens when a society intentionally creates too many chiefs to rule over a dwindling number of Indians? Like with the Cyprus experiment in A Brave New World, many of these chiefs will inevitably not obtain the social status that they believe is rightly theirs. Indeed, as Matthew Goodwin once pointed out some time ago, around 37% of university graduates do not go on to do “graduate jobs” upon leaving university. What exactly constitutes a “graduate job” is not entirely clear but it will inevitably translate roughly into jobs such as the civil service, the corporate sector and so on. With the volume of young people attending university, it is simply unfeasible to believe that all of these graduates will get into these high end industries. Even before COVID-19 became a factor, the job market was particularly competitive, especially when it came to grad schemes.
Leaving aside for one moment the skills imbalance this causes in our wider economy, this is also a perfect storm for social discontent within our society. This political aspect cannot be understated here, as many social upheavals have arisen when the educated classes become disenfranchised from the political and social system. In fact, the vast majority of revolutions and upheavals are led by the intellectual classes, and a society that is filled with millions of unhappy members of this class is a recipe for disaster. I do not want to sound too bleak here: I do not think we’re on the way for a full scale revolution. Perhaps at worst we’ll see the May days of 1968 become a more regular occurrence, but I genuinely do not see how in the current climate, we can avoid some form of disturbances and trouble down the road.