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Daybreakers

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Grames
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How bizarre. Daybreakers is a vampire story which is an allegory of peak oil theory.

Vampirism occurred as a disease outbreak resulting in most of the world becoming vampires. The remaining humans are hunted down by soldier vampires, the blood is rationed out. As the supply of humans run out rations are restricted, and some underclass vampires go without blood at all causing them to become less and less human.

The plot has actor Ethan Hawke starring as a hematologist working for giant pharmaceutical-style blood company trying to create a blood substitute. He is an unhappy vampire, repulsed by the treatment of humans and himself refuses human blood as much as he can. He struggles and fails to create a blood substitute so instead (to skip most of the movie) creates a cure for vampirism instead. Of course the evil corporate vampires reject this out-of-the-box thinking violently because it will destroy their business model. Denialism is rampant, one vampire has the line "There will always be more humans" despite the evidence to the contrary. The money line is "It's not about a cure, it's about repeat business."

This movie also touts the economic theory that physical addiction creates economic value. This is an interesting idea in that I don't think it can be refuted with amoral, wertfrei economic theory. This a difference between economics viewed as hierarchically derivative from ethics and economics viewed as a purely physical science akin to physics.

This movie really lost me in the first minutes when it showed a vampire not being reflected in a mirror. Mixing science fiction and the occult is tricky, and I count this as a failure. The Blade movies pulled that off successfully, but those were action movies where this is a movie about ideas. I like movies about ideas especially when the plot is resolved with thinking over action, but these are bad ideas.

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This movie also touts the economic theory that physical addiction creates economic value. This is an interesting idea in that I don't think it can be refuted with amoral, wertfrei economic theory. This a difference between economics viewed as hierarchically derivative from ethics and economics viewed as a purely physical science akin to physics.

What do you mean by economic value? It sounds kind of like shorthand for "profit margins" in this context, which is absurd.

Actually, this is pretty damn easy to refute based on evidence if you think about it. If "physical addiction" (i.e. the fact that a given population NEEDS your product) created economic value, then why is the bottom dropping out of farm prices such a big "problem"? Why all these farm subsidies all over the place? Shouldn't agricultural cartels be running the economy? After all, EVERYONE needs to eat, and needs to eat EVERY DAY.

The more people need something (in a free society) the cheaper it gets and the tighter the profit margins get, not the other way around, because there's always going to be capital moving into that area from many sources. In a non-free society, the things people need eventually wind up in the opposite situation--with chronic shortages and scarcity.

From what I've heard of Daybreakers, there's only the one big mega-corporation, with no real competition from anyone, yes? This situation could only pertain, in the REAL WORLD, if that corporation were in some sort of cooperative arrangement with whatever passes for gov't. So, really, the movie could be seen as an indictment of Fascism more than anything else, correct? The real problem is a fundamental misunderstanding of just where these mega-corporate entities originate and how they perpetuate themselves.

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I haven't seen it and doubt that I will, but I wanted to note that it is telling that there is no free market solution offered. The humans could be farmed like dairy cows yanking a quart out a week for example, or, even better if you wanted to preserve the rights of the humans as well as vampires, the humans could sell there blood at whatever the market would bare living side by side peaceably with the otherwise parasitical types.

Wealthy, charitable vampires could even choose to support women with children in need financially when they agree to donate to a blood bank. Or healthy humans with too much blood could donate it free of charge to poor vampires.

Hollywood's political bent really puts a cap on their creativity. Free markets have so many more options available that the complexity and realism could really be improved by acknowledgment. I guess the infinite potential of the human mind is far less inspiring and exciting then an imaginarily finite resource and deterministic parasites hunting humans. Ah well...

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Hollywood's political bent really puts a cap on their creativity.

Testify!

I know I have trouble writing non-fantasy stories because I have a terrible time coming up with *conflicts* that could exist in the real world without outright plagiarizing something. I'm not as bad as some writers, though, who can't even seem to come up with conflicts that *connect* to anything in the real world. They're the ones who stick their characters in impossible, unresolvable situations like "would you sacrifice yourself to save the entire world?" or some such nonsense, completely unable to see that choices like these don't actually pertain to human life.

You can get a lot of mileage out of showing how dumb these contrived conflicts are, though.

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What do you mean by economic value? It sounds kind of like shorthand for "profit margins" in this context, which is absurd.

Actually, this is pretty damn easy to refute based on evidence if you think about it. If "physical addiction" (i.e. the fact that a given population NEEDS your product) created economic value, then why is the bottom dropping out of farm prices such a big "problem"? Why all these farm subsidies all over the place? Shouldn't agricultural cartels be running the economy? After all, EVERYONE needs to eat, and needs to eat EVERY DAY.

What I wanted to get at was the false idea that economic value could be divorced from ethical value. I did not have food in mind when I used the term physical addiction, but it actually fits here better than the addictive drugs I did have in mind. Food is an ethical value and since it can be stored and traded around it is also an economic value. Blood for vampires is like food, they need it to function. The poor vampires are being starved to death.

But wait, I don't want to think about "poor vampires" or feel any sympathy to them at all. Vampires are predators on humans and properly regarded as inimical to human interests, as evil. The vampires almost all like being vampires, enjoying the health and immortality vampirism confers and give no thought at all to the fact that they basically eat people. The entire vampire society is evil because of its treatment of humans and essentially self-destructive in that its days are numbered because of its dependence on a finite, irreplaceable resource.

So, unlike an oil company or a mega-farm agribusiness the vampire blood company is not creating any value. I suspect I'm wrong somewhere in this conclusion, but I don't know how.

The more people need something (in a free society) the cheaper it gets and the tighter the profit margins get, not the other way around, because there's always going to be capital moving into that area from many sources. In a non-free society, the things people need eventually wind up in the opposite situation--with chronic shortages and scarcity.

My conclusion that this is intended to be allegorical to current society's relationship with oil. One character is enjoying daytime driving when he wrecks his car and gets briefly thrown thrown through some sunlight before landing in the shade. This movement from being a vampire in a car to being a human without a car is the visual metaphor for the theme of movie.

To what Ayn Rand called an anti-conceptual mentality, the abstract idea that freedom leads to values is inaccessible. For example in this movie, how could freedom create more humans or a blood substitute? In the context of this movie it can't, and that context seems plausible to that mentality. (Well, plausible apart from the whole vampire thing.)

From what I've heard of Daybreakers, there's only the one big mega-corporation, with no real competition from anyone, yes? This situation could only pertain, in the REAL WORLD, if that corporation were in some sort of cooperative arrangement with whatever passes for gov't. So, really, the movie could be seen as an indictment of Fascism more than anything else, correct? The real problem is a fundamental misunderstanding of just where these mega-corporate entities originate and how they perpetuate themselves.

Yes, its actually a demonstration of fascism. I defend the same perspective in the Avatar thread.

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I personally loved the movie, I saw it all as a stuggle between those who wish to be alive and Human, versus those who wish for death.

I liked this movie too for precisely this reason: I saw it as offering people the choice between simply not dying (remaining a vampire) and actually living (returning to human status).

I don't see the peak oil connection. Would never have thought of that in a million years after having seen this movie.

I also like it as a metaphor for how a society which depends on parasitism will inevitably end in the death of all its members.

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