Karl Polanyi, in his book The Great Transformation, said essentially that the so-called self-regulating market, far from being spontaneous or flexible, is only maintained by a despotic grid of money and politics – a Weberian colossus without which the entire social edifice of this so-called “free” system would fall into chaos.
Polanyi said that economics is submerged, or embedded – in all social forms – in social relationships; that people were not driven by and large by self-interest in the pure, “rational actor,” acquisitive sense, but that they strive to safeguard their social standing.
You are driving in traffic. This is a near-perfect metaphor for an existence lived on the Mono-Grid. More than a metaphor, it is literally the experience of following lines along a grid, with every move directed and monitored by signs and signals and laws.
Everyone in that traffic is moving with some purpose in mind. In their lives, they are either accumulating to safeguard their social standing, or they are trying to keep up in the traffic of their lives – endebted, always behind, driven – again, to safeguard their social standing.
The thing is, on the Mono-Grid, these are the only choices. Accumulate or struggle to keep up. Either way you are on (or in?) the grid. In neither way are you off the grid.