What would happen to a vastly intertwined global economy, hypothetically speaking, if some imaginary figure sitting in the driver’s seat (a novel disease, in this case) suddenly, with the hall pass of a natural disaster or other act of God, began to gently and without wavering apply a braking force to it? Agriculture, oil and gas, tourism, banking, textiles, automobile production and sales—what would happen if all these championship industries and more began, as a whole, hypothetically, to slowly lose their life’s blood and begin, suddenly and before their time, to grind to a halt?
Well, in the spring of 2020, much of the whole world found out.
Folks in the U.S. lost just over 20 million jobs, the rate of unemployment hit 14.7%, the stock market set all kinds of records for heading towards the toilet and nearly everywhere in the Western world people, to varying degrees, were begrudgingly and anxiously conscripted into participating in a self-quarantine.
Not abstinence, not mass vaccination, not a thermometer up the butt, but a quarantine. Which is far more restrictive over time.
And as I sat back and read the news, and report after report of the economy collapsing came and went, small business owners lamenting of their plight and politicians fighting back and forth about too much government oversight and the need to re-open the U.S. economy at the expense of “a few people being affected badly,” I began to wonder how a capitalist world system as grand as the one we have now could, in just two months, be rendered bedridden, turn necrotic in some places, and begin to move towards complete and absolute death.
Normally, the first question to be asked in a situation like that, where the flight of massive amounts of capital is the issue, is: Who benefits from it? But since it really wasn’t anything that anybody necessarily had planned, at least none of the people who could have retrospectively gained from it (and only the few, few, narrowly wealthiest in the world did, which is something to look into, in itself), and was really more of a Roman-candle-going-off-in-a-bronco-stable scenario, the next important thing to ask would be: Who’s to blame for it? Who stabled those broncos and never bothered to train them in the first place to make them work for everybody? (We already know who tossed the fireworks.) When you look back, what was the thing that eventually got American spenders so pissed off about being told what not to do that they had to start punching, screaming, shooting and push-upping their way into re-opening the world of consumer goodsmanship they once knew and loved?
So, okay, let’s look. Why did the national and international monetary system start to effectively, quite clearly, perish in a span of only two months? Who, actually, might be to blame?
The disease? Well, you can’t blame a disease. There have been diseases longer than there have been people. At least as we know them today. To blame a bat or pangolin or an infected bacteria would be simply absurd. That is, absurd by an act of someone thinking way too simply.
The people themselves? Not really. Most of them are just doing what they can to survive, along a gradient. Buying TV’s and chucking their My Little Pony kiddie pools into landfills and shit. People with less have less choices, it’s true—like having to eat bats and pangolins to survive or just to erroneously reclaim their erections—though often they may be just as in debt as someone who makes five times as much, relatively speaking. But they’re all just trying to exist, and not systematically expire, themselves.
The state and local politicians? Somewhat. But they were (you know, the ones who weren’t trying to fight the government on its choice to shutdown) trying their best to save lives and not big businesses. Because businesses, big and small, can’t exist without people. Not until they can hire an actual, unliving, unbreathing robot to do all their work for them & fire everyone they employ. Which likely won’t be for another six or seven years or so.
And if you design robots for a living, don’t worry. It may take a little longer to lose your job to a robot.
A couple, maybe.
The businesses? Largely. The large ones, anyway. But they’re just an inherent part of the system.
The system, then? Sure. But you can’t extricate the world from the current system without years and years of first, slowly, having to ween it off onto something else. And, again, it’s just a system. It doesn’t know any better. So, why blame it?
Congress and the presidential administration. The one (and ones) that gets voted in power every several years.
Why? Because every presidential administration and congressional body, collectively, since the end of the Second World War, has been holding the line, either stonewalling or standing back and allowing you to be convinced (by whatever individual legislator, government organization or president may take the reins on it) that any and all alternatives to the system are destined to fail and Godlessly evil. Like communism. The Soviet Union, and all its satellites. As if it’s going to murder all the men, violate the women, abscond with all the kids and turn them into backwards little Maoist perverts.
Which is the same thing that used to be said about masturbation, by the way. And pre-marital sex.
And beer, for crying out loud! Without the Maoist part.
But why? If you’ve read into U.S. foreign policy at all outside of the classroom, or outside institutions altogether, you’d find the policy-makers talking openly about it for decades. Heck, the Founding Fathers talked about it out in the open back in the late 1780s. They said things like the people—as in ‘We, the people…’—needed an elected group of enlightened representatives to make their decisions for them, and that these enlightened representatives were to, in turn, “aid on” protecting the “minority” against “oppression” by the “future danger” of power “sliding into the hands” of “those who will labour under all the hardships of life, & secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings.” The minority, in this case, being wealthy folks.
In other words: You, as a member of that enlightened body, look out for yourself and interests just like you, and keep the rabble thinking that democracy actually gives them a voice.
Which it really doesn’t. Not an equal one, anyway.
To James Madison and all the other Founding Fathers, imbalance was clearly inherent in the system. And this was absolutely fine to them.
And the machines of advertisement—though functioning independently of governments in the world of business—were and are, today, by their very nature, employable to the directives of the highest bidders and, thus, still very closely connected to those noble Governors when they are directed to be. Because those Governors have more than enough with which to bid.
Because what is advertisement but an over-arching, privately-held, ubiquitous form of propaganda in the modern world?
And that’s not even taking into account media networks whose admitted political leanings flow in the same direction as the presidential administration, left or right. And not taking into account, either, that there are directions the stockholders and executives of a news corporation won’t let stories go, up or down. Because all the big news organizations are not only news organizations, they’re companies. Just like any other company of a comparable gross business income. It doesn’t pay to be risky and it doesn’t pay to divulge too much.
Because what benefits are there to advocating socialism, from their standpoint? Or any other system where they wouldn’t profit as much?
You always blame the folks in charge (i.e. those with power) from the start for, in this case, developing, maintaining and perpetuating the system that was bound to go to pot when a natural disaster or act of God got so big that it began to corrupt things.
In less than two months.
So, I’m not advocating immediate capitalist deconstruction here. Or the immediate destruction of an established republic. Anarchy. None of that would work.
The system obviously needs modification. A re-assessment of the ways in which wealth is acquired and distributed. It needs an intelligent voting public, and that voting public needs to cast their votes intelligently. To have a real voice.
Talking to you, chief.
And there need to be more congressional and state candidates that aren’t sycophantically willing and eager to protect the opulence of the minority from the majority. Not naming names here, but you know who’s a good example. That Muppet from Kentucky. Got a name? Sounds a lot like Bitch Bucolic?
Which was also the name of the Ironic-pop / scumpunk feminist Luddite garage band I was in in high school, by the way.
I played the electric pan flute.
We were ahead of our time.