Thursday, April 16, 2020

Updated Coronavirus Charts

Eric Topol, referenced on here as a great source for data-driven information re the coronavirus, has posted some chart updates that are worth noting.

Some quick comments along with the above update. This crisis is tragic on many levels. Not just the loss of life but also the loss of employment, the lack of assistance for the working class in this nation, the loss of business for people who have worked a lifetime to create something with their own two hands… and the support of society.  The list of tragedies is long and everyone has a story to tell.  Unfortunately, there are many more tragedies to come.  The central planners in Washington are powerless.  Truly.  What do I mean by that?  People were isolating and closing their purses well before any government social distancing edicts.  Spending was collapsing before that ever happened.  Let me give you an example of what to expect when the economy “reopens”.  Sweden, which has resisted a formal distancing shutdown, has seen retail spending drop by 90% in some sectors.  90%. Nine. Zero.  That was not a result of a government edict.  It was a conscious decision by individual citizens.  When politicians and TV news personalities make comments that seem to trivialize human life as it pertains to reopening the economy, it simply reinforces the concerns of society and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of future economic inactivity.   In other words, when the U.S. economy “reopens”,  tens to hundreds of thousands of businesses in the U.S. are almost certainly not coming back.  The U.S. economy has wanted to fail for decades but politicians and the Federal Reserve have kept it from doing so.  In the process, they have created massive moral hazard.  When the Federal Reserve recently started buying junk bonds, it created an unprecedented destruction of the meaning of money.  The most incompetent are being rewarded for their failures.  Money is a confidence game and the Federal Reserve is likely going to be reminded this in many ways before we are past this.  The government should instead be facilitating fast-tracked bankruptcies and reorganizations of industry deemed critical to democracy or national defense.  In other words, take the financial rot out of the system.  As noted in the 2008 crisis, not allowing the economy to implode into some post-apocalyptic Mad Max world is not a bad thing.  With a caveat.  What is important is that while the economic establishment is temporarily propped up to stop us from complete dystopian collapse, the new should be seeded.  A new economic model.  New economic industries that benefit society.  A new democratic economy.  New community-based commerce.  People-based commerce.  Or, as MLK noted, rapidly transition from a thing-oriented society to a people-oriented society. 

King’s words are haunting us to stand to account for compassion and empathy in this moment - “We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

But, politicians are never going to do that because they are owned by corporate power and money. So, the outcome is almost certainly going to be more dire than it has to be unless we see radical awakenings by citizens.  I mean radical in the sense of radical for natural human rights, economic self-determinism and democratic participatory civic consciousness.

But, there are also many good things to come of this.  One is that people are being forced to face reality.  To look at the horrors of our society.  How we have allowed corporate rule to gut our industry, and thus have little expertise in managing any complex situation and a buffoonish lack of ability to respond.  To see unbridled capitalism’s lack of resiliency and its massive systemic risks created by lack of public policy and democratic oversight.  The massive incompetence of politicians in Washington.  (Actually, they are quite competent at what they are elected to do. That is, to do the bidding of corporations.)  The lack of basic human dignity that exists with the endless destruction of social safety nets.  We effectively have soup lines that make the Great Depression look like a picnic.  And, on and on.  There is no universal source of truth that is available as people seek guidance.  That’s a good thing.  Big Brother is exposed.  Are we willing to look at what we cumulatively created?   For the first time in the modern age, individual citizen rights, community rights and state’s rights are seeking to assert themselves from the corporate state.  And, a little bit of anarchy and chaos aka free thought and free expression on this front is a good thing.  Grass roots efforts or localization are common themes on here as people seek to reassert their freedoms over corporate state rule.  If the United States holds together, and that’s a big “if”, the only method through which we will recover our democracy is through taking back our liberties from an all-powerful federal government.  An all-powerful federal government needed by the economic control system of corporate capitalism to enforce its tyranny on society.

I’ve noted on here in the distant path that the U.S. needs a return to something akin to the Articles of Confederation if our nation is to be saved.  And, while these are just seeds, there is massive social unrest for various reasons.  That’s a very good thing because we need a civic revolution.

Is this current situation going to be the fuse that ignites the end of corporate state monopoly on our lives? Economies are created locally. Communities are created locally. Transformation is not the purview of the professional class or the state.  It’s a bottoms up process.  As noted on here many times, as Soviet dissident Andre Amalrik noted in his work accurately predicting the coming collapse of the Soviet Union, the professional class enriches itself through state violence. Revolution is created by the working class; those who are exploited by state violence.  The power of the state is directly proportional to the fear and control-based propaganda it exerts over society’s most vulnerable; it’s workers.  And, for now, that is a dynamic we should all watch very closely.

posted by TimingLogic at 12:12 PM