Gail Tverberg made a comment today that rings true and motivated me to write about something I’ve been mulling for a while…
I think the reaction to COVID-19 is part of how a self-organizing system works. People were looking for a reason to cut back/shut down. The illness provided this.
I do not believe in most conspiracy theories, but I do believe that crises are frequently used to implement plans that would be impossible without a crisis. The responses to Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, 9/11, and the 2008 GFC are good modern examples.
Perhaps the virus has provided (mostly subconscious) cover for:
- citizens tired of commuting 2 hours a day to a stressful job so they could keep up with their neighbor’s latest unnecessary status symbol purchase
- citizens who intuited they should reduce discretionary spending and pay down credit card debt, which interestingly declined in 2020, rather than increasing as it did during the 2008 GFC
- leaders that sensed we should voluntarily throttle back, because we’d soon be forced by limits to growth
- leaders that understood we needed to rapidly reduce CO2 emissions, and the only way to achieve this is by contracting the economy
- leaders that needed an excuse to restrict freedoms to maintain civil order in preparation for a significant contraction of our energy/economic system
- central banks that understood we had hit limits to growth and that needed an excuse for massive corporate bailouts to prevent a catastrophic economic collapse, and for MMT to keep citizens fed
Perhaps this helps to explain why our responses to the virus have not been intelligent or optimal:
- effective means of containing the spread were ignored or procrastinated in the crucial early days
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