Human lives are more important than the economy. The corporate bootlickers in our punditry class respond to this by saying that, without the economy, we would all starve to death. The fact that mankind survived prior to the invention of stock markets shows that this statement is utter nonsense. Trade between nations likely wasn’t even feasible in the early days of man, before we learned how to cross the boundaries of different languages. If the global economy is so important, then how did anyone survive before its invention?
Indeed, it’s obvious in hindsight that people were much happier prior to the global economy taking over our lives. Up until very recently, the vast majority of Americans were self-employed, with jobs that provided a vital service to the community. If they weren’t farming or hunting, the average citizen worked a trade, such as shoemaking or blacksmithing, that his larger community depended on. Every citizen had a purpose and found self-actualization in fulfilling that purpose.
Today, most jobs are busywork to keep people occupied, so citizens don’t start bulldozing federal buildings out of sheer boredom. Our food is grown in out-of-state factory farms, and our clothing is manufactured in Chinese sweat shops. Most of the jobs that haven’t been outsourced are easily expendable, and the few that aren’t (i.e., the STEM fields) require a level of intelligence that your average citizen doesn’t have.
Self-employment is next to impossible, as mega-corporations already meet our every necessity. Therefore, the only self-employment opportunities left are for producing luxury items, which have a much higher market risk. One could forgo all leisure time for years on end and still not see success with an independent business venture. The only surefire business opportunities are in farming illegal drugs in your basement and drawing pornographic commission artwork, neither of which would satisfy the power process for most normal people. Assuming we return to the neoliberal status quo in the coming months, it’s likely that both of those sectors of the economy will eventually be taken over by multinational corporations.
How did we go from a society of farmers and tradesmen to a society of government bureaucrats and grocery baggers so quickly? Well, it all started with an event known as the industrial revolution, which was a disaster for the human race. When the textile mills first opened, they first employed young women, taking them out of the home, away from their families, into dark and depressing factories. Working conditions were terrible, pay was lousy, and the easily replaceable nature of workers meant that any worker strikes were doomed to failure. Over time, the factories put many of the tradesmen out of business. Now instead of paying your local shoemaker to craft footwear by hand, you can pay thirty bucks for a pair of sneakers that will fall apart in less than a year.
The idea that industrial manufacturing and free trade drives down prices is shown to be nonsense when you consider how disposable everything is now. In the days of tradesmen, you could have your shoes repaired by the shoemaker who sold them to you, whereas today you just throw them in the dumpster and buy a new pair. The advent of planned obsolescence and Digital Rights Management (DRM) have only accelerated the hyper-consumer process, as it’s now illegal to repair items which you purchased with your own money.
Eventually, the factories went overseas, because of the principle of free trade. Obviously, for most parts of the world, it’s cheaper and easier to import bananas than attempt to grow them locally. Neoliberal economists extrapolated this principle to all sectors of the economy, and corporations decided that it was somehow more efficient to waste gasoline on shipping in clothing imports from China, rather than manufacture them locally. As if the silk manufactured in Constantinople wasn’t just as good as the stuff they previously imported from China. Regardless, this means that factory jobs went overseas, without the tradesmen occupations returning. Our basic needs are all met by imports from foreign countries, one of which is a currency manipulator. Meanwhile our need to fulfill the power process goes unsatisfied.
Speaking of currency, the value of the US Dollar has been nothing but smoke and mirrors since FDR took us off the gold standard. The USD gets its value from investors in other countries (mainly China) buying dollars from us. Anyone with a sense of foresight can see that this can’t go on, especially with everyone blaming China for the global pandemic.
The solution to our current predicament should be obvious to anyone who’s read about life prior to the global neoliberal order. We must restore the society of farmers and tradesmen that America was founded on. You can’t catch the Wu Flu while working if your job involves growing corn or smithing tools ten feet from your own house.
Government leaders with any sense would help ease the transition by distributing government owned land to citizens who don’t own property and teaching them how to use it productively. Since our leaders probably don’t have any sense, the transition is going to be much rockier. Unless a miracle cure comes along soon, we’ll likely undergo such a transition whether we want it or not, so it’s best to prepare.
We must begin making necessary items locally as soon as possible. Planting season is almost upon is, so land-owners should prepare the ground for farming once the warm weather starts. Farmers market produce will likely see a higher demand as federal supply chains break down. Manufacturing new tools will also be important, as tools made in factories are often more prone to wearing out. You can assume that any devices with the word “smart” in the title will be unusable before the end of the year, so those will need locally made replacements. There is a great incentive to begin local manufacturing of necessary items as soon as possible, as whoever gets in early is likely to come out of this rather wealthy.