“It’s all about the economy, stupid,” and with that one line Bill Clinton not only set the tone of an election campaign but captured the essence of the lie that we live in.
The economy – we say it every day. Talking heads furrow their brows and mutter half rational half hopeful pronouncements about the economy as if it were the single most important thing in our every day lives.
The economy - that nebulous thing that we use to describe growth - if it’s good for the economy, then it must be good for us all. It’s a lie that fits equally snugly into political manifestos of every hue. The common good is growth.
We don’t question that. It’s about time we did.
Just to emphasize my point here is a list of things that happen outside the all-important “economic framework.”
These are the very elements that define us as humans and yet the all knowing, all seeing, all powerful economy rolls on, oblivious to the essence of us.
I suspect that that is no accident.
We have becomes pawns in a system that regards us as little more than cogs in a machine. We are, for want of a better word, wetware. We slave away within the bowels of this great beast, not knowing its purpose, nor caring. We endure, we hope and we strive to succeed in a game that rewards a chosen few and punishes the rest for not being made of the right stuff.
We are being shafted.
If you spend five minutes digging into wealth distribution, you will tumble down a rabbit hole involving the decline of the middle class, the abolition of tariffs, free trade agreements, student debt, the decline of real wages and inevitably the military-industrial complex and the surveillance state. But the machinations of the economy grind on – it’s management is all important. The wheels must keep turning.
But, we feed the machine. We are encouraged to buy stuff we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like and our actions are “good for the economy.”
This is all that we’re good for – we must consume, we must not think, we must accept our lot. We must conform.
Of course, we are entertained, with mindless reality TV, blockbuster propaganda movies, meaningless sporting contests billed as epic battles and the inane echo chambers known as social media platforms.
We aren’t meant to think. We aren’t meant to question. We are meant to be smart enough to operate the machines, spend our dollars and feed the economy.
This is electric feudalism on steroids.
Imagine if the economy crashed.
Would life be better or worse?
Imagine local communities banding together to help each other. Imagine the almighty dollar being replaced by local forms of barter. Imagine fast food enterprises disappearing. Imagine people growing their own food. Imagine a sense of community returning to your local area. Imagine the massive illicit drugs economy stalling because the rivers of guns and money that finance the operation cease. Imagine local people working in local places doing needed work because it’s needed. Imagine covert electronic surveillance of your every move stopping. Imagine local people making local decisions in the interests of local people.
Imagine people rediscovering their spirituality, creativity and sense of individuality.
They could if we started to put people first and stopped worrying about numbers.
That’s subversive thinking, but I like it a lot.