“The pain we feel is capitalism dying. It hurts us because we are still in it.”
That is one of the most stark lines in an article on www.medium.com titled The Mental Disease of Late-Stage Capitalism.
On the whole, I agree with this article but not totally. Here are my thoughts on the bigger picture that I think the piece does not look at deeply enough.
In the wake of virtually unfettered quantitative easing we have been left with the greatest wealth transfer in the history of the world to date, which has resulted in the ever-widening gap between the top 1% and the rest of us as those that have access to the new money first (the top 1%) can turn that fresh currency into actual wealth (land, precious metals, etc.), while the every day citizen’s money now does not buy them as much as it used to and they are forced to go into debt to bridge the gap. With this action, the cycle continues and expands as “new money” is created out of thin air with every debt transaction.
With employment landscape having shifted permanently and the ever-tightening reality of resource depletion squeezing the system as a whole like a python, the average working citizen is really feeling the strain and (for the most part) does not understand why this is happening to them. What happened to the future they were promised? They were supposed to have everything their parents had and then some, right? The infrastructure of the economy past that many believed would always be the way forward is crumbling because the natural capital, the real wealth on which it is based, is disappearing or becoming so prohibitively expensive to attain that it (and the products resulting from the extraction of it) are rapidly becoming unavailable to a majority of the world as well as the average citizen here at home. Most simply do not understand the larger forces that are impacting their lives on a daily basis and they are left frustrated, angry, and often times, broken.
The article states that…
“We are merely living through late-stage capitalism and our parents lacked the foresight to warn us about it. When a population explodes — as the human one did throughout the last century — eventually all manner of social institutions become over-crowded. From there, it’s simply a numbers game.”
It is true that when an exploding population is looking for work in a shrinking work space the prospects are not good but, to really get a handle on what’s going on you first must understand what made it possible for the exponential population growth we have seen in the first place. That would be everything from better medical care and vaccinations to greater food production and everything in between, all of which has only been made possible by our access to cheap energy, primarily oil. I believe it is clearly evident that while our access to this cheap energy has tightened over the decades (and will continue to do so), the forces unleashed by the original discovery and manipulation have continued to race ahead unimpeded and we are beginning to see what that looks like in the real world. All you have to do is take an honest look around to see the proof.
From a reality based, systemic point of view, we are headed down an ever narrowing and bumpy economic road as a society with no pull offs available to flip a U-turn, so we must find or forge a new road into our future. If we are not willing to accept and adapt to a future that will demand a new approach to economy and commerce, things will only get worse. It will not be pretty. We live on a finite planet and we must shake off the addiction to our virtually infinite wants and perceived needs and embrace a culture of re-localization and community if we are to have any hope of living in the type of hopeful and pleasant future that we would all hope to see and that is still possible to achieve. It can be done and we can certainly be the ones to do it, but only if we are brave enough to be honest with ourselves.