The Elephant vs. the Virus
George L. Humphries, Guest
Like many of us I have been doing extensive reading on this plague and plagues that have come before.
Opinions abound, and in general fall into one of only two categories — opinions largely based on medical-technical grounds, and opinions based on largely political-ideological grounds.
In the month of March the weight of comments was decidedly towards medical opinions, and now the pendulum has swung back toward political opinions.I am not including economics in this bipolar matrix as that is closely connected to politics.
And of course, we have all become living room epidemiologists and economists.
The decisions made to mask and shutter were political decisions, heavily influenced by expert medical-technical advice at the highest levels, in turn influenced by ongoing experience in places where the hospitals and morgues were overflowing; any doubts as to the indicated course of action were overcome by rising body counts.
Now we are to the right of that boom, but the question remains as to how long we should remain covered and cloistered.
And again, to see and do or hide and recuse is a political decision, now still influenced by expert medical-technical advice at the highest levels, but also pressure from economists, industrialists, business owners great and small, and the man not-in-the-street but who wants to be. With a certain seasoning, just to bring out the taste, from Right rights advocates and the religious who seem unable to talk to their invisible Friend without the able assistance of the pastor, with his hand held out (and not to greet, in this case).
In the legal profession a goose egg would be drawn around all this and it would be labeled “Controversy.” Meaning the parties and their paid representatives would be given the opportunity to argue their points in court, and the side with the best argument would walk away the winners, while the other, losing side, would pay court costs, and any prize money that was specified in the original demand. Which would not mean that one side was “right,” merely that it won, by force of superior argument.
I would suggest that is what we have here, a controversy, with opposing arguments each with their own foundations. On one hand we have the primarily medical-technical arguments, and on the other, primarily political-ideological arguments, reinforced in this case with economic evidence.
Yep, people need to get back to work so they can have a paycheck, after that, “the economy needs to get going again,” which is similar but different.
However, I would like to add that there is something missing from all of this, and that is the unmentioned Elephant in the room that affects everything, and that is the under-girding Global, interlocking financial system.
Why is it that furloughed employees are squeezed by not being able to pay their bills?
Why is it that businesses are squeezed by not being able to pay their rents, loans and utilities?
Why is it that ministers of the economy of countries around the world are proposing to float huge bond initiatives to keep their peoples from starving, make public payrolls and pay interest on their national debts?
Amazing it is, that these supposedly powerful heads of state and captains of industry are so cowed as to not ask the begging question and propose the obvious solution — tell the (expletive deleted) bankers to (expletive deleted) off and stand the (expletive deleted) back while this plague is scything a human swathe, or pay the consequences, and not in money.
This is in essence what Iceland did when they got smacked by the effects of the 2008 Recession. In this, the tiny nation showed its true Viking spirit, while the rest of the governments in Europe allowed the financial crisis that originated in the US — not in the economy but in poorly regulated financial markets — to destroy lives, crater economies and create political chaos.
So to conclude, it makes no sense whatsoever to me that heads of state and legislators, supposedly elected to make things work, pull out their thinning hair trying to come up with and negotiate solutions, but are too timid to suggest that the financial dog sit on its haunches and wait for its bones, rather than wag the entire construct of western civilization, just because it can, and no one has the cojones to tell it no.
In other words, we could afford a longer quarantine if we chose to regulate and control the banksters, rather than continuing to permit the banksters to regulate and control all of us.