Goodbye Shared Economy
In the 1980s, I began my adult life understanding that the United States economy would enter an instant depression if the American consumer stopped spending. We all had to do our part, from North to South, East to West — with credit cards — to keep that economy humming! We knew the consequences. if we entered a depression the stock market would crash.
Back then, I ran into old people who lived through the 1930s depression, who turned off every light as they left a room. Who saved every rubber band, in a ball of rubber bands, for what purpose? It was never made clear to me. Me and all my young friends looked upon these relatives and rolled our eyes! Nonetheless, they made it perfectly clear you wanted to avoid a depression.
I wish I had those rubber-band balls now! I’d sell them for stress relief.
The pandemic has opened the hood of our economy and exposed…what? None of it makes sense. Whole industries have been shut down, from beach-umbrella rentals to air travel. We’re not in a depression (or so we’re told) and the stock market is behaving like the new iPhone will float us in air.
Which way is up? The workers? China? The banks? House flippers? Techies?
I’m rethinking everything. Forgive my ramblings! I am truly lost!
For as long as I’ve followed the economy I’ve read goldbugs predicting gold at $100,000 an ounce. There’s nothing new about those who argue the Federal Reserve operates a ponzi scheme. Or those who say the government is fiscally corrupt. Yet in the Boston area, around the people I relate to, everyone is doing just fine!
Yet for this boomer, it all seems so wrong!
Even if everything I knew about the U.S. economy was wrong, at least it made sense!
Maybe all is fine. I am biased from aging. It’s hard not to see all that is wrong in the economy when one loses their youthful vigor and happy-go-lucky vitality.
The stock market could go down 90%. We could be in a war with China over Taiwan. There could be millions starving on the street. There would still be plenty of people drinking stale beers and partying in decrepit basements, loving life.
Does it matter how the economy worked 40 years ago? I’ll pretend it does and describe what I see.
- Everything is political. Baseball is no longer just baseball. Or college just a 4-year party. Or policemen just dickheads you tried to avoid — or begged to show up when someone began waving a knife. Music was personal. You accepted your heroes as flawed. Everyone had their box. You didn’t throw shit from your box into another person’s box.
- Yet no one seems especially unhappy.
- Government workers, techies and professionals aren’t losing their jobs and have enjoyed new benefits in working from home. Few are clamouring to get back into the office.
- Young city people having taken the permission from changing their sex at the age of 15 to the outrageous level of taking the permission to not work either when they reach 21.
- Suburban sprawl citizens are supporting authoritarian groups that stand for everything thrown out by city social-superiorities.
- Everyone is arguing about everything. All words, few sticks and stones.
Interest rates aren’t the only thing as ZERO. So is our social intelligence. Love him or hate him, Putin has a point. It’s all been tried before.
Sinister things are afoot.
Political parties (or the government, but that’s misleading), fearing loss of income, are looking to take greater control of financial holdings. China has been waging a long-term battle to limit capital flight (things are about to get interesting). Australia tried to do away with “cash”. The Democratic Party in the U.S. has recently proposed gaining access to public bank accounts. If the U.S. and China have diametrically opposed governments in political philosophy, then what is the common thread behind both efforts to view (control) everyone’s financial holdings?
All that said, I love my fellow anarchists and authoritarians! I’m still free to pick my people! Lately, it hasn’t been as easy as I’d expect.