Thursday, December 31, 2020

Goodbye 2020: Who to direct anger to for COVID-19 economic hardships.

Many people are writing and talking about how they are happy to see the end of 2020. I posted a Goodbye 2018 as that had been a rough year for me personally. I hadn't been up to writing anything that year since April when I wrote about my new job.

Since then I have been thinking about my future in a different way than I had in the past. The year 2020 introduced changes greater than 2019.

This Gregorian calendar year I paid close attention to a series of events: Wet'suwet'en blockades, conspiracy theories about COVID and China, and the most recent Black Lives Matters protests.  This inspired me to learn more, and I started some self-directed anti-racism training. As I was born in a place recently called Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, this quickly lead me to learning about the indigenous civilizations and peoples of this homeland.

This has been a important turn in my own life. While there was some discomfort during this year due to the pandemic, I feel I am in a better position to be helpful in upcoming years.

I now see the events around me differently.

COVID-19

I have not suffered a personal loss from COVID this year, but I know other people who have. The people who are closest to me have been taking this pandemic seriously and following health and safety measures. This is regardless of what politicians have been saying, as I don't see politicians as a source of truth.

 

I have observed a selfishness with more distant acquaintances I interact with online. Given the fatalities have been considerably higher than terrorism, logic would suggest that the willingness to respond would also be higher.  This has not been the case, and I've noticed that some of the very people who are willing to take extreme measures to fight "terrorism" have been claiming that there are "civil liberties" concerns with the minor public health measures required to fight COVID.

Due to this childishness, various governments have been forced to step in and impose lock-downs: and there are people so oblivious to the world around them that they are protesting the lock-downs.


It has been a big lesson in how "privileged" some people feel, especially when I compare to what I've learned about how the civilizations that have existed in parallel with European colonialists and settlers have been treated since contact.  These Canadians feel like their rights are being taken away, while feeling no need to acknowledge or compensate First Nations, M├ętis, or Inuit for the many orders of magnitude greater infringements that are ongoing today.  It is hard not to file Canadian complaints under "white privilege" and leave it at that.

Its the economy, stupid

Or is it the stupid economy?

The non-medical hardships people are feeling from the pandemic are a matter of policy choice.  I wrote about this in April when people first started suggesting that public health measures were too strict, and it was gong to harm "the economy".

Western countries using western economic systems, and countries that have had flawed western economic theories forced on them by the Breton Woods Institutions (World Bank and IMF), are extremely fragile.  They superficially appear to be working while there are no emergencies, but the slightest problem (IE: unaccountable lending to home "owners") and you end up with a crisis.

We have known for a long time that due to travel patterns and ongoing human expansion that a global pandemic was inevitable. While avoiding the pandemic would have been hard (reducing population expansion, moving away from western worldviews which think of humans as separate from the natural world), reducing the fragility of the economy would have been comparatively easy.   And yet, nothing was done.


Ask yourself why we haven't had something simple like a Universal Basic Income for decades?  This is far less expensive to administer than the patchwork of subjective government programs currently being operated, and would have been an obvious part of emergency preparedness. People in countries like Canada have no legitimate reason to ever worry about paying for the necessities of life, no matter what external emergency exists.  If anyone is worried about these things, it is by design and those policy makers who are generating this crisis should be held accountable.

Instead we have dishonest misdirection, claiming it is public health measures that are causing personal financial problems rather than unaccountable policy makers.  Anyone who is feeling a hardship should be angry, but not at lock-downs but incompetent (or often corrupt) politicians who didn't put adequate emergency preparedness measures in place.

Those of us in Ontario will likely be in for some additional politician created economic hardships in 2021. We currently have a "Finance Minister" who thinks it is possible to "accidentally" travel to a Caribbean island during a global pandemic -- all while preparing early to have staff send social media posts to try to hide that vacation travel.  This isn't a person I would trust loaning $20 to, so obviously not something trustworthy enough to be a cabinet minister, and especially not trustworthy to be allowed anywhere near Ontario's finances.

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