Crisis Time

I don’t believe in the crisis, in the economy, in whatever it is that’s supposed to be so bad about today, about right now, the age in which we’re living. The market tanked in 2008, everything got really bad, and we’re still trying to get out of it. That’s the narrative, right? I don’t buy it.

I think it’s all made up, a bunch of nonsense. Sure, something definitely happened. There was a housing bubble. Governments let banks do a bunch of stuff that they weren’t supposed to be doing. Lots of people lost lots of money. I’m not trying to trivialize stuff like people losing their homes of being out of work.

But crisis? Still? It’s 2013. There’s no crisis. Take two seconds out of your life and look up the Great Depression on the Internet. And then think about our “Great” recession. There weren’t any bread lines. The government didn’t have to start directly hiring its own citizens (although it should have.)

I’m just saying, this is supposedly the worst time in our nation’s history since the Great Depression. But everybody has an iPhone. Everybody’s still paying a ridiculously high monthly contract to use that iPhone. Everybody has access to the Internet. How is the crisis at all making our lives different?

Since 2008 I’ve gone to Ecuador with the Peace Corps. I came back to the US and had no trouble getting two different restaurant jobs. Things are supposed to be so bad, but there hasn’t been any decrease in the number of tourists travelling to New York to spend twenty dollars on a cheeseburger. Maybe it’s just because I live in New York, but all I see are people throwing money around, on cabs, on food, on cell phones and clothing.

By this point the crisis has to be totally manufactured. It’s good for politics. Each side came blame the other side as the reason for why things aren’t getting better. But things aren’t getting worse. I’d argue that there’s no real progress. If both sides got together and really charted a course for the future, history has shown us that there are great leaps we can take forward as a society.

And there are plenty of real problems. If we could stop fighting about how to pool our resources, we could eliminate poverty, we could commission new public works, provide higher education for everybody, even basic education. But there’s no time for that? Why? Because five years later we’re still just coming out of a recession. Right. We’re still in crisis mode. There’s no time think about anything except the immediate present.

Crisis is good for big business. Banks, conglomerates, they’re all making record profits. All while the rest of us are just kind of doing the same as we’ve always been doing. They can justify not hiring because, just like I said above, they can say, hey, things are still shaky. We’re too soon out of this mess.

I’m not going anywhere with this. I don’t like sounding preachy. I just think that the crisis is a bunch of baloney. As a species, we have the means to feed everybody on the planet, but we don’t. We have the means to help everybody get out of poverty, but we aren’t doing that. It’s too easy for us to point the finger at some imaginary mess, to say to those that aren’t doing so great, listen, you should be able to help yourself out buddy.

I’d love to see redistribution on a large scale. I’d love to see the government come in and mandate ridiculously high taxes for those hoarding all of their wealth. Because the people who have a lot, the people who have power, they aren’t using that power to make anything better for society at large. They’re stalling. They’re in the way. They cry crisis at every attempt to actually do something. Because they don’t want anything done. They have no reason to. Crisis has been good for business, great for their own bottom lines. Why change anything?

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