Earth is dragging the global economy to its very first rehab meeting. It means business, and not Business As Usual.
This is what Coronavirus will be remembered for: grounding flights. Shutting down schools, theatres, offices and restaurants. Cancelling major events. Shutting down major tourist destinations. Potentially cancelling the Tokyo Olympics. And as the virus continues to spread, the economic shocks begin to reverberate throughout the global economy. The roads are becoming empty, the shops are shutting down and the lights from space begin to look ever so much dimmer, even as the atmosphere over China clears of pollution day by day. Who would have ever imagined this was possible.
There is a much Bigger Patient
This virus is much, much different than any other virus that came before it. It arrived in the age of international trade and globalisation, Twitter and technological automation. It arrived in a world that is ever so much more connected than 2, 5, 10, 20 years ago. So much more connected than we had realised. This virus is revealing just how sensitive and interdependent the economic system of the planet is. It is a Jenga tower, hastily built and prone to collapse if just one of the bricks is pulled out.
While humans may be the direct victims of the virus, there is a much bigger patient, the real elephant in the room: the CO2 Machine that has been powering the planet’s eventual demise since the industrial revolution, through climate change. The Machine is being starved at both ends: demand, supply, and everything and everyone in between. The planet has began to deploy its most sophisticated arsenal towards climate change: biological weapons. And it is paying back humanity with the same token: we tried to choke the planet in CO2, it is now trying to choke us with a virus that is a respiratory pathogen. Isn’t it…vironic?
The Productisation of Existence
People on quarantine are getting bored. They are getting fidgetty. Our civilisation is so dependent on economic transactions that we cannot imagine ourselves without shopping or selling, without working like slaves on paper-pushing jobs so that we can buy more “stuff”. Our obsession with placing a price on everything so that it can be sold, our obsession with creating single-use products so that we can sell more of them, means that we eventually made this a single use planet. And we forgot what things are really actually worth, and most of all we forgot of all the things that were free. And we, instead of users of the products, we eventually became products ourselves, selling ourselves online and seeing each other and the other species of the planet as products too. Used, bought, sold, then thrown away like fast fashion.
The planet doesn’t like its timeless, ancient wealth and wisdom being price tagged and paraded on the Ebay of greed and mental illness that humanity has succumbed to. Earth wants her stuff back, in one piece.
to be continued…