Yes, this breakdown is indicative of what’s to come

If you can fathom the big picture you could recognize that the economic side of this crisis is fully demonstrating what some of us have been saying: In modern life we live within the context of an insane social order.

It’s not just oppressive, it’s not simply unjust, it’s insane.

It’s a globalized rat’s-nest of mega-institutions, mega-technologies, “supply chains,” dominated markets, and financial casinos.

We’re dependent upon this uncontrollable, incomprehensible Rube Goldberg machine for our incomes and our sustenance. When it starts to go haywire the central bank authorities of the world start spewing out money, which goes god-knows-where as every enterprise scrounges and suctions.

My graduate degree is in economics and I can tell you this for sure: No one understands how The Economy works. It can’t be modeled, and it can’t be “fine-tuned.” It’s a surging of funds, now here, now there, driven by speculation and unsightly self-interest.

Within this absurd context of life atomized individuals and families try to cope. The talented or lucky tenth does OK. They tend to be the Active Ones, the people who have agency and visibility. They have no reason to complain. They’re the ones who are heard within the society, within the culture, and so what gets heard is pretty sanguine. Maybe another twenty percent (from a global perspective) have a life, and another thirty percent almost have a life. The rest, who barely cope or don’t really cope at all, see and hear those who are OK and figure their own lack of success must be due to personal inferiority. They more or less plod on.

It’s a sad and sorry social reality. That’s not in the news because those who are heard don’t feel that way and the rest of the people don’t perceive that they have a right to say (or even feel) that way. Anyway, to acknowledge that your job sucks makes it too hard to get out of bed in the morning and go there.

But the jobs do suck and the atomization sucks and the precarity sucks and the enervation of the complexity and congestion and overwhelmingness of It All sucks. Life within the Leviathan is an affront to our dignity.

It’s an ode to human ingenuity, creativity, and forebearance how ten percent do well, twenty percent do OK, thirty percent cope, and the rest survive within this context of life.

It’s come to this because we were driven to try to control nature and build up our cocoon of human-built cities, institutions, and technologies. It got bigger and bigger and more complex and more opaque and more unequal until arrival at this ultra-modern globalized mass/mess of hypertrophy. It’s very likely to break down more and more as we go “forward” from here. Gradually, after being frustrated and then chastened, people will withdraw, remove their attention from it, minimize their reliance upon it, and go back to the sanity of basic, natural, localized, community-based lifeways.

A co-editor of Green Horizon Magazine, Steve has been a Green movement activist for almost thirty years.