GSBTB’s website manager Rein Vyncke shares some thoughts about the global consequences of the Corona crisis, and how to approach our uncertain new world — including some good reading and listening suggestions to keep you busy while you’re staying home.
Hi friends. I hope you are good.
So, this is it, right? System crisis. The big one. Some of you may have seen it coming, others maybe not. Anyway, hold on, it’s gonna be quite a ride and we (Germany, Belgium) are only just at the beginning.
At this point of course, our first priority has to be to stay safe and take care of the people around us that need our help. Check in with older neighbors to see if they need something from the store, or if you should walk their dog. Stuff like that. But you already know that, right?
Another thing I would like to suggest though, is to take this time off to reflect about what kind of society we want after this pandemic settles down. Do we really want to keep on doing things the way we are doing things right now? Or are we going to turn this crisis into an opportunity to make a better version of our society?
The reason I’m writing this is because if we don’t start thinking about this now, if we don’t already start visualising the alternatives, then the outcome will be only more business as usual, until the next crisis comes along. The people that are in charge right now, know that we are confused and busy taking care of each other, and they are counting on this to silently take measures that ensure that nothing changes, so that they don’t lose their money and power. And of course it is us, the society, that will pay for this, and it won’t be cheap.
For example, I’m hearing rumours left and right about airline companies that already need bailouts (Richard Branson of Virgin alone says he wants 7 billion (!) euros from us). What this means, is that society (us) will pay a lot of money to private companies, so they can stay in business. And the consequence of that would be even more austerity in the years after the cleanup. It’s basically the same thing that happened with the banks in 2008: the banks failed because of mismanagement and outright criminal behaviour, we as a society have to bail them out, and after that there is no more money left, supposedly, so we have to work longer, our wages are frozen while rents are going up, we have to swallow cut after cut in social security, in the cultural fields, in our pensions and so on and on and on.
I for one, am so sick of this shit. But unless we are aware that this is happening, and we try to prevent it, this is exactly what’s going to happen. In fact, it’s already happening.
That’s why I think right now is a great time to educate ourselves more about all the things that we think of as “normal”.
Things like for example, economic growth. Is it really possible, or even desirable, to have infinite economic growth on a finite planet?
Also: money: educate yourself about how our monetary system really works. You will be surprised, I promise. Here’s a good link to start with — Stef Kuypers: Money, behaviour and society: the invisible link
And let’s read! Naomi Klein for example. Read “The Shock Doctrine”, her book that describes exactly what happened after the 2008 crisis, and what’s gonna happen again after this crisis – unless we prevent it. Or if you need some new ideas about how to organise a better society, and how to pay for all of that, please read her book about the Green New Deal, it’s brilliant.
It’s important to visualise the alternatives, because everything, everything starts with an idea. And without ideas about alternatives, things will stay exactly the way they are.
So let’s already start thinking about what kind of society we want after this crisis, so that next time they tell us there is no alternative, we can say, loudly: Yes there is!
Take care my friends, okay?