A thought on pyramids

I read today that workers around the world have lost a collective $3.7 trillion during the pandemic. During this same period the billionaires of the world have increased their wealth by a staggering $3.9 trillion.

Dan Price, CEO of of the online credit card processing company Gravity Payments, called it “the biggest one-year wealth transfer in history”. In the very simplest terms this is like every worker in the world emptying their pockets into the laps of their bosses. How is any of this even possible?

I think it’s because we’re living in one massive pyramid scheme. Traditional pyramid schemes make money by recruiting members with a promise of payments for enrolling other members into the scheme. What the transfer of $3.9 trillion so eloquently illustrates, and events around the world demonstrate, is that this system is completely unsustainable business model.

Money cannot continue to be extracted in this way. At some point this vast pyramid will collapse. You cannot move such vast sums of money away from the majority, where it’s the difference between life and death, into the hands of the very few, and it not have consequences.

At some point, those paying tribute will have nothing to give. Those desperate souls, with nothing to lose, will realise the cause of their suffering, and seek to balance the scale.

A thought on flags

Pride in flags doesn’t feed hungry kids, or pay the bills, or fund the NHS.

Image: Vivienne Westwood

The Today new guidance was issued by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport department about flags. No urgency about housing, or jobs, or COVID deaths, or corruption, or any of the thousand other things that are important at the moment. Today the Tories are insisting the Union flag be flown on all government buildings, every day. “Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden described the flag as “a proud reminder of our history and the ties that bind us”.” For me flags represent death. All flags are soaked in the blood of all those lives cut short defending the country it represents. Now they’re being used by the Tories as a substitute for real policies that bind communities. Pride in flags doesn’t feed hungry kids, or pay the bills, or fund the NHS. The irony is, the ministers ordering compulsory flag waving, wouldn’t actually defend that flag. They wouldn’t die for it. They’re cowards. And if you won’t die for it, your proclamations are just jingoistic rhetoric.

Watched Upgrade (2018)

Watched RocknRolla (2008) again

For me this might be Guy Ritchie’s most accomplished film. He takes his version of mock cockney to it’s apotheosis, with more of the usual geezas with guns. The world he creates only exists in Mr Richie’s imagination, but he does manage to make it intriguing and watchable. Playing on all kinds of stereotypes he unpicks our expectations. Although even with all of his inventiveness, I still can’t escape the idea that I’m watching is a posh boy deconstructing working class roughness.

What’s the point of government?

Imagine what it would be like to watch an incompetent government screw up your life, and maybe get you killed as they do it. What would that look like?

Perhaps we’d watch them stagger through this COVID-19 crisis like Stone Trolls trying to escape the sun. Lumbering panicked from one broken promise to another.

How would you feel if the government lied, and lied again. Treating every citizen with the kind of contempt you might have for the gob of gum stuck to your shoe?

What kind of person would lead this chaos? He’d have to be someone unwilling to face and average person, look them in the eye, and speak from the heart?

The Stone Troll’s heart is a purely functional organ. Something so tough it can’t be scratched by emotions like shame or regret, compassion or humility.

If we had a government like that, we might look at their stage managed announcements and ask, why do they rattle past so quickly? Why do they go by unchallenged?

Would it be ruthless to think they’re hiding something? They must think we’re fools? Why else would they present failures as success, and expect us not to notice.

I might respond by calling them cowards, or point out their arrogance. I’m guessing their replies would let me know, they see us as weak, infantilising us for their own benefit.

Why would any government think of its citizens as children? Perhaps they want us to treat them as a parent, a strict and infallible patriarch, there to scold us, tell us what to do?

If that’s how it is, I want to know, has the tail always wagged the dog? And if the government’s wagging its citizens, we’re not living in a democracy, we’re living in a system of oligarchy. Where the many are ruled by the few.

A government like that might think we should take the virus on the chin, to “protect the economy!” If that’s their priority it might be reasonable, under the enormous pressure of a pandemic, to feel like their “democracy” might falter.

People might realise who the government is really serving. To protect itself a government might be forced to respond. Rationalise a system wide collapse, and offer to pay a companies staff, so they can implement a lockdown.

Win. Win. Protect the interests of the oligarchy while maintaining the illusion of democracy.

If that lockdown continued, how long before the mouthpieces for the few start agitating for a return to business?

Would the government relax the order to stay at home, knowing people will mix and contract and spread the virus? Is it wrong to think they’d put everyone at risk in this way?

But the Stone Trolls see us as feckless children too stupid to stand on our own two feet. If they thought something different, they’d maintain a lockdown until the danger had passed.

Which leaves one final question. What’s the point of government if all they do is service the needs of the few?

My reply to the text message from UK_Gov

I got a text message this morning from UK_Gov. Not sure how they got my number?!? That’s the subject for another time. But if they’re going to start texting me on my personal phone, I feel it’s my right to offer my two penneth.

Watched Ad Astra (2019)

A melancholic examination of loss and pain, duty and belief, and what it is to be human. It borrows somewhat from Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. A man goes to the farthest reaches of the universe in search of the truth, in this case his father, and realises truth is in the people we hold dearest.

Watched The Invitation (2015)

A tight, well constructed thriller, that’s as suspicious as it is believing.

Watched It Comes at Night (2017)

A very well executed thriller with a beautiful enigmatic ending. It’s what Netflix is doing best. Low budget films that once might’ve had limited theatrical release. Now it’s there for us to find for not very much a month.