Among the weird and wonderful money-free activist community, there are many doomsday sayers seemingly enthralled with the prospect of the imminent collapse of the financial system and capitalism. While I confess a part of me would certainly relish that spectacle, my overwhelming rationale draws me back.
Sorry to say, but it may be time to put away your masks, memes and gallows. The collapse isn’t coming. And here’s why. But first a little history…
In 2008, something very strange happened. There was a co-incidence of events that, I think, was arguably the closest thing to a complete collapse we will ever see.
The first event was a spectacular financial short-circuit that blew a large hole in the side of the banking system, completely exposing its inherent fragility – leaving its emperor posing proudly naked on a plinth of worthless securities while global governments fought to control the ensuing confidence blaze.
The second event was the ongoing rapid ascendancy of social media at that time, as the internet really began to take the shape that we see today. Massive adoption of Facebook, Twitter and Youtube saw an online population emerging – without social filters, fake news, over-crowding and clickbait – all logging and sharing the entire unfolding spectacle.
Suddenly, what many people subconsciously felt but never uttered, was that somehow the banking game was up. The foundational scaffold of our society – money – was shown up to be a scam. Everything was debt, with legions of suited financial lotharios who had been cashing in in insane numbers on the misery of others. Banks appeared more like casinos playing a giant computer game on the fortunes of desperate people who could scarcely afford their homes.
It was perfect timing. The villain was outed, and EVERYONE was watching.
And they assembled. And they got mad. Soon, millions of people all over the world were taking to the streets demanding change and to hold those responsible to account. (To those of us promoting a money-free agenda, they were heady days indeed)
It almost worked.
Unfortunately, the Occupy Movement, in spite of its massive global footprint, was heavy on action but light on vision. Yes, they were mad. Yes, they were organised. But they had no substantive goal. No solution. And so it ultimately dissolved.
Order was soon restored, some people were held to account, new laws were hastily cobbled together and everyone basically carried on exactly as before. The debt game was safely curtained again.
[As an aside, it’s quite an impressive example of how easily our attention gets swayed to and fro just because something becomes visible. Our system of stimulating growth through debt hasn’t changed one iota, yet is safely tucked from view]
So why then do I believe that we will never again see the likes of such a crash or worse? Well, here goes the four reasons:
Reason One: ‘Fool me once..’
If you think you were surprised by the 2008 crash, imagine how surprised were the architects and guardians of that system, whose sole purpose was to protect and preserve that illusion?
2008 was more than enough of a warning to them. They will do everything in their power to ensure that never happens again. And, given the massively connected nature of corporate media, government and business, that’s a lot of persuasive power.
Reason Two: Debt is infinite
The fact that global debt clocks keep running and running doesn’t mean they are going to explode some day. They can quite happily run forever. There are already multiple layers of concealing and rebranding debt in the realm of economic psychobabble, and there’s no reason why this behaviour shouldn’t continue.
So, in the future, instead of seeing large institutions suddenly implode, they will more likely be gently ‘eased’ into nonexistence, or merged, or restructured quietly out of public earshot. In other words, rather than a collapse, we will see tightly stage-managed economic restructures and manoeuvres.
Reason Three: Technological re-employment
Time and time again the threat of technological unemployment has failed to deliver. Since the nineteenth century, we have lived under the doomsday threat that one day mechanisation will render humans obsolete, and that the day is fast approaching. Well, here we are nearly two hundred years later and it still hasn’t happened – hardly a jot in fact. So what’s going on?
The reason technological unemployment won’t happen is simple: The pay-to-live system in which we operate always drives people towards economic productivity of some form or another. In other words, as long as we believe jobs are required to live, we will find ever more ingenious ways to create them. The technological unemployment revolution will begin only when people begin to believe otherwise.
Reason Four: It’s highly resilient
The beliefs that support the pay-to-live system are deeply embedded in those most closely involved with its operation. ie. Big business, banks, governments, etc. The personnel who grease the system are so financially, personally and emotionally invested in it, they cannot remotely conceive of another way.
So even in the unlikely event of another crash, they would immediately divert all their energy and resources into picking up the pieces and putting the machine back together again in a timely fashion.
And it’s not that they’re ‘evil’ or anything. It’s just that they’re so far invested and influential in it.
My title “Look out, the collapse isn’t coming,” is not meant merely as a droll irony. It’s a warning. Don’t be complacent waiting for the monster to tumble to the ground before putting your energies into creating a better system. If that happens and you do, you will almost certainly be too late. The oligarchs will have already have sprung into action at that stage and they are far better prepared, resourced and organised than you will ever be.
Do what you can today to expedite the alternative system you wish to see. No work or effort is ever wasted and will all go towards laying the foundations of a better way.
Finally, I don’t even think an ‘entirely new system’ is a useful way of looking at it. There are many great facets of the existing system that can be re-purposed for the greater good. To name just a few, barcodes are a great way of tracking inventory, local councils are fantastic at identifying local issues, giant corporate factories and depots can be re-purposed to distribute commodities for everyone, government admin and infrastructure is already highly organised to help deliver essential services, etc.
In short, we don’t need to create a new system, we just need to virulently infect this one with better ideas.