In reading an article in Wired Magazine about a man named Nathan Wolfe who has been predicting a pandemic like our current Covid situation for years, and his and other people’s efforts to bring that kind of thinking to the insurance/reinsurance business, I was struck by the realization that all of the thinking appeared to be about how to insure companies against these events, and no effort was being put into more life-affirming proactive efforts. Massive effort is being put into research about all kinds of negative fallout to companies in the event of natural catastrophes and how to protect them financially from those events, and NO effort is being put into changing the business models to insulate them from those events by changing the nature of their business and/or how they conduct those businesses.
Then I realized that this kind of thinking runs throughout our Western culture, seeing life in terms of financial repercussions, and how to protect against those damages, but very little relative effort being put into mitigating our “on the ground” exposure to them, and stopping them before they start. No changing practices at companies, no building publicly funded programs to insulate the public from consequences, no investment in technologies that would mitigate or eliminate the actual threats themselves, (think Global Warming as a primary example, something that we actually could literally prevent before it happens – more), literally almost all of our thinking is of the negative and reactive type, not the positive proactive type.
And of course thinking along these lines led me to the “why” of our societal non-response to this problem, which is rooted in the very simple dollar cost, which is itself rooted in our current culture’s conviction that the only measurement of value that society shall use is money, and that no other measure has any merit.
And of course now we see the fallout from that type of thinking, particularly and spectacularly in the case of the USA, where our level of commitment to money and profit and the rights associated with being able to continue to exercise our business and lives in pursuit OF money and profit, has led to the USA being the global leader in the Covid pandemic and deaths from it. And the reasons for those results can be traced directly to our culture’s obsession with money and the pursuit of it, while placing it equal to or above even HUMAN LIVES in terms of how we value it as a society.
I find this remarkable, that we have elevated a fictional made up tool to become equal to or more valuable than human lives and the experiences that make up those lives. But it appears to be true, at least in the USA, certainly our “leaders” and the “Shareholder Class” believe it to be true, and are willing to sacrifice sizable numbers of human lives and cause untold amounts of great suffering amongst those whom they feel are less deserving than they in order to continue the pursuit of money/profit.
Even more astonishing, those leaders and business owners/investors have managed to convince a very large segment of the American public to join them in this viewpoint, even while that stance puts them and their friends and families at risk of disease and even death as a result of that economic choice.
I often wonder if the obsession with money is why all businesses are fascinated only by financial responses to natural calamities, and how to lower risk by offloading it into insurance and C.Y.A.-style reactions, and NO effort is put into proactive efforts to stop or mitigate catastrophe before it happens. Well, in truth I don’t wonder, I’m fairly certain this is the basic truth of it.
I often wonder about the quality of human life we could have if we added human lives and our personal experiences of those lives to our system of measuring the “success” of those lives.
For example, how much better would the human experience be if the entire world decided that we were going to prioritize switching to free sustainable energy within say a decade, and we would leave fossil fuel/coal/gas/etc forever and energy would be generated by solar/thermal/wind/etc, and would be free to all who needed it. That kind of thing could actually be done, we’d just all have to agree to put aside “profit” for a moment and decide to save our planet/ourselves as a reasonable priority.
But we’re under the spell of the False Religion of Profit Above All Else, including our future, and the lives of our children and their’s and so on…and so nothing is done. And that spell is a created thing, a desired thing, a need created by the Very Rich to allow them to create and then control a system that allows them to order society along lines that benefit only them, and create a modern feudal society in which they are the Lords, and we the Vassals.
We live in Fear so much of the time, fear of losing our livelihood, our freedoms, our health, our lives, but because of our allegiance to the false Gawd Of Profit we are ensuring that we will indeed lose all of those things.
We are investing in our own Doom, the very thing we Fear.