Alternatives to Killing People for the Economy

I barely know how to balance my household budget, let alone fix the economic crises facing the world, but…I do understand the social contract that got us all here in the first place.

That social contract goes all the way back to the earliest days of homo sapiens, and it’s based on co-operation /within/ the group which allowed the group to compete with the ‘outside’. In other words, the group was stronger than each individual and therefore protected the majority of individuals within the group.

Even today, herbivores that can’t fight off predators on their own congregate in large herds. The sheer size of those herds provides a measure of safety to every animal in the herd…except those on the very edge. Yet even they have a better chance with the herd than if they were on their own.

Humans are herd animals whether we want to admit it or not, and all the rules and structures we’ve invented over the millennia evolved to allow ever increasing numbers of humans to live in our herds without turning on each other.

Thus protection from the ‘outside’ always required an element of compromise. For example, to allow the herd to survive, individuals are banned from killing each other. When that rule is broken, punishment follows.

No one wants to be punished, but we accept it because it’s still better than being deprived of all the benefits society [the herd] provides.

This, at its most basic, is the social contract. It’s what we expect of our governments and institutions. It’s the reason we accept rulers, the Law of the Land [herd] and pay taxes.

Unfortunately, being human, we always want more. More goods, more safety, more power, more ego stroking. And that’s okay too, up to a point.

What point? The point at which the desires of individuals start to threaten society as a whole.

I believe we are at one of those points now. The primary role of government, any government, is to protect the lives of its citizens. Instead, our governments are sacrificing lives to protect an imaginary concept called ‘the economy’.

The following article by Cynthia Kaufman explores the idea of the ‘economy’, how it works now, and how it could work in the future. As she says “The economy exists to serve our needs, it isn’t a god which requires sacrificial victims.’

Cynthia Kaufman

As the U.S. begins to reopen after being shut down to protect us from spreading Covid-19, many people are beginning to talk about a choice between what is good for the economy and what will keep us healthy. Much pain and suffering has come as people have lost their livelihoods and their homes, and so we need to move quickly to put into place the things that will ensure that people have what they need to live. But rather than sacrificing people for the economy, we need to rethink what we mean by โ€œthe economy.โ€ No one needs to be killed for us to have a healthy economy.

We live in a world where there is enough of everything we need for us all to live well, and to do so within the ecological limits of the planet. And yet, as the Covid-19 crisis has laid bare, the social systemsโ€ฆ

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

24 responses to “Alternatives to Killing People for the Economy

  • roughwighting

    Excellent title that definitely got your readers’ attention. Phsaw. Since when did common sense make sense to the homo sabien? Well, come to think about it, common sense is one of the biggest reasons we’re still in the “race” to live. I agree with all you say here. May common sense prevail. Oh, and I listened to the track you gave us in your next post. Thought I’d find it too ‘weird,’ but instead, I found it fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Hey…nice to see you. -hugs- Are you okay?
      On my good days I believe common sense will prevail. On other days… -shrug-
      lol – I’m glad it was fun. I have to tell you, listening to Soundcloud while I write is like discovering brightly coloured eggs on an Easter Egg hunt. These days I only go to Youtube when I’m looking for a video trailer to go with an artist I’ve found.
      Speaking of writing, are you managing to do any?

      Liked by 1 person

      • roughwighting

        I’m doing so much better now that I “feel” my mom all around me. The last days of her life were tortuous for her, and for her family since we couldn’t be there to give hugs and love. But I’ve discovered that she felt it all along. And her energy is flying brightly all over the place (if this sounds too woo woo, sorry ’bout that). ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the way you describe music that appeals to you – like finding brightly colored eggs. I feel like that when I read a great book, or write a story that I’m happy with. Yes, I’m writing , and just posted a new story. Check it out! xo

        Liked by 1 person

        • acflory

          I’m so glad you’re feeling better. And no woo woo. I don’t believe in an afterlife and yet, when my sister-in-law’s mother died we all saw something quite amazing. The wake was held out in the country at a lovely restaurant, and just as everyone was leaving, an eagle appeared. It circled us for a little while before flying off. The rational part of my mind doesn’t know what to make of that, but I tear up every time I remember what it /felt/ like, there, as we said goodbye to Joan. We all felt it too. So…I’m glad you’ve found your mother again. And I’m so glad you’re writing again too. -massive hugs-

          Liked by 1 person

        • acflory

          p.s. Just read your story and it’s soooooo clever. ๐Ÿ˜€

          Liked by 1 person

  • Widdershins

    I don’t think the changes she advocates will happen … (I hope they will, but it’s such a little hope) the money’s too well entrenched, the gap between the ‘have’s’ and the have-not’s’, this time around is too wide … and the Covid-19 death toll notwithstanding, there are just too many damn humans.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      I wish I could disagree, but I can’t. The best I can hope for is an incremental change that gradually snowballs. Of course, that snowball will probably take a whole lot of generations to start rolling, but even such a slow start would be better than the prospect of ‘business as usual’. :/

      Liked by 1 person

  • robertawrites235681907

    An interesting post, Meeks. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  • D. Wallace Peach

    The title of your post made with laugh with dark humor. That the topic even needs to be addressed is astonishing and disturbing. Thanks for pointing me toward Cynthia’s post. Heading over to read. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  • Remembering Lives

    I have always hated the phrase for the greater good, for much the same reasons described here. So much evil is done in this world in the name of being for the greater good. When I used to complain about safety issues in schools, my concerns were usually minimized for much the same reason. We need to look after everybody. I do understand there is always a delicate balance but surely if we have learned anything in the past few months, it is that sometimes to go forwards, we need to be prepared to take a step backwards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Agree completely. There’s a world of difference between citizens choosing to sacrifice themselves to defend their country and being chosen for sacrifice without ever knowing what hit them.

      Liked by 1 person

  • MELewis

    Thank you Meeka, for your always enlightening shares! You really break down the social contract in a way that speaks to me. I have subscribed to Cynthia’s blog too. Interestingly, I saw Thomas Piketty interviewed on a French talk show the other night but didn’t pay him much mind. I see now I should have.

    Liked by 1 person

  • cagedunn

    I think there’s a lot who can’t distinguish between democracy and capitalism. Or won’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Yes. I blame the lack of general knowledge and/or history for that. When you’re born into a system, you take it for granted until someone or some thing opens your eyes to the reality. Capitalism is actually killing democracy, imho. :/

      Liked by 3 people

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