John Waters –
This may be the most vital article you read about Covid. Italian writer/philosopher, Fabio Vighi, provides a quasi-total account of why the ‘pandemic’ was launched. It’s not about health, but wealth
Due to the unusual length of this article, and Substack’s limitations on the permitted wordcount of newsletters, it has been necessary to divide it into two parts. Part I is in text form below, and there is a link to Part II at the end.
Coming up on three decades ago, in the early years of writing my weekly column for the Irish Times, I fell into writing on a theme that might have been described as a critique of contemporary economics. I was not an ‘expert’: my sole formal qualification in economics was a pass in a Leaving Cert paper that, being doubtful if I had enough subjects to scrape through, I took at the last minute on the basis that, having plumped for Latin rather than Economics, I had sat with one ear cocked through numerous ‘free’ classes sleepily listening to half my class being rather reluctantly schooled in concepts like supply and demand,
inflation and recession. I found it more interesting than Latin but did not like the teacher. A ‘C’ allowed me to pass my Leaving Cert and escape from the horror of education.
I was probably not the only person in the world in the early 1990s who was beginning to think there was something wrong about the way we had slipped into thinking about economics, but I was certainly the only one writing about it in the Ireland of the time. The conventional economics-related arguments occurred between those calling for more ‘rationalisation’ — by which they meant greater profits — and those who saw public spending as an instrument of ‘redistribution,’ a kind of necessary governmental ‘humanitarianism’ to counteract the laws of markets. I thought both positions missed the obvious: the primary purpose of economics was to construct a model of human transactions that served the human need to live and coexist in
functional and comfortable material interrelationships.
This intention had seemed to become lost in a discussion in which there prevailed a notion that economics was about defending a ‘realistic’ view of work and production in which human beings had become a problem rather than the central beneficiaries. For a couple of years, but especially through 1993, I wrote persistently about this, regularly incurring the condescension of the economic establishment of the time. I wrote about the ‘downsizings’ and closures of industries, the starving out of essential and previously valued public services, the escalating obsession with increasing profit at all costs, the true meanings of wealth and poverty, the skewed conventional concepts of transaction costs, the persistent valourisation of global ‘values’ (what I called ‘the struggle against placelessness’), and the recurrent question: ‘Where’s the money going to come from?’
Much of the publicly-expressed thinking of that time seemed to presume a purpose for economics in which human beings were increasingly to be regarded as a drain on capital resources, an impediment to profitability, and therefore to future growth. In a narrow viewfinder, this seemed to make sense; but zooming out it emerged as contradicting the very purpose of having any theory of economics that was not the law of the jungle. I was moderately well-versed in the work Marx and the by then unfashionable Keynes, and rudimentarily so in the then ascendant neoliberal theories of Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek. More and more, it seemed to me that these discussions were not just morally awry, but recklessly skirting over hard and rational factors concerning the viability of the economic system itself.It had also begun to dawn on me that there was something odd in the way people calling themselves economists were leading us to think about the purpose of economy and, by extension, money. It was as if the subject, ‘Economics,’ had, by mutual consent of the discoursers, become indistinguishable from mere accountancy, reducing every argument to a puzzle about how to reduce the cost of human involvment in economic equations.