There is a war between the rich and poor,
A war between the man and the woman.
There is a war between the ones who say there is a war
And the ones who say there isn’t.
Why don’t you come on back to the war, that’s right, get in it,
Why don’t you come on back to the war, it’s just beginning.
Leonard Cohen 1974
Modern wars are funny beasts; they happen all the time but very rarely does anyone ever bother to formally declare it.
In the USA, Congress has the Constitutional duty/sole prerogative to declare war. Did you know that? How many times do you think they’ve done so since, say, 1942?
That part of the USA Constitution was broken once intercontinental ballistic missiles were capable of delivering nuclear warheads and a 3 minute warning was not long enough to hold a vote.
To Marxists, the real war used to be between the workers and the owners of capital. Since the Soviets lost the argument, many Marxists pivoted to looking for wars between ethnicities and gender, resulting in much of the lunacy in which this organ finds hilarity.
In the meantime, a massive war is playing out, hiding in plain sight, as illustrated by our Hierarchy of Kung Flu:
Where do you sit on this scale? Have you been Instagramming pictures of inedible home-baked sourdough and stodgy cakes?
Chances are you’re currently on the winning side of the war.
Now flip all of those statements upside down and put yourself in the shoes of that person. Obviously, the lower levels regarding health are universal, they could happen to all of us.
The real point of bifurcation between the combatants is the level 3rd from top; “I am a keyboard warrior; my income is unaffected“.
Depending on whether this is true for you is the difference between this period being a relaxing skive on your sofa, consisting of lazy mornings, online yoga, perfecting your barista technique on your Gaggia, chatting with your colleagues on Zoom, baking sourdough like an 18th century crofter, some online shopping, an early start on the Briar Ridge rosé and a pleasant evening with the significant other binge watching a streaming series OR absolute desperation as you deplete your sparse savings and watch your livelihood destroyed in just a few days by the stroke of a ministerial pen.
At its bluntest level, this is war between white-collar and blue-collar workers. Sure, it’s a fuzzy line; there are previously well-paid office workers who are now unemployed and wondering why they took out such large mortgages and there are blue collar workers who are still building and billing for their time.
In general though, the metropolitan types are having a lovely war, the people in the ‘burbs are staring down the barrel of destitution.
Magnify that out from your comfortable 1st world reality and look at the less developed countries.
India has hit “CTRL C/V” on the western world’s approach to COVID19 and enforced a 21 day lock down. Millions of the lowest paid workers have been told to somehow travel back to their home villages and have no additional source of income.
The human cost to this, in terms of malnutrition, riots, suicides, murders, etc. will clearly not be zero. Quite the opposite, in fact, it is probable there will be an appalling increase in harm to the population.
It puts the current 1st world problems into context but they are versions of the same issue.
The modern global economy has a complexity that is beyond the reach of current human understanding. Dismantling it at the stroke of a government pen has unintended consequences. It is not yet obvious from the available data which is worse; the effects of the virus or the consequences of the lockdowns.
It’s possibly a false dichotomy anyway. The choice isn’t and shouldn’t be framed as binary. Shutting down India as if it had an economy and society that operates like Switzerland seems like a regrettably poor choice.
Similarly, shutting down an economy in a consistent way across an entire national geography without reference to the multiple differentiating factors between regions isn’t logical.
The result is highly likely to be a continuation of the decades-old wealth transfer from the poorest to the richest. If you think you’re in the second category, I would warn against complacency; this trend is coming for you and yours.
Have a look at your luxury car, 2nd home, children’s private school, photos from expensive overseas holidays, etc. and take a moment to appreciate what might prove to be a view of the past during the “Roaring 2,000s“.