In the beginning, Cain killed Abel ... and nothing much has changed. No, this isn't a piece about morality or religion, it's about facts and statistics. Since the beginning of man, someone has always been trying to take advantage of someone else due to perceived weakness, and it continues through to this very day. The only difference is that instead of actually killing with their hands, those with advantage have found how to still profit off of human suffering, only now they do it through the fluctuation of monetary value on human life.
The Covid-19 pandemic, which as of this writing has killed over 500,000 Americans, has pulled back the curtain completely and exposed us all to the fact that when tragedy strikes, people are watching the deaths with dollar signs in their eyes. During this century, we have seen it time and time again.
Written By: Anton Sawyer
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At the beginning of the century, we got the Enron Scandal. Officially beginning in 2001, it showed the levels of depravity people would go to in regards to financial gain. I'm using broad-strokes here, but in essence, it had to do with power and stock manipulation. The business model, revenue recognition by shareholders, speculations, audits, a lot was happening—all while some of the richest people in the United States were getting richer. It wasn't until they got caught manipulating the stock market, an event in which people died in California of heatstroke, that the allegations and investigations ramped up. Though a lot of the blame fell on the shoulders of former President George W. Bush and his administration with its lack of regulations, it was the fact that those in power were able to profit from the deaths of fellow Americans. As we would come to see, profits from suffering and de-regulations have also helped lead to the deaths of many in Texas during the February 2021 catastrophic blizzard.
When setting up the infrastructure, then Texas Governor Bush lead the charge of massive deregulations in his state that lead to billions being made for those in the fossil fuel industries. Most of these have stayed throughout the years. These deregulations lead to wind turbines not being equipped with the de-icing equipment routinely installed in the colder climates of the Dakotas, and the power lines have little insulation. The possibility of more frequent cold-weather events was never built into infrastructure plans in a state where climate change remains a disputed concept. “Deregulation was something akin to abolishing the speed limit on an interstate highway,” said Ed Hirs, an energy fellow at the University of Houston. “That opens up shortcuts that cause disasters.” This is exactly what we have seen, with casualties as a result.
The largest money-maker for the wealthy in recent history has been Covid-19. There is a TON of minutia involved with this topic, but I will say The Wall Street Journal did an excellent job giving the numbers, context, and impact of Covid-19 on the market (link in the bibliography). The big takeaway from the piece is that anyone who has waded into the market during swoons—both big and small—has been very profitable over the past 10 years. Forbes gave the numbers in an August 2020 article, and their findings pan out with this research. Stock indices across the world lifted higher over the past month, powering the biggest August market jackpot in years—despite 14 million fewer Americans working in July 2020 than July 2019. The numbers seem to make even less sense when you look at the disparities in unemployment, and where the Dow Jones is at in the stock market. In November 2019, it ended at 28,054.41 with a national unemployment rate of 3.5%. One year later in November of 2020, Dow Jones hit a new high, over 30,000. At that time, the national unemployment rate was 6.7%—almost double that of the year prior.
How does the Dow Jones set a new record when we are at that level of national unemployment?
I know there are going to be those that reference the millions of "Middle-Americans" who own stock and how they will benefit. The latest available government data, via the Federal Reserve from 2016, shows a relatively small share of American families (14%) are directly invested in individual stocks but a majority (52%) have some market investment mostly from owning retirement accounts such as 401(k)s. New York University professor Edward Wolff, whose job it is to track wealth in America, found that even though almost half of all households owned shares either directly or indirectly, the richest 10% of households controlled 84% of the total value of these stocks in 2016.
Although the system is completely broken, it has taught me two very valuable lessons in all of this.
The first is that like the "Occupy Wall Street Movement," the Doge-coin faithful petered-out before any real change took place. As has been mentioned before, Indie Truther's own Nicole West had purchased some Dogecoins when it was starting to rise, curious if it would blow up like Game Stop stock as the Redditors and news commentators had been speculating. After several weeks, it has done pretty much nothing. Elon Musk has been tweeting about "the people's crypto," but it has not come anywhere close to stability at all or has gone anywhere near the one-dollar mark. Though I believe that it's because there's an infinite amount available, unlike the other "coins" it doesn't have a cap. Due to this, it is extremely unlikely it will ever have any significant value. It's like corn; it will just sort of be around forever with no concern for availability. For the day traders, it has not turned out anywhere near where they had hoped by this point. The window of opportunity has come and gone.
The second thing I've learned is that you are going to get a lot more wealth from the American financial system when digging graves than you will when giving life. Hope is what drove the Game Stop, AMC, Doge, etc. movements. Millions of people coming together to get their cut of the pie. Many jumping aboard knowing that with some financial solvency, the challenges of life would be more temperate. Some jumping aboard because they wanted to "stick it to the man." But it all stemmed from one place: that we could actually be involved in something that could level the playing field a little. These hopes and desires weren't enough. Though spoken about at the time, no government regulations were ever needed; with this kind of a movement, those in charge knew that all they had to do was wait.
It seems that this is nothing new. There have been people who've made money because of other tragedies throughout mankind. I'm sure someone in Europe somehow found a way to monetize the black plague. It's extremely disheartening to see that we have become so advanced, yet have moved so little. I guess my final feelings towards all of this is can be summed up one way; technically speaking, we are right now living in the financially richest time in American history. And it feels REALLY GREAT, doesn't it middle-class?
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