Back in 2009, we wrote about the emergence of a ‘lost generation’ as a direct consequence of the past recession (click here). Previous lost generations echoed in the makings of this post-recession lost generation, whereby, due to the recklessness of financial speculators and the audacious stupidity of political leaders, ordinary people finished paying for their undoing. In nontechnical terms, you might remember all those who, if they did not lose their job, finished working longer hours for less pay: the mantra was that you were supposed to feel grateful for being exploited; really? Meanwhile, millionaires became billionaires and billionaires became zillionaires; all thanks to tax-funded bailouts and yes, further financial speculation: the new commodity to trade was, in one form or another, your financial misery.
The Brits love the expression ‘lessons will be learned’: after a big crisis and the customary multi-million public inquiry taking years to complete, lessons are drawn so as not to repeat the same mistake ever again. It is like a joke really, as lessons are never learned. Here we are then, fast approaching the consequences of the biggest financial downturn in a century, the Covid-19 Depression, and the many lessons that will be learned. Or so we will be told. To save you the suspense, the number of billionaires and zillionaires will continue growing in tandem with the shrinking of the earnings and prosperity of anyone outside that selected club. The empire of ‘lessons will be learned’ perpetuated for the benefit of the few. However, there are reasons to suspect it might be somehow different this time.
Earlier in the decade we also wrote frequently about the proliferation and amalgamation of ‘adverse private forces’ in the 21st century and how this phenomenon was fuelling persistent levels of insecurity, worldwide (click here). Indeed, given the prominence of the trend, we even expanded PrivateMilitary org to incorporate new sections focusing on drug cartels, insurgents, organized crime, terrorist groups, etc. However, the future we originally conceived to be materialising late in the 2020s arrived a decade earlier and soon it became incredibly challenging to keep all those new sections updated; our apologies! We are talking here about, for example, terrorist attacks becoming so prevalent as to no longer making our hearts miss a bit. Do you remember when violent attacks due to crime, terrorism, or plain hate towards a group of people (e.g. using bladed articles or vehicles as weapons) were something that could only happen elsewhere?
Now, please project in your mind the above evolving dynamics against the backdrop of the potential consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak. Still on the early stages of the outbreak, you have heard about record unemployment even in the most affluent corners of the world. What would it be in a few months’ time? You might not be aware as you do not live in the security world like us, but there have been numerous localised uprisings around the world linked to restricted supplies (sometimes because people cannot generate an income to support their families), which sometimes require the use of a private security cover. Simultaneously, organised crime and all types of belligerent groups are already taking advantage of the situation. For instance, at the time this post was being written we heard of a few mass robberies, the targeting of health and pharmaceutical workers by mafias and militants, and countless cyber-attacks.
As it seems lessons will never be actually learned, one needs to assume that protracted low and medium levels of violence and insecurity will become the new normal in the Covid-19 Depression world, part of the local folklore. Only a critical change of the global mindset, a revolutionary movement seriously addressing inequality, environmental degradation, and political unaccountability can reverse this violent cycle. The time has come to start fixing problems collectively rather than simply outliving them. Yet, with historical hindsight, unlike for example 1968, we do not sense that happening any time soon. Therefore, besides doing your best to keep yourself safe, can we advise you to at least for the time being exercise your democratic rights more carefully and elect leaders who can actually lead and deliver positive change?