Thursday, May 14, 2020

Covid-19 and No Fate but What We Make


I've always thought our future would resemble the scenario imagined in the film, Children of Men.

Now I see that my premonition is unfolding before my eyes in news headlines and social media discourse. But I also remember that we have existential freedom. We choose our fate.

There is only one way out of this disaster that we see unfolding before our eyes.

The only viable path forward entails these key elements/steps:

FULL TRANSPARENCY 

Information on the nature of the virus and human susceptibilities is currently fraught and contested. We need more effective and honest risk communication regarding nature and degree (short term and long term) of risk from virus synthesized by independent experts and articulated by respected authorities, leading to sensible and sustainable policies for limiting spread and treating impacted individuals and those who care for them (broadly conceived to include health care workers, grocery workers, etc)

DEMOCRATIC DELIBERATION 

The future is looking more and more authoritarian and exploitative. To the extent possible, LIBERTY, EQUALITY, JUSTICE and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS must be preserved and cultivated rather than discarded as currently happening.

FULL ECONOMIC SUPPORT  

The ongoing economic collapse is terrifying. If this continues, civil disorder will be upon us. Full economic support must be provided for the unemployed, the under-employed, and the otherwise economically vulnerable. Put aside your fears of "free riders" and "deficits." Our very being is at risk.

The public has erroneously been encouraged to fear deficits. However, this fear of deficits is a control mechanism used cynically to promote austerity (i.e., cuts in social spending and public support for education, transportation, etc). Austerity and deficit talk discipline and disempower the public, as explained by the "banker who came in from the cold," Joseph Stiglitz.

In contrast, Public Banking is rooted in an economic model that argues that nation-states and other sovereign entities have the power of coinage. They can produce money. The idea of banking in the public interest has deep roots.

The public Bank of North Dakota provides a US example and public banking is expanding into California. Public banking can invest in the social, ecological and economic welfare of communities through direct transfers and, even more importantly, in local infrastructural and economic development.

SUSTAINABLE LOCAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The time for local is now. We absolutely must adapt by bolstering our local capacities to meet FOOD, ENERGY, and other critical needs sustainably.

Funds from all available sources - public and private - national and local -  MUST be directed at bolstering communities' capacities to meet local needs (with the definition of local varying across geographic areas contingently).

Development should be sustainable ecologically, economically and socially in contrast to our current hazardous system (see Pollan's critique).

Local infrastructures must be grounded in respect for political pluralism and must be perceived widely as just, inclusive and democratic to the extent possible.

New trade pathways will emerge as localities trade in their area of specialization. This was, of course, Adam Smith's ideal market interaction based on trade among equals with varying specializations.


Nuclear energy is not the solution. Workers are old, and many are difficult to replace because of their expertise. They've been exposed to ionizing radiation at levels predicted to impact their longevity.  They are very likely to become ill and that could impact energy production, with terrifying consequences.

LEADERSHIP 

We are still waiting for leadership to emerge. It is still missing in action.

Leadership must be organically authenticated. That is, the type of leadership we need now is trusted by people across the diverse realms of everyday life. This means that leadership must emerge at local levels.

But simultaneously we need leadership at a national level to enable and empower more geographically-situated organizing.

Corporate executives and government officials need for once to put aside ENTRENCHMENTS and AVARICE for the welfare of the global and national assemblages that are collapsing before our eyes.

Spiritual leaders and organic story tellers must put aside their sectional divisions and come together in acknowledging and succoring humanity's shared fate.
 
OUR CHILDREN

I realize that our children are going to be traumatized by this great unraveling. We must all do what we can to love and protect them.

Local organizations that advocate for, and address, the needs of kids must be supported and empowered.

Children are our future. We must LOVE them as never before. And we must not only love our own children, but we must love the world's children for their fate is our own.

NO FATE but WHAT WE MAKE

The film serives Terminator in episode reminded us that as conscious beings who have terra-formed the earth - in ways beautiful and heinous - we still have the choice to make a better world:




Sunday, April 19, 2020

Covid-19 and The One Way Forward


Regardless of the origins of Covid-19, there is clearly only one way forward and that way is
One Love:



The story of the chimeric virus accidentally or deliberately released from the Wuhan Virology Lab often doesn't get into addition-of-function viral back histories in US, Australia and Canada labs (e.g., see here).

Concerns have been raised for years about the dangers of this high-tech enterprise (see https://mbio.asm.org/content/5/4/e01730-14.short).


Consequently, I argue that the narrative of covid-19 as a genetically engineered chimeric virus is most compellingly a story of collective responsibility and collective fate.

LESSONS LEARNED

The most important lessons from the story of the Wuhan lab are that technological hubris is our Achilles' heal and that Love and Collaboration for the Welfare of ALL must be prioritized, constituting the only viable path forward.

At this point virus origins are less salient than the question of how to re-build a ruptured global society.

MOVING FORWARD

What kind of social organization can emerge quickly enough with the theorized love and force capable of confronting not only existing apparatuses of exploitation, but also looming and potentially cataclysmic health/environmental challenges?

One thing is certain: People - everyday people - not just politicians and "experts" must be involved in the decisions that will shape what emerges out of the present collapse.


RESOURCES


Baler, Bret, & Re, Gregg. April 15, 2020 Sources believe coronavirus originated in Wuhan lab as part of China’s efforts to compete with US. Fox News. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/coronavirus-wuhan-lab-china-compete-us-sources

Josh Campbell, Kylie Atwood and Evan Perez, Thu April 16, 2020  US explores possibility that coronavirus started in Chinese lab, not a market CNN. Updated 10:37 AM ET, https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/15/politics/us-intelligence-virus-started-chinese-lab/index.html

Nadesan, Majia (2012). Commonwealth [review]. Organization https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1350508411431909

Monday, April 13, 2020

LA Times Article Discusses Scientific Uncertainties in Covid-19 Risks



Is the Covid-19 policy-response (shelter in place damaging global economy) worse than the Disease Risk?

Answers to this troubling question don't just hinge on immediate fatalities, but also long term effects and the possibility of dormancy.

A news article by the LA Times discusses UNCERTAINTIES about lasting damage to organs beyond the lungs and the potential risk of dormancy: 

Melissa Healy (April 10, 2020). Coronavirus infection may cause lasting damage through body, doctors fear. The Los Angeles Times, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-04-10/coronavirus-infection-can-do-lasting-damage-to-the-heart-liver

“COVID-19 is not just a respiratory disorder,” said Dr. Harlan Krumholtz, a cardiologist at Yale University. “It can affect the heart, the liver, the kidneys, the brain, the endocrine system and the blood system.”….

“I think there will be long-term sequelae,” said Yale cardiologist Dr. Joseph Brennan, using the medical term for a disease’s downstream effects…..

Another question that could take years to answer is whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 may lie dormant in the body for years and spring back later in different form.

As of now, no clear answers are available to plebs like you and me to these questions.

In the absence of clear accounts of dangers, the public is going to demand an end to shelter in place given the perception among many that disease impacts have been geographically localized and greatest in highly susceptible elderly populations.

I don't have answers here - just describing risk uncertainties and public emotional economies....