Did you know the economy was booming? This may come as a shock to anyone out there who a) is alive or b) has to buy things, but it’s definitely true.
MSNBC and the New York Times said so.
Mehdi Hasan did a segment on his show:
NBC report “President Biden’s approval rating has fallen to lowest level of his presidency despite booming economy”, and Hasan just doesn’t understand why people would be “unhappy with the way Biden is handling the economy” when wages are growing and they’ve added a “record 6.4 million job” in 2021.
Now, OK, that reported 4.5% wage growth is lagging way behind inflation, meaning in real terms people are being paid less.
Yes, alright, the “new jobs” were really just (some) of the people who lost their jobs during lockdown being rehired.
And fine, the reason spending is increasing could be that everything costs more.
But seriously, we’re fine, it’s booming.
Now, some booming economy deniers, Russian bots or anti-vaxxers will doubtless point to all the “evidence” that the US economy is not booming.
They’ll probably point out that inflation is at a 40 year high, and likely to keep on rising.
That the current price of gas is the highest ever in US history.
That the US is expected to enter a recession by the end of the year.
That house prices are increasing so fast that experts are predicting a “housing bubble”.
That “homeless camps” and “tent cities” with populations in the thousands are popping up in dozens of cities.
That the “crippling sanctions” placed on Russia seem to have “accidentally backfired” and hurt the US economy badly.
And, most of all, that moves are afoot which could see major oil trades being done in Yuan, not dollars. A change that could potentially cause the death of the petrodollar, the end of the USD as the global reserve currency, and send the US economy into a death spiral somewhere between Black Monday and Weimar Germany.
Clearly, this is all just conspiracy theories and nonsense. The economy really is booming. Oh, and in more good news the chocolate ration has increased from 30 grams a week to 20.
…that’s enough sarcasm for now. It’s time to circle back to reality, because that is what’s missing here.
I originally started writing this piece as a brief illustration of the language of propaganda – an entry in the “New normal newspeak” series, but in the writing it changed.
It made me think – the story is more insidious than just a lie, or even re-inventing the meaning of words. It’s an illustration of how far removed from the world of the real our “reality” can become.
In the 50s and 60s, a single full-time job could feed, clothe and house a family of four. Now every family needs at least two incomes just to get by. Millions of people work multiple jobs and struggle to make ends meet.
The UK has food banks readily discussed in the news every day. For most of my life the UK did not have foodbanks, I had never heard of them before I was thirty.
A relative of mine once told me a story about travelling to South America in the 1980s and seeing the first homeless person she had ever seen. Now, millions of unfortunate people are forced to live on the streets all across the Western world.
People cannot afford gas or heat or food or rent. The price of everything is increasing even as wages lag behind inflation. Everywhere you shop you buy less and spend more.
If all of that can be translated into “booming”, then “the economy” itself becomes a nonsense concept so abstract and removed from real-life experience that it is either entirely fictional or completely irrelevant.
We just lived through a fake pandemic. We know we have rigged elections. “The economy” is apparently meaningless.
How much of what we see and hear in the mass media has any grounding in reality at all? We know it’s not 100%, and it could easily be as little as none.
Maybe we’re not headed toward an Orwellian dystopia, we’re already living in one. A world where reality is not refuted, it is simply not acknowledged to exist.
The only “truth” is the headlines, which report nothing but covert advertising for the status quo or pump out outrage porn designed to divide society along carefully constructed fault lines, and distract from the simple truth – everything is getting worse and they’re doing it on purpose.
No matter how they employ contrived statistics to convince the mass of people that everything is fine (even as they’re fired for not being vaccinated and have to choose between getting warm or getting fed) the truth is that almost everyone works more and has less. Worries more, enjoys less. Fears more, thinks less.
Economically, educationally, spiritually…we’re going backwards. And behind this decline is intent.
It’s not accidental, it’s not a by-product of “the system”, it’s not the inevitable fallout of capitalism – it is directed, deliberate and malign. They are trying to make you poor, they said so.
Fly less. Drive less. Shower less. No meat. No sugar. No alcohol. Rent don’t buy. Own nothing. Be happy.
They want you to suffer. They want you to be cold and hungry and not to mind, or even know.
They want you sitting in your rented one-room flat, shivering under fifty layers of rented clothes, sipping your rented cup of GMO-cabbage water, and nodding in approval because the rented television says the economy is doing well.
They want you arguing vociferously with your neighbours about things that never happened to people who do not exist.
They want you to live like a pauper and smile because you’re doing it for a good cause they made up.
They want you to “reject the evidence of your ears and eyes”, because making people believe a lie – especially an obvious, irrational, impossible lie – is the purest form of power and the ultimate form of control.
Orwell was right about that, as he was about so much else.