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The global economy is currently in a “slow motion” collapse. Unlike The Great Recession of 2008, where the bankruptcy of the American Investment Bank, and Lehman Brothers set in motion a “near death” of the global financial system, this time around, it is “death by a thousand cuts” for the global economy. We can see it all around us. Unicorn bubble bursting, Crypto crashing, EdTech imploding, and FinTech on tenterhooks. Moreover, even the large banks and tertiary lenders are not “safe”, saddled as they are with huge piles of bad loans, despite the “feverish” attempts of many governments worldwide, especially India, to “write off” the debts of their crony capitalists. So, here we are, where everything seems fine, just that it is not, and at the same time, there is no “big” event that can trigger a collapse.
This is what I called The Great Unravelling earlier. The “excesses” of the last Five Decades induce a “reckoning” for almost all spheres of life, whether financial, economic, environmental, or social. The net result is an increase in disorder and “zaniness”, where each day brings more slow-motion collapses. More so in the developing world, where the “resiliency” to withstand economic and financial “pain” has been weakened and the “frazzled” economies in the Third World face a “four meals away from anarchy” scenario as is the case with Srilanka and to an extent, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This is a classic failure of neoliberalism, though it is sad that instead of finding alternatives, our elites are “doubling down” and unable to manage the fallout.
While the Pandemic and Putin have landed a “double whammy” and “shocked” the global economy, the stresses and strains have been building up for a while, at least since 2016, when our elites realized that “growth is over” and decided that “bread and circuses” for the masses is the best option, while they “save themselves” from the looming “bottomless” cataclysm. The result is populism worldwide, where in the “garb” of helping the masses, the reality was more Oligarhic bailouts and other such “help to friends in need”. Indeed, the present Global Economy is a “race to the bottom” system where only the “Top 1 Percent” survive, muck like the likes of the mercurial Elon Musk, who, with his fellow Uber rich, aims to “colonize” the Moon, just in case, the going gets tough for them on this planet.
The masses have already realized this and are helpless to do anything; they turn to Digital Delights as an “escape” mechanism. Indeed, technology has succeeded in making us all “junkies”, and our increasing dependence on it every waking minute means that we have “ceded” power to our gadgets. Instead of a “Utopian” future, we lapse into “make-believe” fantasy worlds with Dystopian consequences. No wonder Bill Gates’ vision of “Business@Speed of Thought” has come true, with disastrous consequences for our thoughts and dazzling returns for Big Tech. Added to this is the “acceleration” of tech-driven lives, where the Digital Age has arrived and disrupted everything from 9 to 5 Workdays, Work from Home models, and the very concept of living and working, relics of the Industrial Era, now drawing to a close.
While older generations of workers have somehow coped with these “slow motion” disasters and are adapting and adjusting to The New Normal, Millennials and Gen Zers are the worst hit, befuddled as they are by the succession of crises affecting their Mental Health, and leading to The Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting, and extreme rates of burnout. No wonder some business leaders are worried, not out of any significant concern for the wellbeing of these age cohorts, but more like nervous about their “bottom lines”. After all, they do “need us” for some time before automation, and AI (Artificial Intelligence) makes the majority redundant. Indeed, India is experiencing this “slow motion” entropy with Crores of workers not even looking for jobs. This is the future that lies ahead of us, and while I believe that eventually, we will find a way out of the morass, it seems unlikely for now.
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