Some thoughts on Covid-19 and Lockdowns
25th April, 2020
Let’s not pretend that we can build physical castles in the sky. Everything we build in the physical world needs foundations suitable for the structure that needs to stand above them. The same applies to understanding the world. We cannot pretend to understand something when we don’t get the founding concepts correct.
The founding concepts of Economy are expressed in many articles on this website www.themissinglinc.org, based on the thinking of Dr Steiner, but practised and internalised before finding their way into the articles shared here. I am, therefore, going to pick up from the point of view:
- Capital arises through the exercise of human wits and skills, using some products of nature as the very base, in the pursuit of providing for the material needs of others.
- The moment the specific and individual human competencies, mostly not of a physical strength form, but rather of the skill, care, experience, patience, diligence type, are detached from the capital already created, the capital reverts to nature.
- This means it unwinds, loses its connectivity and form, gets wasted through laziness, lack of care and so on.
- It is therefore key in the economic sphere that this human competence stays connected to the capital. The moment this very individual and specific connection is broken, the capital is essentially ‘at sea’.
- When ‘individual’ is referred to, it also means individual capital transferred to others in a formalised way where new human competence is comparable or better than that of the founding individual.
- It is important to note that human competence as intended above is unrelated to race, gender, religion, political allegiance or ethnicity. The exclusion or prejudice towards any individual based on any of the aforementioned characteristics throttles back any economy by at least the amount of those to whom the exclusion or prejudice is applied.
The above bullet points translated into simple language means that the moment the entrepreneur is no longer connected to his or her capital, the capital loses value and the economic activity unwinds. Communism discovered this the hard way.
Under Lockdown conditions, the entrepreneurs have been forcibly removed from their connection to their capital. Their part in the whole economic process now unwinds. The capital reduces in value, some completely to naught. This ruins economies.
Governments today have taken it upon themselves, on behalf of the economic sphere’s one third role in the social order of things, to effectively take ownership of the many, many economic entities that it decides to ‘own’. They leave all this capital without the connection of the entrepreneurs’ ‘softer’ qualities of skill, experience, diligence, care, that are actually the yeast of the economic sphere. This disconnected capital then becomes lifeless. These individual entrepreneurs are left isolated and watching their capital evaporate. The moment the governments decide to remove the connection of the entrepreneurs to their capital, the capital is lame and depleted. These entities need to get more capital in the form of borrowings that they then have to sign personal surety for.
- Surely the ‘owner’ of the capital during the forced separation from the entrepreneur is responsible for the depletion of the capital?
- Surely they should either pay out the market rate for the businesses affected before the Lockdown, the day they took ‘ownership’, or they should pay back the loss in value over a period in the way of reduced taxes or some other method?
The counter argument from Governments will be that they saved businesses from complete collapse by protecting us from the virus. Well, Sweden and many others saw it differently and there are many more focussed ways to deal with the perceived threat as are being voiced all over the world. (Yes, a portion can be carried by the economic sphere businesses. The question is how much?)
You take rights for yourselves without popular agreement, you pay, in some way. Governments are taking rights that they cannot manage the consequence of because they are doing it with such freedom, a freedom that we the voters allow at this time. Resultant costs and civil disobedience or reduced roles for governments may be blessings for the future.
The Governments that are taking these rights are funded by the very economies that they are destroying. The borrowings that they are arranging to cover some of the costs of these locked down businesses will not be repaid by the Government. This is an illusion. Repayments will be made from taxes levied on the economic sphere. The economic activity is dependent on, springs solely from individual human ingenuity and competence.
During these Lockdowns, definitely in South Africa, there has been a lot of uncertainty, complete stopping of normal physical life, a managing of things remotely, and time. These unique factors, all presented as realities at the same time, have given us the opportunity to experience various significantly deeper realities. Let’s consider a few of these in just a little more detail:
- We have not been able to use our bodies to be in places and situations. This happened suddenly.
- All the usual impressions that came to our bodies were stopped.
- Inwardly we were no longer stimulated by outside impressions. Some of us reverted to punishing ourselves by running round the swimming pool, or eating more, or watching TV, looking for arguments in order to get more physical sentient input to our souls. In some ways however we had to fill up some of our inner life with individual thoughts and reflections.
This has been very much an individual ‘I’ process. We have all had the time to find some connection to the purpose of things, to what is right and wrong, healthy or unhealthy. This has had to be led by our ‘I’ and the stimulation of our conscience. This ‘I’ competence is exactly what we need after physical death. The death experience that we have had by being separated to some extent from our bodies suddenly and forcefully and the link to uncertainty and the separation from the usual rhythms and routines of life have been a blessing to some.
In the exercise of not being able to go to ones’ place of work and fix or correct things physically, we have been given the opportunity to engage ourselves in thinking the resolution, its purpose and execution. We have been given the opportunity to create imaginations of the right and ideal solutions to issues that we cannot simply go and fix materially. This imaginative exercising that has been possible is of huge value to the individual as well as to the economic enterprise that they are involved with as it is exactly this that can reintroduce form to the economic enterprise.
Hopefully some of these thought patterns expressed here can lead to understanding and certainty of a future possibility that is not exactly what it is today. When the comment is made that the world is not going to be the same, few offer any suggestions as to what ‘I’ can do to be that future with a difference.