PEPE ESCOBAR: Who Profits from the Pandemic?

Pepe Escobar looks at a frightening future that might follow the already terrifying Covid-19 global outbreak. 

By Pepe Escobar
in Bangkok
Special to Consortium News

You don’t need to read Michel Foucault’s work on biopolitics to understand that neoliberalism – in deep crisis since at least 2008 – is a control/governing technique in which surveillance capitalism is deeply embedded.

But now, with the world-system collapsing at breathtaking speed, neoliberalism is at a loss to deal with the next stage of dystopia, ever present in our hyper-connected angst: global mass unemployment.

Henry Kissinger, anointed oracle/gatekeeper of the ruling class, is predictably scared. He claims that, “sustaining the public trust is crucial to social solidarity.” He’s convinced the Hegemon should “safeguard the principles of the liberal world order.” Otherwise, “failure could set the world on fire.”

That’s so quaint. Public trust is dead across the spectrum. The liberal world “order” is now social Darwinist chaos. Just wait for the fire to rage.

The numbers are staggering. The Japan-based Asian Development Bank (ADB), in its annual economic report, may not have been exactly original. But it did note that the impact of the “worst pandemic in a century” will be as high as $4.1 trillion, or 4.8 percent of global GDP.

This an underestimation, as “supply disruptions, interrupted remittances, possible social and financial crises, and long-term effects on health care and education are excluded from the analysis.”

We cannot even start to imagine the cataclysmic social consequences of the crash. Entire sub-sectors of the global economy may not be recomposed at all.  

The International Labor Organization (ILO) forecasts global unemployment at a conservative, additonal 24.7 million people – especially in aviation, tourism and hospitality.

The global aviation industry is a humongous $2.7 trillion business. That’s 3.6 percent of global GDP. It employs 2.7 million people. When you add air transport and tourism —everything from hotels and restaurants to theme parks and museums — it accounts for a minimum of 65.5 million jobs around the world.

According to the ILO, income losses for workers may range from $860 billion to an astonishing $3.4 trillion. “Working poverty” will be the new normal – especially across the Global South.

“Working poor,” in ILO terminology, means employed people living in households with a per capita income below the poverty line of $2 a day. As many as an additional 35 million people worldwide will become working poor in 2020. 

Switching to feasible perspectives for global trade, it’s enlightening to examine that this report about how the economy may rebound is centered on the notorious hyperactive merchants and traders of Yiwu in eastern China – the world’s busiest small-commodity, business hub.

Their experience spells out a long and difficult recovery. As the rest of the world is in a coma, Lu Ting, chief China economist at Nomura in Hong Kong stresses that China faces a 30 percent decline in external demand at least until next Fall.

Neoliberalism in Reverse?

San Miguel, Bulacan, Philippines, 2016. (Judgefloro, CC0, Wikimedia Commons)

In the next stage, the strategic competition between the U.S. and China will be no-holds-barred, as emerging narratives of China’s new, multifaceted global role – on trade, technology, cyberspace, climate change – will set in, even more far-reaching than the New Silk Roads. That will also be the case in global public health policies. Get ready for an accelerated Hybrid War between the “Chinese virus” narrative and the Health Silk Road.

The latest report by the China Institute of International Studies would be quite helpful for the West — hubris permitting — to understand how Beijing adopted key measures putting the health and safety of the general population first. 

Now, as the Chinese economy slowly picks up, hordes of fund managers from across Asia are tracking everything from trips on the metro to noodle consumption to preview what kind of economy may emerge post-lockdown.

In contrast, across the West, the prevailing doom and gloom elicited a priceless editorial from The Financial Times. Like James Brown in the 1980s Blues Brothers pop epic, the City of London seems to have seen the light, or at least giving the impression it really means it. Neoliberalism in reverse. New social contract. “Secure” labor markets. Redistribution.

Cynics won’t be fooled. The cryogenic state of the global economy spells out a vicious Great Depression 2.0 and an unemployment tsunami. The plebs eventually reaching for the pitchforks and the AR-15s en masse is now a distinct possibility. Might as well start throwing a few breadcrumbs to the beggars’ banquet. 

That may apply to European latitudes. But the American story is in a class by itself.

Mural, Seattle, February 2017. (Mitchell Haindfield, Flickr)

For decades, we were led to believe that the world-system put in place after WWII provided the U.S. with unrivalled structural power. Now, all that’s left is structural fragility, grotesque inequalities, unpayable Himalayas of debt, and a rolling crisis.

No one is fooled anymore by the Fed’s magic quantitative easing powers, or the acronym salad – TALF, ESF, SPV – built into the Fed/U.S. Treasury exclusive obsession with big banks, corporations and the Goddess of the Market, to the detriment of the average American.   

It was only a few months ago that a serious discussion evolved around the $2.5 quadrillion derivatives market imploding and collapsing the global economy, based on the price of oil skyrocketing, in case the Strait of Hormuz – for whatever reason – was shut down. 

Now it’s about Great Depression 2.0: the whole system crashing as a result of the shutdown of the global economy. The questions are absolutely legitimate: is the political and social cataclysm of the global economic crisis arguably a larger catastrophe than Covid-19 itself?  And will it provide an opportunity to end neoliberalism and usher in a more equitable system, or something even worse?

 ‘Transparent’ BlackRock

Wall Street, of course, lives in an alternative universe. In a nutshell, Wall Street turned the Fed into a hedge fund. The Fed is going to own at least two thirds of all U.S. Treasury bills in the market before the end of 2020.

The U.S. Treasury will be buying every security and loan in sight while the Fed will be the banker – financing the whole scheme.

So essentially this is a Fed/Treasury merger. A behemoth dispensing loads of helicopter money.

And the winner is BlackRock—the biggest money manager on the planet, with tentacles everywhere, managing the assets of over 170 pension funds, banks, foundations, insurance companies, in fact a great deal of the money in private equity and hedge funds. BlackRock — promising to be fully  “transparent” — will buy these securities and manage those dodgy SPVs on behalf of the Treasury.

BlackRock, founded in 1988 by Larry Fink, may not be as big as Vanguard, but it’s the top investor in Goldman Sachs, along with Vanguard and State Street, and with $6.5 trillion in assets, bigger than Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank combined. 

Now, BlackRock is the new operating system (OS) of the Fed and the Treasury. The world’s biggest shadow bank – and no, it’s not Chinese.

Compared to this high-stakes game, mini-scandals such as the one around Georgia Senator Kelly Loffler are peanuts. Loffler allegedly profited from inside information on Covid-19 by the CDC to make a stock market killing. Loffler is married to Jeffrey Sprecher – who happens to be the chairman of the NYSE, installed by Goldman Sachs. 

While corporate media followed this story like headless chickens, post-Covid-19 plans, in Pentagon parlance, “move forward” by stealth. 

The price? A meager $1,200 check per person for a month. Anyone knows that, based on median salary income, a typical American family would need $12,000 to survive for two months. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in an act of supreme effrontry, allows them a mere 10 percent of that. So American taxpayers will be left with a tsunami of debt while selected Wall Street players grab the whole loot, part of an unparalleled transfer of wealth upwards, complete with bankruptcies en masse of small and medium businesses.

Fink’s letter to his shareholders almost gives the game away: “I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.”

And right on cue, he forecasted that, “in the near future – and sooner than most anticipate – there will be a significant reallocation of capital.”

He was referring, then, to climate change. Now that refers to Covid-19.

Implant Our Nanochip, Or Else?

West Virginia National Guard members reporting to a Charleston nursing home to assist with Covid-19 testing. April 6, 2020. (U.S. Army National Guard, Edwin L. Wriston)

The game ahead for the elites, taking advantage of the crisis, might well contain these four elements: a social credit system, mandatory vaccination, a digital currency and a Universal Basic Income (UBI). This is what used to be called, according to the decades-old, time-tested CIA playbook, a “conspiracy theory.” Well, it might actually happen.

A social credit system is something that China set up already in 2014. Before the end of 2020, every Chinese citizen will be assigned his/her own credit score – a de facto “dynamic profile”, elaborated with extensive use of AI and the internet of things (IoT), including ubiquitous facial recognition technology. This implies, of course, 24/7 surveillance, complete with Blade Runner-style roving robotic birds.

The U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Canada, Russia and India may not be far behind. Germany, for instance, is tweaking its universal credit rating system, SCHUFA. France has an ID app very similar to the Chinese model, verified by facial recognition.

Mandatory vaccination is Bill Gates’s dream, working in conjunction with the WHO, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Big Pharma. He wants “billions of doses” to be enforced over the Global South. And it could be a cover to everyone getting a digital implant.

Here it is, in his own words. At 34:15: “Eventually what we’ll have to have is certificates of who’s a recovered person, who’s a vaccinated person…Because you don’t want people moving around the world where you’ll have some countries that won’t have it under control, sadly. You don’t want to completely block off the ability for people to go there and come back and move around.”

Then comes the last sentence which was erased from the official TED video. This was noted by Rosemary Frei, who has a master on molecular biology and is an independent investigative journalist in Canada. Gates says: “So eventually there will be this digital immunity proof that will help facilitate the global reopening up.”

This “digital immunity proof” is crucial to keep in mind, something that could be misused by the state for nefarious purposes.

The three top candidates to produce a coronavirus vaccine are American biotech firm Moderna, as well as Germans CureVac and BioNTech.

Digital cash might then become an offspring of blockchain. Not only the U.S., but China and Russia are also interested in a national crypto-currency. A global currency – of course controlled by central bankers – may soon be adopted in the form of a basket of currencies, and would circulate virtually. Endless permutations of the toxic cocktail of IoT, blockchain technology and the social credit system could loom ahead.

Already Spain has announced that it is introducing UBI, and wants it to be permanent. It’s a form insurance for the elite against social uprisings, especially if millions of jobs never come back.

So the key working hypothesis is that Covid-19 could be used as cover for the usual suspects to bring in a new digital financial system and a mandatory vaccine with a “digital identity” nanochip with dissent not tolerated: what Slavoj Zizek calls the “erotic dream” of every totalitarian government.

Yet underneath it all, amid so much anxiety, a pent-up rage seems to be gathering strength, to eventually explode in unforeseeable ways. As much as the system may be changing at breakneck speed, there’s no guarantee even the 0.1 percent will be safe. 

Pepe Escobar, a veteran Brazilian journalist, is the correspondent-at-large for Hong Kong-based Asia Times. His latest book is 2030.” Follow him on Facebook.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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37 comments for “PEPE ESCOBAR: Who Profits from the Pandemic?

  1. Art Guy
    April 12, 2020 at 02:40

    As always, Pepe Escobar is giving us a glimpse of future trends, in particular regarding the central bank digital currencies under preparation by China and other countries.

  2. April 10, 2020 at 23:01

    Pepe is a lot more optimistic than I am. I don’t believe they will ‘recover’ this situation and they won’t be successful reinflating the ponzi scheme.
    I suspect complete collapse is unfolding much sooner than most expect.

  3. Jill
    April 10, 2020 at 15:33

    Yesterday I attended what my tri county area called a “media blitz”. Because we are a small area, our medical functionary is not yet properly trained to speak correctly (ie: lie well enough) and let something slip that a better trained minion would never have said. She said that people in our area will need to be tested before they are allowed to travel and return to work. Everyone will then be retested as the antibodies they once have may no longer be sufficient to be acceptable for them to move about. Those who no longer have proper amounts of antibodies will be put into quarantine until the govt. determines their antibody numbers are “correct”. It will be necessary to keep testing and removing people who do not test correctly. It is the plan and she said it openly to no surprise of attending judges and other government officials.

    • Realist
      April 10, 2020 at 18:03

      Shoot! And, I just recently, at long last, received my “Real ID” leading me to think I was now free to travel about the country on a jet aeroplane. Now you’re telling me I won’t be allowed to cross town in an Uber unless my ELISA profile meets government specs? Actually, no regrets about Uber losing my business. They charged me $80 for a 5.6-mile drive home after a hospital operation just before Christmas. Not only the government has gone rogue.

  4. elmerfudzie
    April 10, 2020 at 12:32

    The underlying issue humanity is trying to resolve is, simply put, spiritual illness. It is a grave contortion to the idea of fairness that allows corporate person hood, permits private hands to print and control a fiat currency system throughout the world, conspiracy that denies social security to billions of people whose only alternative is procreation in response to a lack of that social safety net. The abandonment of hundreds of millions entering old age and feebleness due to reactionary Thatcherism, against a wave of Pink Tide social movements…yes Cain, I am my brother’s keeper.

    The Lord said the poor will always be with us, surely a two sided coin. A lack of personal discipline on one side and imperialism and irresponsible exploitation on the other. To wit, the Alaskan Valdez Oil Tanker spill, where the corporate answer was just to spray off the rocky surfaces along a thousand mile pristine shoreline. Just pick up any stone there and directly under it, you’ll find a thick, destructive toxic residue that destroyed entire ecosystems, or the grassy. marshy wetlands off the coast of Louisiana, gradually eroded over the last seventy years by a corrupted state government officialdom and poor land management policy. This, to such a degree that the natural buttresses against hurricane force winds vanished thus flooding eighty percent of the New Orleans metro area. The result was irreparable damage to it’s oldest neighborhoods. Political payoffs and corporate limited liability-worked hand in hand to preserve and strengthen this spiritual illness. The scenario has been oft repeated in many other states and countries.

    Our collective civil consciousness cannot legislate morality, we cannot defeat the destroyers without destroying…in effect, become the enemy, embrace their methodology. A reminder to CONSORTIUMNEWS readers that the devils bargain and justice system consists of the widest varieties of murder and violence. These are the only tools in his toolbox.

    To tackle this global disease of spiritual illness, journalistic methods used to expose and broadcast environmental, social, economic misdeeds are clearly NOT enough. Each individual must learn to cripple profit margins, adopt strategies such as developing selective, intelligent purchases, coax manufacturers, bankers, governments, into some brand (pun here) of soul searching and reflection. Convince them to re-examine the old motives of greed, control, power and imbalance. In short, individuals must take it upon themselves, not to buy finished products associated with ancient ills that plague us all… This is the stuff of authentic democracy in action, founded by Ralph Nader and his Raiders.

    Successful, individualized, movements that emphasize personal choice and responsibility are already under way. Examples; no blood for diamonds, no GMO purchases, versions of BDS , the rise of the Green Party and it’s familiars, demands for verifiable labeling, Country of Origin identification on imported products and foodstuffs. You! choose to buy or not!
    If this new social awareness movement fails, humanity will retreat back into a bloody past of insurrections, gun powder, insanity in the streets and new terrors of every kind, guaranteed for one and all-no exceptions…

    • Realist
      April 10, 2020 at 18:14

      I am reminded that the first “solution” floated by BushCo was to basically abandon and not rebuild New Orleans after Katrina because it was eventually going to be lost to subsidence/sea level rise in any case–very similar to the attitude of “let the old folks die of Covid-19, they’re not long for this earth anyway.”

  5. one eyed oracle
    April 10, 2020 at 10:31

    Yes I think that a social credit system in the western hemisphere would be modelled under the guise of China`s all encompassing blanket, but be short enough to not cover all the fingers and toes.

  6. Realist
    April 10, 2020 at 04:53

    But will the Soylent Green be affordable, Mr. Escobar? Or will the average Joe or Jane need connections to an underground economy just to keep breathing? A current grade school kid will possibly live to see the year 2100, but might be trapped in some predetermined societal niche he or she cannot escape for the next eighty years–or at least until the climate becomes unlivable, the planetary resources are depleted, or the industrial waste reaches deadly levels throughout the environment. Elon Musk better get his ass to Mars on a timely schedule, or he’ll end up with Tesla Roadsters tied to each limb and accelerating towards the four cardinal compass points as a thank you from his workforce. In the year 2045, Lithium ion batteries will be recycled into antipsychotics and antidepressives for all that are still alive. (Zager and Evans left out that lyric.) Interesting times ahead that most of us Boomers will miss. I’ve no doubt that Future Woman (trans, cis and cyber) will rewrite the history books and blame us for everything. At least they’ll have that.

  7. Ecky Thump
    April 10, 2020 at 03:43

    If Mr Escobar’s ‘glass is half full and not half empty’ revealing article is only one-third right, then ‘everything is gonna be alright!’
    This is the New Dawn Fades Blade Runner scenario that few if any should be afraid of.
    Considerable hoards of people are remarkably docile and reasonable and adaptable to change, even if it’s far from being a desirable one.
    Global ‘corporatocracy’s’ survival requires that the citizens have a sufficient amount of cash to purchase the consumer products that they feel are needed, so without us they’d disappear. Therefore, the much-needed middle classes must be maintained to feed the hungry beast.
    After having devoured this food for thought article, I can now pursue my daily activities knowing that every cloud has a silver lining and that out présent is already materially comfortable and our collective future will be even more so.
    I encourage Pepe Escobar to continue enlightening us with his many quality feel good writings.
    Pepe for President of the World!

  8. HelenB
    April 9, 2020 at 22:42

    Pent up rage is right. Who the hell gave Bill Gates the decision making power over the rest of us?
    He knows what he can do with his nano-chip … lots and lots of them.

    • Realist
      April 10, 2020 at 04:56

      I understand in Britain, they call them nano-crisps.

  9. Annie
    April 9, 2020 at 20:57

    I’m confused. I thought you said, on another post on vk that the derivatives would bring down the US and that the elites are terrified?.
    So which is it???

  10. jaycee
    April 9, 2020 at 16:45

    Before Bill Gates is allowed the privilege of expressing his opinions on these matters, he should offer an explanation on how after years of Gates Foundation interest in pandemics and vaccines and the organization of many conferences featuring top officials from CDC and HHS to discuss pandemic preparation, all of these persons and organizations so utterly failed.

    Event 201 was concerned with furthering “private/public” cooperation (i.e. private interests profiting from pandemic preparation), and it included CDC’s top guy for “Response” , yet when the pandemic arrived not three months later, he totally dropped the ball.

    No one should be listening to any of these people.

    • Arrow
      April 12, 2020 at 10:03

      If “listening” is equivalent to following their guidance, then absolutely no one should be led down the yellow brick road to his/her detriment. Watch and listen closely to their actions and a picture will emerge reflecting their intent. You can choose to be led… or not. Cheers.

  11. anon
    April 9, 2020 at 12:32

    Great article as always. People MUST RESIST the vaccine and the implant. The UBI will not provide basic necessities so there will be massive social unrest. The people must rise up!

  12. GmanXRP
    April 9, 2020 at 05:35

    It seems like a lot of people are on the same page with in regards to this matter around the world. If you want to find out more about the new financial system & where BlackRock & others fit into this, including the US Treasury plus the involvement of the Fed, BIS, WEF, IMF, ECB, ID2020 etc in digital money/assets/ID, vaccinantions etc, I suggest that you look up Digital Asset Investor & S.P.Q.R. Media on YT. I’m sure that you will find the deep dives very interesting, especially the latest ones. Keep up the great work.

  13. M. Shahnawaz Khan
    April 9, 2020 at 04:16

    Mark of the beast!

  14. Hopelb
    April 9, 2020 at 01:09

    You are always a must read!
    Wonder if BlackRock would elbow Gates out of the way to get control of the vaccine in this scenario?

    The bread lines have already started here. That’s how precarious lives are.
    The front line workers at the grocery/pharmacy are not wearing masks, and neither are most customers, so it looks like we are just getting started.
    And Bernie threw in the towel.
    At least, there was a new Escobar piece to read!

  15. E.C, Peacock
    April 8, 2020 at 23:32

    The local council (govt) micro chips dogs and cats so a register is kept of numbers, types, locations and a yearly lucrative subscription is/can be enforced. A successful test. There’s car licensing, voting registration, censor, taxation and so on enforced with information collection; more successful tests. Adding to these is easily justified and systematic. Not unintended consequences are suffered; unexpected.

  16. Godfree Roberts
    April 8, 2020 at 20:51

    Great stuff from Pepe, as usual. One niggle: he has described China’s Social Credit program as it might be implemented by Brazil or the United States. As implemented by China (to the great relief of, and support from 90% of Chinese–just ask a Chinese friend) it is quite different in intent and operation. The Social Credit system’s most significant aspects are:

    1. It’s essentially an Amazon Review of everyone by everyone they’ve ever dealt with. It’s exactly like the ‘reviews’ we give friends (behind their backs?) constantly updated in the same ways.

    2. It ranks not only every citizen who chooses to participate, but every government official, cop, judge, department, corporation and shoeshine. It’s truly universal. There’s no privileged, hidden operator that’s spared, and no-one pulling the strings. Government departments, officials, cops, corporations, Supreme Court justices, Congresspeople–everyone gets social credit if they want it (participation is voluntary). Doesn’t this sound better than our system, where private corporations rate us and sell the information to other private corporations and government agencies without our permission and with limited access–but offer no reciprocity? Ask TRW for a vendor rating and see how far you get.

    3. It’s a popular initiative as much as a government initiative: the Chinese are the most trusting people on earth and they’re tired of being scammed online for billions each year. (They’re especially trusting of their government which 86% of people say works for everybody and not just for a fortunate few).

    4. It’s 90% carrot and 10% stick: the higher your score the easier your life becomes. Japan and the Netherlands, for example, now offer expedited visa processing for Chinese travelers with scores above 750. Landlords waive deposits if you’re over 800…and so on.

    5. It’s part of China’s 2,000-year-old plan to create a datong society in which (to be brief) everybody is taken care of and nobody needs to lock their doors at night–a goal that every Chinese supports and which the government hopes to deliver by 2049.

    In short, our media are interpreting yet another Chinese policy in Western terms. China is nothing like us. Nothing. It’s a different civilization and it does things differently.

    Read “China’s Social Credit System: An Evolving Practice of Control.” By Rogier Creemers, University of Leiden. papers (dot) (dot) cfm?abstract_id=3175792

    AND ‘Legal Documents Related to the Social Credit System’
    chinalawtranslate (dot) com/social-credit-documents/?lang=en

    • DW Bartoo
      April 9, 2020 at 07:29

      As this article by Pepe Escobar is, as always, much appreciated, so too is the perspective and insight offered by this comment, Godfree Roberts.

    • Rob
      April 9, 2020 at 14:03

      Sure sounds like social control to me. People in China may like it, but people are easily misled.

    • Branimir Aleksandrov
      April 9, 2020 at 15:20

      It sounds awful!

    • Tom Kath
      April 9, 2020 at 19:21

      The most wonderful explanation and description I have ever read. Thank you Godfree. We westerners are generally completely incapable of understanding such true democracy, where the opinions of “the people” actually count on every level.

    • April 9, 2020 at 21:17

      Mr. Roberts, re your number 4. “It’s 90% carrot and 10% stick: the higher your score the easier your life becomes. Japan and the Netherlands, for example, now offer expedited visa processing for Chinese travelers with scores above 750. Landlords waive deposits if you’re over 800…and so on.”
      Isn’t that exactly what we have in the US: Based on your credit score, instant decisions are made by banks, and everyone else: If you have a credit score of 850 or above, you get instantly approved for mortgages or any other type of loan. Landlords might also waive deposits, and life will be a lot, I mean a lot easier than for those with low credit scores, who may not be able to get a car loan, any car loan, or be able to rent an apartment, and so on. Seems to me China is a lot like us, or we like them, at least in that respect. They do some things differently, I would never go to any of their wet markets, for example.

    • HelenB
      April 9, 2020 at 22:45

      In my childhood we all took care of each other, neighbours and friends. And no, we didn’t lock our doors night or day.
      We were the only phone because of my father’s job, so we left the door open in case someone needed to use our phone.
      Kinder days. Before the Greedy Pigs and their Globalisation plunder took over.

    • robert west
      April 10, 2020 at 00:38

      The obvious problem is what criteria is used to allocate the score. With a really utopian society and government, everyone would voluntarily support the status quo, but as no society on earth is remotely close to that condition this can only be used to suppress dissent and as a not so subtle control mechanism.

    • tony bokon
      April 10, 2020 at 01:06

      Very informative. Thanks!

    • AnneR
      April 10, 2020 at 06:47

      Yes, Mr Godfree, we westerners expect all other cultures, societies to be akin to “ours” (leaving aside any minor differences among western ones at the moment) and we always promote those in/from such diverse countries as China, Iran and Venezuela who have been thoroughly “westernized” as if they represented the “true,” “deep-seated” longings of all Chinese, Iranians, Venezuelans e.g. and not simply a small number of their societies. We really believe that there is only our cultural way and that all others are deficient, haven’t fully “civilized” yet because we, the west, the western way, equal civilization.

      Our ignorance is deliberate – indeed it is racist, hubristic, arrogant stupidity. And stupidity is a deliberate choice.

    • AnneR
      April 10, 2020 at 07:05

      True indeed, Helga Fellay. To pretend to ourselves that “We” don’t already have a credit score monitoring system – one that seriously affects an individual’s, a family’s ability to live even a half-way decent life – is to deliberately delude ourselves.

      Everything we do is monitored by this credit scoring system. Every penny we spend, how we spend it, what we use to spend it (credit cards, debit cards – assuming that we have either or both), where we spend it. And as you point out, a low credit score means no mortgage, no loans of any description (aside from loan shark ones), and serious difficulty, near impossibility, in renting somewhere safe, clean and well maintained (and usually at ever increasing rents). We were not *asked* if we wanted this credit score monitoring – as I recall. We were not asked if we wanted this credit score monitoring to, basically, control our lives, our ability to lead anything approaching a livable life. It was imposed on us – and maintains itself under wraps, until you need to buy something on credit (a car say), need to rent an apartment, want to buy a house. I’m not sure about this, but I think potential employers check on one’s credit score before employing you – or can do. (And I believe that if one has been in prison that too has credit monitoring implications – it certainly does on the ability to rent, vote, be employed.)

      And then there’s the smart phone (don’t have one), along with all the other electronic gizmos like Alexa. Does our government track us via these without our overt permission? We know (surely) that such as Amazon, Google do so track us…which aisles in the grocery store we are visiting, which parts of the city we are in, what we have bought… Do they explicitly ask for our permission to do this? Do they allow for our refusal AND abide by our wishes?

      The Chinese credit system is known, understood and accepted by the vast majority of the Chinese population. This credit system is open and recognized. Meanwhile our credit monitoring system and our internet/digital monitoring systems are hidden, subterranean and not available to our refusal to participate.

  17. Tom Kath
    April 8, 2020 at 20:06

    I agree that the metaphorical “Pitchforks” resistance and rebellion is our best hope, and it is actually a very good hope. We are a minority, yes, but so is the current elite 1% ! I believe our side is tougher, more capable in a REALITY sense, certainly more desperate(incentive, motivation, determination), while the other side is fundamentally spoilt, soft, dependent, and by their very nature corrupt(they will feed on each other as gladly as they hope to feed on us).

    We WILL need to make definite sacrifices ourselves. Not like THEM, only prepared to sacrifice others.

  18. AnneR
    April 8, 2020 at 17:25

    Thank you, Mr Escobar, for your – as usual – insightful piece. Depressing, too, of course. But we have been living in depressing times since the end of WWII, from my point of view. (Thinking of the constant warmaking, invasions, slaughters, sieges, destruction – to say nothing of the exponentially developing ecological disaster – all for hegemonic dominance, by guess which nation, and corporate-capitalist profiteering.)

    The future looks grim indeed. Unless, of course, you’re one of the plutocratic ruling elites, the economic upper 10%.

    • Realist
      April 10, 2020 at 19:20

      You’ve made some key points with your several comments in this discussion, AnneR. The parallels between American and Chinese customs and mores which you point out but so many Americans miss because of superficial differences plus a dollop of good old reliable jingoism should not be glossed over. Nor should the moral drift our side has certainly experienced, as you noted, over my lifetime (extending from the end of WWII to the present).

      I certainly remember when WWII was considered the inflection point of my parents’ generation: every event, every change in the Zeitgeist was categorized as pre-war or post-war, and the exact war never had to be named. I suspect this was similar to the antebellum/postbellum dichotomy circa the American Civil War. My generation noted its iteration of the phenomenon surrounding the Vietnam War: the “Long Ago Before Time” was idealized (think “American Graffiti” or “Grease”), the “after” was an abysmal aftermath prompting many a drug dependency or suicide.

      This will also be true again with respect to Covid’s malign appearance on the scene, just as for 9-11 a mere two decades ago. Perhaps these historical inflection points are becoming more compressed in the sequence of an ever faster moving time line (on the subjective not the chronological level). Just think, 2019 was when we still had “freedoms!” Yeah, tell that to someone from 1999! And let him commiserate with someone from 1959 or 49! When is the baseline for “normality?” Did it ever really exist? If not, how can we ever get back to it?

  19. Miller
    April 8, 2020 at 15:02

    For in depth look at Blockchain ID, educational badging and Social Impact Bond marketplace one should check out “Wrench in the Gears” – an incredible detailed look at the world being built under our noses.

  20. Kurt McNally
    April 8, 2020 at 13:31

    Brilliant as usual. Get ready to rise up!

  21. Taras77
    April 8, 2020 at 12:37

    To follow gates’ words and his consistent efforts for a world wide vaccination program complete with universal monitoring is beyond frightening-it is a peril that is pending unless it is resisted and resisted with all of the efforts that can be mustered. However, I am not optimistic because the sheeple of the world tend to just go along to get along.

    Gates is evil, in pursuit of massive profits and control. He has in place fauci, birx (daughtr of birx works for gates foundation), and many other globalists standing by wlling to jump into this golden opportunity.

    And then, we have WHO, lapdog for gates as he is the second largest funder behind us govt. The quicker that org is recognized for its fraud, corruption, and massive conflicts of interest, the better world health programs will be. The current head of WHO owes substantial allegiance to the clintons.

  22. dfnslblty
    April 8, 2020 at 12:35

    Keep investigating and writing, Mr Escobar.
    Scary though important ideas.

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