FOR anyone wishing to understand how capitalistic societies such as ours work, and to see who's really in control, watch the behaviour of the stock markets.
In every major calamity, be it economic, political or military, stock markets prosper. So also in the current circumstance: as the dole queues lengthen, employment becomes increasingly tenuous and conditions for most people deteriorate, those with a major stake in the stock market - those who are in it with the big resources and the greatest incentive to either frivolously gamble with their non-essential (and sometimes essential) assets or maximise corporate power and influence - seem able to somehow preserve and extend their interests.
We don't have to go far to identify the villains in this piece: they are the controllers of huge resources: global multi-nationals, banks and state enterprises which continue to successfully pursue their political and economic goals through market domination.
Ultimately, these are the people in control.
But make no mistake: these are not, when push comes to shove, benevolent people. When panic and desperation among a significant portion of the populace causes public resentment to escalate, those in control can turn a certain amount of their attention to appeasement through gratification or, failing that, to intervention by military or security means.
Even the most casual glance at economic and social history will amply demonstrate that this is the way the current social model works: the masses of people struggle; the few get richer and more powerful.
Whether or not a global pandemic such as that currently occurring is the outcome of accident, ineptitude or intention is ultimately of little consequence. What does matter, however, is the extent to which the current calamitous event has weakened the elite's political and economic control.
If there's ever going to be a time to explore and pursue different social alternatives, this is it.
What those alternatives might be has still got to be worked out; whatever they are, however, we should be determined that they should mitigate and not repeat the mistakes of the past.