Welcome to the Crappening

Still from Children of Men.

There’s no nice way to put it. Here in the U.S. we live in a failed state. I sincerely hope that I’m wrong but it looks like were in for chaos.

As Nassim Taleb suggested on the Twitters, “Do a total reset professionally, economically, personally. Treat this thing as if it were here to stay & make sure you can do with it. If it goes away, it will be a bonus but remember that the shadow of the following one will be progressively built into the system.” The fatal flaw of “crapitalism” is that these crisis are baked into the system and each one is worse than the last. Even if we skate past this one there’s another crisis coming.

On top of household level adjustments we need to work with our neighbors, friends, faith communities and associations to deal with this crisis. I have no patience for right wing leaders whose Ayn Randian, individualist ideology makes the ancient Romans seem compassionate. But neither do I have any faith in centrist, neo-liberal Democrats who were part of the failed response to this crisis and who are only too happy to push for austerity measures.

I feel especially bad for people who live in states that are opening prematurely and forcing people back into dangerous working conditions. The real strategy here is to kick people off unemployment benefits.

As a household we’re going to map out a plan that combines many of the skills we’ve profiled on this blog over the years with a more engaged community involvement. We’re baking a lot of bread and we plan on volunteering for Nithya Raman who is running for city council and offering a real alternative to the corrupt status quo. Until we see the numbers going down here in Los Angeles, we’re minimizing trips to grocery stores and eliminating non-essential activity. I want to see 14 consecutive days of declines in cases before changing our plans. We do this both for our own health and for the health of vulnerable people. We’re fortunate to not have to worry about housing or income right now. But the days of casually going out and doing stuff are over for now.

If, in the end, I’m being alarmist the worst that will happen is that we’ll be more engaged with our neighbors and know ten different ways to cook oatmeal.

Leave a comment


  1. Here in Texas the numbers continue to climb. which…of course! My husband is the errand runner these days so I have only seen vague glimpses of what is going on around town when we go out for a hike every other weekend or so.

    I’m definitely worried about the long haul of all of it.

  2. I don’t think you’re being alarmist. I appreciate what you write and think it’s good that you’re “going to map out a plan that combines many of the skills we’ve profiled on this blog over the years with a more engaged community involvement.”

  3. You are not an alarmist, you are a realist. In WWII, people voluntarily went to war and prepared to lay down their lives to defeat something they felt was evil. Their great grandchildren in the US are offended, angry and defiant at the thought of being asked to wear a face covering in public and limit their activities in order to help themselves and others not catch a serious viral infection that has killed a quarter of a million people in just a few months. Failed state indeed.

  4. I have been re-watching Carl Sagan’s series, Cosmos. (It may be 40 years old, but it the content is so relevant to today.)
    As I watched the last episode, “Who Speaks for Earth,” I got goosebumps. As Sagan tells the story of the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, he says, “And when the mob came to burn the place down, there was nobody to stop them.”

  5. I don’t ever find it productive long-term to get this doom and gloomy. We need to be doing these things anyway because they make pretty much every other metric of our lives better. Which is why I’m a (minor) Patreon supporter during the good times and not just when everyone wants to read about bread. We’re in earthquake country….eventually that bill is going to come due. We probably all need to be continuing to think about that more than the next pandemic…

  6. So… I’m the weird one who is completely comfortable and well adjusted in a crisis. I grew up in a house where everything always went wrong and nothing ever worked properly. I’m good at navigating chaos. It doesn’t bother me at all. The fact the “mommy and daddy” (everyone in a position of authority) is fighting rather than fixing the dead water heater, leaking roof, or broken windows is no biggie for me. It would be nice if the grown ups got their act together, but it’s not a requirement for me to have a good life with the people I care about.

  7. The divisiveness will ruin our society and I worry more about violence coming than the virus. The selfishness is astonishing and sad. Mahatma Gandhi wrote that all throughout history the way of truth and love has always won. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  8. This seems to be a time when consuming journalism is detrimental; if you think America is a failed state you will want to back off a bit. Be level-headed.

    • Absolutely agree. The level of breathless hysteria over what is most certainly NOT the Spanish Flu is amazing. This is true “the sky is falling” mentality. No, this is not the Apocalypse; it is not the End Times; it is not the end of capitalism, civilization as we know it, or the world. It is a virus that has killed far fewer people than the news media would have you believe. Calm down, everyone. Just calm down.

    • Jen-
      I’m not sure what you mean – “It is a virus that has killed far fewer people than the news media would have you believe.” Would you please be more specific and tell me how many actually have dies v. what the news media reports?

    • Jen – it likely has killed more than has been reported. Ppl say that other deaths are being counted as being from covid. Don’t forget that no one dies of AIDS, they die from something else because they have the weakened immune system. In the 1918 pandemic, many deaths were from a secondary bacterial infection, and not the actual influenza virus. It is crucial that the threat this virus presents not be minimized

    • True this. This whole thing is starting to look like the most successful psych ops in history.

    • Also don’t forget Darwin here.

      The successful virus will be the least lethal.

      The virus wants to continue and replicate.

      Just as they’ve found a stasis with bats so too with humans.

      But again lupus and other bacteria actually killing you is also a big part.

  9. I’ve been youtube-ing a lot of Stephanie Kelton and other MMT’ers lately. I think MMT is the best merge with Fed Reserve. How to merge shouldn’t be too difficult.

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