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Death Cult Capitalism

LEFT JAB by John Bell

August 18, 2023
Full disclosure: the following is not a book review of The WSJ Guide to Investing in the Apocalypse: Make Money by Seeing Opportunity Where Others See Peril (2011). I have not read the book. I will not read the book. My blood pressure is already an issue and reading it might qualify as self-harm.
Here is the blurb from Amazon peddling the book:
“In The Wall Street Journal Guide to Investing in the Apocalypse, authors James Altucher and Douglas R. Sease provide investors with provocative and essential guidance that will enable them to take advantage of the lucrative investment opportunities that inevitably will arise when disaster strikes. The only book of its kind currently on the market, this indispensible [sic] handbook will help savvy investors make money by seeing opportunity where others see only peril.”
An anonymous review on GoodReads calls it “an interesting read” and notes that if investors had followed the authors’ tips on profiting on the coming pandemics, they would have cashed in big time during COVID. (The COVID death toll worldwide is nearing 7 million, and that is definitely a dark cloud. So it is nice to know that somewhere, some hedge fund investors have found the silver lining.)
Just because the world is threatened with a multi-headed, existential crisis, is no reason to stop making money. In fact, the end of the world as we know it provides wonderful opportunities for profit.
I suppose the book would make interesting reading for the 20,000 or more NWT residents, trapped in their cars, fleeing their communities as their world burns around them. Or the residents of the Kamloops region, where air quality is so bad that sitting inside reading a book about making money out of bad air might be the best option.
The mindset of the authors and (I presume) readers of Investing in the Apocalypse is shared everywhere by corporate warriors and the politicians who love them. One of my favourite examples of this psychosis – let’s call it what it is – is from a representative of the Australian coal industry, quoted 4 years ago in the Guardian. It seems like some uppity folks on sinking Pacific islands (can you be uppity and downity at the same time?) were making links between rising sea levels and fossil fuels.
“I also get a little bit annoyed when we have people in those sorts of countries pointing the finger at Australia and say we should be shutting down all our resources sector so that, you know, they will continue to survive,” he said.
I suspect the next day he switched hats and called for tighter rules to keep refugees out.
There are so many examples of what I call Death Cult Capitalismthat we risk become desensitized to them. The response from corporations and governments to the greatest health emergency in recorded history, COVID-19, continues to remind us how little value is put on human lives.
Even now, as a new COVID variant is beginning to spike around the world, governments are silent about public health measures. Hospitals are dropping what few mask requirements they had left just as they see increasing staff shortages and admissions.
As we near yet another unprepared school year, media foregrounds happy-face storiesabout how “hybrid immunity” is going to allow us all to carry on, business as usual.  You know – if you got a vaccine and still caught COVID, maybe more than once, Shazam! You have a super-power. Global News went with the headline: “Most Canadians have hybrid COVID-19 immunity. Could it prevent a fall wave?”
Spoiler alert! Nope. A British insurance industry newsletterreports: “The first three months of 2023 saw the UK’s worst mortality rate since the second wave of the COVID pandemic in Q1 2021.” Recall Britain embraced “herd immunity” strategy earlier and with more enthusiasm than Canada. “Hybrid immunity” is just “herd immunity” rebranded – an old pig with a new shade of lip gloss. 
At the same time they hide newsabout the rising threat from “long COVID”, small things like organ damage and loss of mental capacity.  
A CBC reportfrom February notes: “Alberta has seen roughly 10,000 ‘excess’ deaths since 2020, and COVID doesn’t explain it all” Well actually, COVID explains most of it. 
Since 2020, while 10,000 excess Albertans joined 7 million of our late friends and family around the world, the leaders of the Capitalist Death Cult became immensely, almost cartoonishly richer. Images of Scrooge McDuck diving into his swimming pool full of gold coins come to mind. In just those 3 years Jeff Bezos added $64 billion to his hoard. Elon Musk saw his stack of chips grow by $126.4 billion, although driving Twitter into the Xitter may have recently eroded his pile. Bill Gates seems like a piker by comparison, he only got $26 billion richer.  Mark “Mr Meta” Zuckerberg harvested $42.3 billion of the mean green.
And while he may be small potatoes next to those big meatballs, Canada’s favourite billionaire, Loblaws CEOGalen ‘Let Them Eat President’s Choice™ Cheesecake’ Weston, gave himself a 55% pay raise, because he needs $8.4 million a year to keep his McDuck pool topped up. 
There are pundits who slavishly laud frauds like Elon Musk as wunderkind, superior beings, “alphas”. There are governments, cough *Liberals* cough, that give a fresh $3 billion subsidy to a pipeline project that should have been killed a decade ago, even as the Arctic burns. There are those who worship capitalism as a god.
There are always those take the Death Cult’s kool-aid.
Happy to say more and more workers – like the militant Metro grocery workers – are just not having it anymore. High time we all recognize the direct link between our disposable lives and their disposable incomes.

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