Brendan McKenzie

The economy isn't real

Thursday, 22 April 2021

I wrote the title of this article a while before I started writing the body of it. I had this grand idea that our perspective was skewed and we as people give too much power to the idea of an economy.

I was coming from the angle that the Earth is a real, physical, undeniable thing that we are doing terrible things to in the sake of “the economy”.

In the time since I fell even deeper into a pit of existential crisis. My mind swirling around the idea of what is “real” and what is reality.

Where I ultimately landed was that things are real because we make them real.

Economies are real because enough people have all agreed that it’s a real thing.

The world is real because it’s impossible to deny its existence - or is it? This is where I felt I started going too far down the rabbit hole using the argument “the world is real because everyone agrees that it’s real”. I say “everyone” excluding those who don’t agree because I choose to believe they don’t exist the way they choose to believe I don’t.

Where I draw the distinction between the reality of the economy versus the reality of Mother Nature is that the economy is a human construct, we built it, we own it, we can manipulate it. The Earth allows us to live on it, we have a level of control over it, but ultimately we are irrelevant to it. Any changes we make will be undone when we are gone.

It’s not just the Earth that is suffering because of our belief in the economy, it’s our fellow humans. There are people starving because they live in “poor economies” all the while there are others living with disgusting amounts of excess. Why just because we live in the land where our forefathers used, abused and slaughtered their fellow men and women do we get to live a life of peace and comfort?

The bottom line with the economy is that it’s our creation and we can control it. We could hit the reset button. We could alter the economy and say that every single person is unequivocally of equal worth. We could ensure that absolutely no one suffers injustice or hunger. We could stop cutting down forests, burning fossil fuels, creating an unsustainable future and blowing each other up.

But, no - that’s not possible. Purely because there are a few people who wouldn’t like that, because that would make them just like everyone else.

And we can’t have that now can we.