Mariner is fortunate that for the moment his financial status is sufficient, his curiosity in social studies has not waned and there are more physical chores than may be achievable in the gardens, home repair and shop projects. He is truly fortunate. Still, mariner like millions around the world is stifled by the lock downs, the isolation, the fear, the diminished ability to live a normal life.
Taking note of the television’s creation of slowly moving landscapes and the screensavers on the computer, mariner has declared his large living room window his own screensaver. He sits for periods of time noting that his screensaver has loops of viewing just as the landscapes do. There is the woman who walks her two little piles of dog hair in the morning and in the evening; there is a high school runner who will pass the window three times in half an hour; there are the three children who ride their bicycles to the nearby playground and back again; golf carts pass on their way to the golf course and back; UPS and FEDEX pass each day. Just like the landscapes, mariner has watched the summer turn into fall and now into winter. The meditation crowd has nothing on the mariner!
The problem is that mariner’s brain takes these screensaver moments to think about reality, economy, cultural collapse and impending issues that mariner’s readers are tired of hearing. To wit:
A book, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty (2013) by D. Acemoglu and J.A. Robinson, suggests that a nation can be too wealthy and therefore become susceptible to moral degeneration and economic weakness. Mariner is reminded of a series of tests with mice done in the 1960s. The mice had all the comforts possible: food, water, playgrounds, little nest apartments, etc. Eventually, the mice showed growing signs of disrespect, abuse, gang discrimation and even rape and murder.
The key factor for human societies was that the population has overthrown an authoritative plutocracy and spread the wealth to the population (AKA democracy). American citizens are experiencing this phenomenon. To be brief, consider Lori Loughlin spending $500 thousand and lying about her daughter’s athletic prowess to get her daughter into the appropriately prestigious university. Pondering at his screensaver, mariner wonders whether the rise in college tuition is because more people have the wherewithal to pay – making each seat in the university a scarcity versus market competition. Is this how the economy weakens? It has been proven that elite universities are attended only by the economic elite. Is this why colleges of lesser prestige are failing – the price doesn’t justify the reward?
It doesn’t take much imagination to recognize the disruptive nature of this behavior as it relates to economic class. Mariner has cited several times that the labor class has been deprived of sharing in the wealth since 1980; hence Donald’s Base. Humans are mammals, too – just like mice.
Maybe it’s better not to watch the screensaver too long.