You're in the jungle, baby, you're gonna die
Wild animals get eaten alive, or dead if they're lucky. We like to think we're better than that, that we're civilized, but we're just animals with airs. We've barely advanced since we started throwing dirt over our dead 100,000 years ago. We still treat our living like shit.
Today people are eaten alive by poverty. Predator drones devour us from the air. Children, the elderly, the sick, the disabled, they all get picked off at the edge of herd immunity. We even keep human beings in cages. And we call this a civilization? It's just a jungle, capitalized.
Welcome To The Jungle
Welcome to the jungle, we take it day by day
If you want it you're gonna bleed but it's the price to pay
The main premise of the jungle is that if you don't find enough food, you die. One thing the pandemic has shown is that many of us still live this way.
Daily wage earners in Sri Lanka could not earn their daily bread under lockdown. They could be eaten by COVID outside or hunger within. This is not about the temporary problem of lockdowns but the permanent problem of billions living like this. Predatory capitalism stalks the poor every day.
Lest you think Sri Lankans are just jungle people, we has similar life expectancy to the United States and better public health. In America, capitalism has gone completely rabid, it's just biting mofos right and left. American families are regularly devoured by medical bankruptcy. The average American is $90,000 in debt. Nearly one in five Americans needed food aid last year. And it's not contained within. American capitalism makes trillions bombing poor Muslims, billions monopolizing vaccines during a pandemic, and destroys our priceless Earth.
These predatory acts all reduce people to a meagre and bare existence of survival. As refugees, as 'illegal' aliens, as debt peons and wage slaves, barely surviving day to day. If you don't work you don't eat, and if someone can make money feeding on your misery, so be it. It's the law of the capitalist jungle. Find money or die.
The New Apex Predator
Welcome to the jungle, we've got fun and games
We got everything you want honey, we know the names
We are the people that can find whatever you may need
If you got the money, honey, we got your disease
Humans have invented entirely artificial predators called corporations. The most dangerous form evolved in the 1600s as the first colonial companies. These predators carried human captives in their bellies across oceans, worked people to death, and consumed entire ecosystems. And they never went away. They just evolved.
Today corporations hold people in wage slavery, they debt people to death, and consume the entire atmosphere. They have more rights than human beings, including the right to speech (election bribes), the right to kill (oops), and far less accountability. They are in every sense predators and we are prey.
We invented this lifeform (corporations are legal people) because a few people got paid. It's always been about shareholders who buy off governments and sell out everyone else. For centuries it was colored people but now, with climate collapse, the exploitation has come for everyone.
Western capitalism is the global apex predator. It's literally consuming the world.
Welcome to the jungle, it gets worse here every day
You learn to live like an animal in the jungle where we play
If you got hunger for what you see you'll take it eventually
You can have anything you want but you better not take it from me
I blame capitalism, and it's important to blame capitalism, but it's also important to understand that the problem is much deeper than that. Our distant cousins the toque macaques (monkeys) have inequality and it's likely that this is just a part of our makeup as social animals.
We had more proud straightforward inequality under feudalism and it evolved into modern capitalism today. That is to say, they didn't start the fire, but they'll sure as fuck let the world burn.
When fighting the greed and inequality of capitalism it's important to understand that humans are always going to be greedy about something. We just have to make that something not get down to the level of food. That would be civilized.
One of the unspoken (and spoken) assumptions of capitalism is that poor people need to be motivated by starvation to work while billionaires need to be motivated by obscene gains. It's like they're two different species really, predator and prey. This is psychological garbage, and we have to get away from a system where people are working for their daily survival. This is what Tolstoy called The Slavery Of Our Times in 1900 and it's still going.
If this offends your Protestant work ethic, keep in mind that this system means children don't eat if their parents don't work, it means elderly and disabled suffer if they don't work, and also that the most important work (parenting, care, domestic work, most essential jobs) is valued little or not at all.
There's also this assumption that if we didn't organize society this way we would all be poorer, but that's not true. As I illustrated above, Sri Lanka has a similar life expectancy to the US with "a staggering 88% less resource use and 94% less emissions on a per capita basis." What we perceive as wealth is just waste which gives these so-called-rich countries a negative net worth.
Sri Lanka is not even well organized, but if we change what we measure from GDP to ZDP (Zero Domestic Poverty), we can do better than this. We can get out of this artificial jungle and build an actual civilization. We should only call a country rich if it has no poor people, not by averaging out its most predatory billionaires. How dare we call ourselves civilized when people are sleeping rough, being consumed by viruses at the edge of our herd, and when we put ourselves in cages? How dare we be proud when corporations are chewing on us all?
As Guns N' Roses said,
You know where you are?
You're in the jungle, baby, you're gonna die
We gotta get the fuck out of here. At least the regular jungle is self-balancing. The capitalist jungle is literally all consuming. We're all gonna die.
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