Covid-19 Cargo Cults

In the South Seas there is a Cargo Cult of people.  During the war they saw airplanes land
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Comments

  1. Avatar for Zenzei Zenzei says:

    Rusty - timely. Well written. I have often spoken of cargo cultism to cargo cultists only to be rewarded with blank stares and indifference.

    I listened yesterday to Macro Voices #5 Covid Update featuring, amongst others, your illustrious partner. It was an eye opener and immediately resulted in my reducing my long market exposure this AM. Sadly, I wish I had listened to the podcast on the 24th and not the 26th.

    For those of you interested…the link is here. You will want to stock up on food and water after you have finished listening.

    https://www.macrovoices.com/podcasts-collection/macrovoices-hot-topic-podcasts/790-hot-topic-5-covid-super-spreader-stealth-pandemic

  2. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Rafa. I’ll be sure to give it a listen today.

  3. Came home from Costco on Tuesday with a cargo load of non-perishable food. Hope that doesn’t make me a cargo cultist! In any event, I’ll be able to share with neighbors and my church congregation if things go really bad. If things don’t, my local food bank will benefit as I empty my over-stocked pantry shelves in a few months. Clear eyes. Full hearts.

  4. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Hah! A different kind of cargo cult. You’re among friends here on that one I expect.

  5. The cargo cult imagery is one of my favourite analogies - it applies so usefully to so many of our attitudes. We can’t seem to help building narratives, and as soon as the narrative takes over from direct observation we’re susceptible to exactly this. It’s not just for investments - we need predictive formulas to survive - but they do take over. You and Ben are onto something so primal in your analyses, and yet so little considered - it’s a real privilege to be able to follow your thinking.

  6. Cargo Cult musings - hoping maybe a conversation…

    Capital = “wealth in the form of money or other assets owned by a person or organization, or available or contributed for a particular purpose such as starting a company or investing.” Primary wealth (I.e. resources) has generally been taken rather than earned, because it is the environment, the planet, and only a few aboriginal cultures saw those resources as something for which equal repayment (replenishment/restoration) was required.

    Labour = “work, especially physical or manual”, to produce an actual physical or intellectual benefit.

    Economy = “the wealth and resources of a country or region, especially in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services.” Combines wealth both earned and taken, and the labour involved.
    Cargo cult = copying the observed forms or processes of a productive activity without a complete understanding of both the mechanics and the necessary inputs involved. Generally directed towards improving one’s standard of living with less labour.

    Where does the transition from labour to capital take on the characteristics of cargo cult?

    Is cargo cult an explicit form of entitlement, ie the right to or expectation of the enjoyment of benefits you have not either directly produced, or used the stored value of your own direct production to aid someone else’s direct production. Does every degree of separation in the process that removes us from an understanding of what produces the benefit, hit one of our hard wired buttons for entitlement?

    Has any “advanced” human culture achieved an economy that didn’t require some form of slavery to function? By slavery I mean a severely unequal return for labour, to different groups within the culture. Thus creating, among other effects, ambitions for lifestyles that embrace endless consumption without genuinely equivalent productive labour, and repayment (restoration) of expended resources. Modern western “economies” appear to be dressed up cargo cult. And with the attendant and inevitable frustrations among those benefiting less or not at all.

    It’s all appearing to be an ever ballooning illusion. Maybe why many of us have been beset by a sense of unreality and impending doom for a very long time.

    “Clear eyes, full hearts”, “Make, protect, teach” points to an attempt to turn this around, is that a fair description? There’re so many levels to our assumptions, so much narrative, so much hard wired survival strategy. We’ve considered the lilies, how they grow, doesn’t look like they’re toiling or spinning much, we’ll ignore their fragility and brevity and figure we’re entitled to achieve that image long term. Because… Yay Jesus? Yay homo sapiens? Yay me? Not so much Yay the exploited labour… somewhere else. NCov19 has the potential to be quite the little wake up call, ennit?

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