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LOOKING AHEAD
11.05.2009

May 4, 2009 (the date of publication in Russian)

Maxim Kalashnikov

IS SWINE FLU A REMEDY FOR CRISIS?

Expectation of pandemia damps the fear of coming economic catastrophe down

A SCARY THREAT?

The present situation resembles theatre of the absurd: all mass media fusses over panic messages about the spreading of Swine flu. We hear them shouting: "SOS! Pandemia is coming!" – and materials about the global economic crisis disappear somewhere in shadow.

We can observe a real operation of mass attention "changeover", which is imprudent, shameless and primitive in the essence.

On May 1, 2009 the World Health Organization announced there were 330 cases of infection of Swine influenza. They say there are 156 officially confirmed cases (9 lethal) in Mexico, the country which suffered most, but there are many reasons to suppose there are about 180 already. In the USA there are 109 cases, one lethal. God save us! Infection was also registered in Canada, Spain, Great Britain, New Zealand, Germany, Israel, Austria, Holland and Switzerland.

Officials cry out loud about the threat of the most horrible pandemia for the last 90 years, recalling the "invasion" of Spanish flu in 1918 (at least 20 million deaths all over the world). Now economic and social life in Mexico is almost paralyzed: people are hiding in their houses. The WHO has raised Swine flu's global threat level to 5 (from 6 possible). The WHO said it's unavoidable.

The situation resembles a sacramental joke from an old Soviet movie:

- Bu there was no earthquake!

- So what? There were victims…

Exaggeration of panic is seen with the naked eye. The WHO announces the scariest threat for last 90 years and summons all the countries of the world to create anti-epidemic-quarantine plans. Professor Neil Fergusson, a member of the WHO Swine flu problem group, announced a threat of 30-40% of Great Britain's citizens being infected during the next half a year if the country is stricken by pandemia. Also some competent opinions about the threat of a half of the EU inhabitants being infected occur.

Michel Chossudovsky, a famous Canadian non-conformist thinker, notices sarcastically: actually Swine flu doesn't differ from an ordinary flu in symptoms; there simply are no scientific reasons to talk about its extraordinary lethality. Moreover, regular seasonal influenzal and paragrippal outbursts kill much more people. In the USA it's 36 thousand men per year on the average, in Canada Ц 2.5 thousands. And about 250-500 thousand infected people (from 6 billion inhabitants) die in the world every year. But no one is crying out loud about pandemia, while a miserable number of people who died of swine influenza is positioned as something infernal.

So, we can observe another artificially created panic. But who needs it all?

HOW TO GET OUT OF HERE AND NOT CHANGE ANYTHING

I'll make my own supposition. The elite of the countries of the world capitalist main body has shown its total inability to withstand global economic crisis Ц with the growth of unemployment, poverty and corruption. In fact the April financial summit in London gave no results. Actually, this isn't surprising: now the crisis has crossed the limits of economic sphere, so all the attempts of "curing" it only with financial means are like trying to cure cancer with aspirin (it helps to ease headaches!). It's already obvious, that English ruling elites can't solve the problem of colossal debts of the country's citizens, and the US government can't evade mass default of houses owners in paying debts to banks.

It's already clear that Obama will not become another Roosevelt. A nice coincidence: "swine panic" began right in the end of the first hundred days of black-skinned US president's government. And while comparison with Roosevelt makes no good for Obama. During the first 100 days of governing Franklin D. Roosevelt could cause a real creation of new vacancies and overcome the financial crisis of those times. And Obama doesn't invest money into creation of new jobs Ц he gives a huge amount of it to a bankrupt financial sector, lining rich Wall Street businessmen's pockets with more millions. The amount of money assigned for the real sector and infrastructure is miserable in comparison with large-scale pumping of virtual-speculative sector. Priorities of the state budget under Obama are: war in the East (about a trillion dollar per year) and payments on growing state debt (about half a trillion per year).

At the same time Ц which is proved by the bankruptcy of Chrysler corporations Ц the policy of ultra capitalist "Chinazation" of the USA begins. It means the policy of cutting salaries for workers and diminishing their social guarantees. For example, the very Chrysler agreed to cut down salaries and liquidate the corporative fund of financing social programs for retired workers. And even earlier airlines began to give up of corporative pension funds.

The regulation of financial sector under Obama stays "toothless". Now the president isn't going to restore mechanisms protecting from speculations, which were in use since the time of Roosevelt government and to Clinton's time. Obama's "brain trust" still includes representatives of futile, speculative-financial lobby. And anti-crisis policy of the present financial elite can in general be expressed by a children's poem: "How to get out of here and not change anything?" And we understand that the real fight against the second Great Depression in reality requires the replacement of financial elites.

We see that the crisis in the USA (as well as in all the countries of the G7) goes on deepening, spreading social dissatisfaction. People going outside to protest is only a question of time. Growing "red" anti-capitalist moods can stay unnoticed only for a blind even in the USA, a stronghold of capitalism. Seems like Sergey Pereslegin's (a Russian futurologist) words are coming true: he said mass meetings under red banners would take place in western cities already in 2017. So why be surprised? Some more years of salaries and social guarantees cutting policy might lead to the demand of a socialist revolution. As always, the growth of anti-capitalist moods surprised the crowd of various experts and analysts. But, as a rule, they don't notice things like that till the very end. Not that long ago they missed the collapse of the USSR. Then they didn't want to see the sliding of financial-neoliberal system into the abyss. So no wonder it was too late when they noticed the present protest wave.

THE SWITCHING OF TENSION

We don't wonder that the present roughly created hysteria about the Swine flu is nothing but "the switching of people's attention". This method was described by Ernst Jünger in his "Heliopolis" (1949). In the novel people's anger, embittered by social-economic crisis, was switched to the disorders of Persian fire worshipers. The present variant is a bit softer. But it is also working: the fear of a serious infection weakens workers' will to go outside and arrange mass meetings.

And when pandemic hysteria won't bring results anymore, something more drastic will be devised. For example, a mega terrorist act in the West with using either tactic nuclear or bacteriological weapon. Or a war in Pakistan will come in time Ц so that Talibans will get access to nuclear weapon. Or maybe even with a few real nuclear kilotonne class strikes to one of the nearest states. A wide perspective is now opened for Hollywood fantasies.


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