HIV & the Viral Global Economy: Powerful Similarities

HIV is a tiny package of genetic information, an RNA code without any body attached to it.

The global economy is a big package of socio/techno-economic information, a set of ideas about a particular kind of economic system.

HIV is held together by a protein wrapper like the sugar coating on a pill that makes it taste better. The wrapper acts like a camouflage, making it “taste better,” or at least not taste bad, to the bodies it hopes to infect so that they don’t reject it on first pass.

The sugar coating that makes the viral economy taste good and camouflages its intent is a capitalist ideology of perpetual growth and progress and universal prosperity—an easy sell to communities and nations lacking in material well-being and well-off communities and nations wanting to be still more well-off.

Though it has some of the characteristics of living things, HIV is not a living thing. It’s a parasite, a taker. It lives off its hosts’ resources. In the process it weakens and sometimes kills them.

Without workers, consumers and believers, without Earth’s raw materials, other-than-human species and ecological services, the economy couldn’t feed itself, expand or grow. It’s a parasite—a taker—too.

As a group, disease-causing agents like viruses are called “pathogens.”

The directors, managers, promoters and primary beneficiaries of the global economy are traditionally called “the Powers That Be,” or simply “the Powers.”

The secret of a virus’s success is mobility. Viruses need reliable methods of transportation to move them from host to host. Many viruses are airborne. HIV is liquid-borne. It gets around in bodily fluids like semen, blood and breast milk and through contact between mucous-lined—moist—tissues.

Ditto the global economy. It spreads from community to community, nation to nation by means of liquid assets and fluid exchanges of money, credit, loans, “floats,” entitlements, tax breaks and incentives and through money-lined contacts between its participants, particularly the Powers.

HIV targets and takes over—it dominates—the immune system, a system distributed throughout the body that protects, defends, heals and restores health to the body. By means of this domination of the immune system it dominates the whole body.

The viral global economy targets and takes over—it dominates the Earth’s equivalent of an immune system—the natural and human communities that in the past have been able to protect, defend, heal and restore health to themselves, their ecosystems and the biosphere, the whole body of Life on Earth.

HIV invades immune system cells, disables their protective and healing capabilities and reprograms them to make millions of copies of itself. After it has used up a cell’s resources, its copies disperse to other parts of the body and other hosts, destroying captured cells and whole organ systems in the process.

The global economy persuades, buys, cajoles, coerces or forces its way into human and natural communities. It undermines their ability to provide for and protect themselves, and re-programs them to support its growth and expansion. When it has depleted local resources, it moves on, leaving communities and nations in ruins.

HIV makes the body vulnerable to all manner of infection and disease.

The global economy makes every place on Earth vulnerable to the environmental, economic, social and political symptoms that result from arriving at the point, soon, of confronting a global Critical Mass of converging, and largely insoluble, crises. The most infamous of Tipping Points wherein the body politic, the nation-state system, the social fabric and the Earth’s familiar eco-systems fail utterly.

And now for the good news:

Yes, that’s the closing sentence. A fragment.

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