And so 2022 backs into view, complete with butt-trumpet

Back in January 2021 I published a rather gloomy post speculating that the year would be worse for the world than 2020. It was. By the end of 2021, New Zealand – which had escaped the pandemic until then – was amidst a Delta outbreak and struggling to keep Omicron out.

The science was underscored by the empirical evidence: vaccines worked and it was important to get immunised. However, government simply pushed to that end, finally imposing civil restrictions on the unvaccinated in a kind of medical apartheid. The fact that the enabling legislation was whipped through Parliament without proper process caused an outcry, but it happened anyway. Doubtless public health responsibilities, combined with the prevalence of vaccine-resistance in a community primed by ‘big pharma’ conspiracy theories and the misapprehension that vaccines are meant to stop people contracting any given disease, all played a part. But still, it was a hit to civil rights in a country that – until now – has been ranked one of the top four strongest democracies on the planet.

For those wanting the vaccine but unable to have it for medical reasons (for instance, certain auto-immune conditions) the effect was like a letter from Psycho Santa: ‘Hello, little Timmy, I won’t be visiting you this year because you have asthma’. These people were treated as if they had chosen to be disabled, and were being punished for that wrong ‘choice’ by loss of civil liberties. Not the first time, of course, that people have been mistreated because they exist.

And so 2022, complete with butt-trumpet, backs into view from stage left.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s house prices – which were already eye-watering – rose nearly 30 percent during 2021 largely because the Reserve Bank botched its 2020 response to Covid. They poured an avalanche of money into the economy and, after the usual lead-times associated with monetary policy, most of it went to inflate fixed-asset prices during 2021. Mix in the Covid lockdowns and constraints on listings and it was a recipe for explosive house-price inflation. Just to cap it off, the government – once again – did nothing to properly reform a tax, financial and economic system that is structured to funnel money from the poor to the rich (currently, via the house-price issue), and to leave New Zealand utterly exposed to every wild swing of international markets, especially the financial ones.

So yeah, 2021 was a kicker, certainly in New Zealand. Actually it was the sort of year that knocks you down and keeps smashing you in the head with its hob-nail boots, screaming that it’s your fault, you made it do this, because you exist.

Events never respect arbitrary calendar divisions: all these issues continue unabated – meaning that the arrival of 2022 is akin to a malevolent figure backing in from stage left, complete with butt-trumpet.

I shudder to think about the rest of the world. The end-game of neoliberalism – a slow-mo train crash that will take another generation to play out – is looking increasingly ugly. More on that in the next post.

Still, one lives in hope. Probably.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2022


9 thoughts on “And so 2022 backs into view, complete with butt-trumpet

  1. Yes, we’re on almost 200,000 COVID cases a day in England right now while the Tories plunge the country further into chaos. Plus 11 years of austerity. Plus housing housing. Plus mindless nationalism.

    Globally, it’s turning into a competition to see who can run things worst.

    There’s quite a good film out right now called Don’t Look Up. Not outstanding, but a welcome satirical tonic for the growing absurdity of day-to-day existence. That took my mind off things for 2 hours.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s possible that NZ has had the ‘least bad’ response to Covid. Not sure. To me the whole thing is skewed by big business not wanting to let their profits go and leaning on politicians to act accordingly.

      I’ve got ‘Don’t Look Up’ on my to-do list of things to watch as soon as I get the time. Apparently it nails the current zeitgeist.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “To me the whole thing is skewed by big business not wanting to let their profits go and leaning on politicians to act accordingly.” – Then you’ll like the jabs Don’t Look Up makes at big business moguls. It’s about time a major film mocked them a little in their pomp and ceremony, so it’s not a big surprise the media and others have been huffy about it.

        Liked by 2 people

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