Filed under: Analysis, Capitalism, Northwest
The future is here. This is the new Seattle. Everything is on a screen. Even the benevolent and wise Stranger has more readers online than IRL. Only a healthy 19% of the population can afford to live within the municipal borders. For that, it requires over $100,000 a year in wages. Loyal citizens can now chose between two iterations of white-feminism (high-fascist pig vs. progressive urbanist) for Mayor of the City. Luckily, there’s a Ferris-Wheel on the waterfront if all this just becomes TMI. If that still doesn’t sound good, you can always go home, binge on Game of Thrones, and order authentic poke delivered to your doorstep by an underpaid Postmates worker, soon to be replaced by an even more efficient and timely Amazon delivery-drone. But if you want a little exercise, you can always walk to the nearby Whole Foods and use your Amazon Prime discount to purchase bananas grown on plantations in Ecuador. Soon enough, Prime will also offer a discount on coconut water.
Two generations ago people were easily able to afford houses in this city. Every house used to have a fruit tree, a yard for the children and pets, a few cars parked on the street, and neighbors who had known each other for years. Now every house must conform to the reigning aesthetic of density, homogeneity, concrete, rectangles, no yards, no trees, no parking, and no fun for those who can’t afford it. Someone born in Seattle a generation ago can no longer afford to live in their childhood neighborhood. If they could, they still might not want to. Unless they went to school for tech related skills and graduated from a prestigious university, the most they have to look forward to in their hometown is $15 to $20 an hour. Forever.
Microsoft built the first channels to siphon people into the emerging tech economy which now reigns supremo. Jumpstarted during the regional depression of the 1970s, Microsoft introduced an economic model not dependent on traditional industry or manufacturing. It involved the creation of something called software, a transient, ephemeral, and easily outmoded form of expression. The company was started by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. While “Billy the Nerd” went on to cure AIDS, cancer, and save Africa, “Paul the Apostle” built a real-estate empire and an atrocious metal blob at the base of the Space Needle. Paul helped move Amazon from its decrepit mental-asylum headquarters on Beacon Hill to the new glass towers of his South Lake Union properties. In this manner, the future was born. Now look at it.
At the exact moment that Amazon is building a literal bubble for itself, a real-estate bubble has expanded to such absurd extremes that only 19% of the population doesn’t have to think about how they’re going to pay rent. Or, in other words, survive. It requires over $100,000 a year to survive in this city comfortably. Those in the Seattle service sector are lucky to make $30,000 to $50,000 a year. If one is ejected from this service layer of the economy, they are then forced to navigate a variety of homeless shelters, tent encampments, tiny-house villages, wet doorways, and social-housing waiting lists. As an added benefit, getting foodstamps now officially requires one to either be actively seeking employment, volunteering at state-appointed institutions, or fully employed and earning less that $2000 a month, all of which is very difficult to accomplish living in a soggy tent. To top it all off, DSHS is now hiring more accountants than social workers. Because after all, numbers are everything.
The “dumpy generation” is only able to move out of mom’s basement by living together in cramped houses, being ruthlessly exploited by whoever will pay the best, and will have likely held 20 or more jobs during their grand 30 years on this earth. There’s literally no path for this generation (also referred to as the “millennials”) other than a comprehensive revolt against the pointless insanity depicted above. This will require an existential break with everything their parents and their parents parents thought made sense. It doesn’t. It never did. And now it’s going to explode.
The pendulum is swinging backwards. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. What was lost was never lost. Etc. Etc. Etc. We are mice. The cheese they always told us about was never real. No matter how much we see it on the screen, that shit’s fake. You can’t eat it. Many a mouse has been driven insane trying to bite this digital cheese. It’s gotten so bad all the mice are just sitting at different points in the maze, on their asses, and never thinking to just look up, climb over the walls, and escape. Until now that is. You have it from us, and we’re not lying. The cheese isn’t real. So now it’s time to finally get this party started and forget the cheese. There’s better things to think about.
Capitalism will end anyway. You decide when!