Welcome To The "HAPO" Economy!
Author's Note: After a whirlwind of a year for 2022 (so far), I've returned to personal blogging. I don't know how often I'll be blogging yet, but I'm just glad to share my thoughts from time to time.
Everything has changed since COVID-19. To me, it's the "before-and-after" event of my lifetime.
Beyond the economic, social, and political disruption the pandemic caused, the most significant negative impact it had was on our nation's imaginary, or the realm of what we collectively define as possible or desirable.
In my eyes, the absence of a proper health response to COVID left a permanent impression that our government is not responsible for its citizens. Over one million people have died due to COVID in America across two presidential administrations so far.
No one was jailed. No one was fired. No one took responsibility.
Instead, the greatest wealth transfer in the history of the world occurred across the globe:
Where does the current situation leave us?
The government abdicates its responsibility for its most vulnerable and guarantees its mandate to protect its most secure. The social contract has been ripped up, and in its place, a new type of society emerges.
Welcome to the Hyper-Atomized, Post-Ownership (HAPO) society.
Hyper-Atomized: with diminishing prospects of America acting to further Americans’ collective interest, individuals must deal with more risks being pushed on them in daily living. The average person sees their neighbor as a competitor for what appears to be relatively scarce positions to earn a living in the lower, middle adequately, and even upper-middle-class (UMC) rungs of society. They can only depend on themselves and a select few others to advance or maintain their position. (The competition is mostly felt in the UMC.)
Post-Ownership: The emergent wealth disparity post-COVID leaves ownership of basic resources, such as a home, car, and other essential items required for living in most of the U.S., out of reach. General ownership yields widespread renting. Everything we took for granted to own has now become a subscription.
Within HAPO society, people are connected through their separation from one another. The digital replaces the physical. What was once a tangible stake in the country became a fleeting lease.
A lease on prosperity that grows more tenuous by the day. The only way to overcome such adverse conditions is by increasing your (physical) mobility and autonomy.
If today’s promise decays into the future, what are we left with at the end?
The HAPO society’s terminus:
The future is an endless present, where you'll own nothing, and you'll be happy.