The Great Suffering in the wake of late-stage capitalism

As the younger cohorts of this country enter The Great Suffering, the product of late-stage capitalism, they will have to unlearn to grow.

The Great Suffering Lange, Dorothea 'A very blue eagle. Along a California highway' The Great Suffering
'A very blue eagle. Along California highway,' Dorothea Lange, 1936

Step aside, Great Depression. A new chapter in America’s history is being written as we speak.

It’s shaping up to be a sad one. Everywhere you look, you see the effects of capitalism’s rot. Huge spikes in homelessness. People dying from fear of going to the doctor for political reasons, financial reasons, or willingness reasons.

There is a noticeable regression of hope. The mood that hangs over a generation is aimlessness, frustration, and shame. The only things that weren’t in a shortage after the Great Wealth Plunder, disguised in as COVID relief packages were pain and disappointment.

The pain of realizing that you’ve being lied to for decades. The disappointment of realizing you’re on a treadmill, that your fate has already been written; your story’s ending won’t be a happy one.

The understanding that learning new skills, gaining experiences, and working hard will only prevent you from sinking a bit further than you were the year before. That social mobility was the carrot, but the carrot was really a stick that was painted orange.

Why is it that the amount of debt a generation owes is proportional to the amount they will earn the profession that college degree earned them? A small handful of men in suits has worked out the math. You have never met them. You owe them years of your salary for no discernible reason whatsoever. You can make payments.

Is this what freedom looks like? Who’s definition of freedom is this? Are we free to seal the fates of generations before they are even born?

The young people of this nation have been taxed in deceptive, roundabout ways. They have been taxed of their first ten wealth-building years in the form of student loans. They have been taxed of opportunities to establish themselves in the world.

Fat cats have plundered decades worth of our nation’s wealth…again. They did it not by changing the script, but rather, rearranging the whole theater in such a way that no matter where you sat, you couldn’t quite hear what was being said.

It’s all in the birth cards now: Social mobility is dead.

The only social mobility that empirically happens is down the ladder, inching ever closer to homelessness. According to the mainstream media, is a big mystery and surely somehow the fault of poor people, or China, or entitlement, or anything else but what it really is.

Do you really wonder why there are so many homeless people while booking your AirBnB? The stock market is clocking all time highs while millions face food scarcity. Is this what success looks like? Have we arrived to the future?

Worse than kings and monarchs, the voracious greed of capitalism has no sense of responsibility to the masses that created the wealth they selfishly enjoy and foolishly feel ownership over. Even the monarchs of Europe at the height of their delusions toward the people they ruled over weren’t big cowards, hiding behind a facade of ‘consent’ to be governed. If any ruler is worth their salt, they would feel some sense of accountability to the state of society instead of leveraging their position against it. Democracy is in a coma, and we’re not so sure she’s going to make it.

Capitalism is failing. The Great Suffering is upon us. It’s back to the drawing board. The capitalists won’t let us go easy, but if we just stop paying them our time and attention, we can create something new while they pout in the corner and demand we return to the office.

For all the polarity the media broadcasts on a 24-7 basis, when it comes to important things, Americans will band together and reach across the aisle to make sure wages don’t go up while the cost of living surges across every metric. God bless representational government, am I right?

No one wants to play a second round of Monopoly with the banker that always accidentally over-counts for themselves, but accounts to the penny for everyone else. You may have won the game – but no one wants to play your game anymore. You won’t be invited to the next game night, just like when you were a child.

America’s billionaire class aren’t heroes. They simply were willing to continue where others drew the line. What lines their portfolios is counter measured by an certain and absolute morality bankruptcy. Capitalism at this stage rewards psychopathy. It punishes empathy – a characteristic that has enabled humanity’s survival as a species throughout most of human history.

Billionaires themselves are committed to the delusion that they deserve an inordinate amount of resources – more than they could ever realistically enjoy themselves.

The current American system is more akin to feudalism than it is capitalism in its more idealized form. Except, what will feudalism look like when the legions have themselves bought into the delusion that a small number of people are entitled to the majority of all resources as they get poorer every year, even if they don’t quite know it yet?

They offer no solutions. Only tactics and protections for themselves, in keeping with capitalism’s vitriol towards society. Any consideration of ideas that involve collectivism and prosperity, a restoration of the middle class, free markets their dictionary versions, not it’s the dystopian counterpart professed by talking heads in the living rooms across the nation. The true measure of a society’s wealth distribution health are the enemy of capitalism. We are ‘free’ to revere those who have taken everything from us.

The Great Resignation, waves of social protests, labor strikes – all symptoms of the Great Suffering. Sickness, injuries, deaths, and pain. Incredible oceans of pain.

The strategy is divide and conquer, mixed with distraction tactics. Don’t let it be. Remember: We don’t have to agree on everything. We don’t have to agree on anything. We can see things differently, prioritize things differently, care about different things – and that’s okay.

This system is broken. We’ll have to learn from our mistakes and draft what comes next.

We’ll have to unlearn the psychopathy capitalism has promoted for hundreds of years and lean back onto the empathy that has guided the successful evolution of humanity for millennia. We’ll have to remember that we aren’t the only ones hurting – everyone besides our Great Leaders who pay millions to lawyers and lobbyists to deny us things like health care, families, hope for the future, and above all…freedom. Real freedom. Freedom to grow. Freedom to thrive. Freedom to aspire.

We’ll have to to the hard thing – swallow our pride and look out for each other.

And create something from nothing.


  • Tanja Fijalkowski

    Tanja Fijalkowski is an award-winning writer, editor, and designer. A North Bay Area native, she has written for various financial, business, history, and science publications. She's a deep-dive researcher with a strong command of data analysis and simplifying complex concepts.

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