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Medical Neofeudalism: Why Covid is (not)Just Another Tax

Think about it. The millions and millions of dollars flooding the medical sector from both private and public coffers. From manufacturers of surgical equipment (masks) to testing labs (all the mandatory tests) to the great pharmaceutical companies (vaccines), the whole sector has received a huge bump of cash to snort. The hysterical reactions to a bad seasonal flu in countries with aged populations betrays perhaps not only that old people rule us all but also that the powers that be have realised that this is a once-in-a-blue-moon chance to indiscriminately pump (usually underfunded) health provision, whether public or private. Better still, this is done per proxy, tacitly and using citizens' own money.

People hand over money for an obligatory test which costs the testing company maybe a tenth of what they demand for it, including cost of logistics; mask manufacturers (who also typically produce other medical gear) have probably gotten their best returns in history, to rival successful crypto projects. The state saves millions and millions in processing fees, since this new tax administrates itself by the power of the market. Companies even vie for tax revenues between themselves, offering cheaper and more accessible medical goods and services.

I will leave the morality of this for each individual to work out. (Some might opt for working out morality collectively, but not me.) The real question is: is this anything new? The government slinging resources to huge corporations, especially in the arms sector, has long been the norm. Vaccine money is no different. But the current brutal and direct steering of people's consumption to a sector that has been deemed underfunded in order to finance it, while ample examples may be found in history, has been hitherto unprecedented. Carving out domains (market niches) for economic players by the state and ceding to them the task of collecting revenues resembles a peculiar form of feudal relations, which, for lack of a better term, we might term neofeudalism.

Might we rejoice at the state falling back to allow for huge economic entities to take the fore? Should this model settle in it would certainly hail qualitatively better revenue gathering, which might be good news for the impersonal force of cybernetic progress, but not exactly for the tax victim. One thing is for certain, unlike the feudalism of old, this neofeudalism shall not deal with exact territory, but will instead dominate huge swathes of the globe, from which different conglomerates of a few key players shall reap profits. This process, with some precedent, may be called deterritorialization. This uncertainty of territory stems from a more fundamental aspect of capitalism: the fungibility of the capitalist, or the depersonalisation of economic power. Who is Big Pharma? WHO is not Big Pharma. By this I mean both that not even the WHO is Big Pharma and that anyone with enough funds to buy even one share can become a miniscule part of Big Pharma, a monad of capital, infinitely small, but nevertheless part of the Behemoth.

Rejoice, for you can now choose your earthly masters and even oppress yourselves more efficiently than the clumsy Leviathans of old could ever dream of!

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