I went to Macy’s yesterday, to get a Christmas gift. There was a sign on the door saying that masks are required in the store. I didn’t put a mask on but went resolutely on with my shopping. No one ordered me to mask up. I think that retailers know that there’s no health reason to wear a mask even though employees can’t work without wearing one because of government regulations. Shoppers show up without a mask on and no one makes us wear one. In the face of signs saying they are required and even in the resounding echo of announcements stating that masks are required no one insists. And no one believes that they do any kind of good. This is true at my grocery store, at the home supply store, at the greenhouse nursery and I don’t wear a mask at any of them.
I went early when Macy’s first opened and I’ll admit that it may not have been their peak business time period. Also, it was raining a little. I walked into the store and the only people there seemed to be employees. Each employee greeted me enthusiastically. I went to the home section to buy towels for a lady who is getting too old to enjoy shopping (so no gift card). I was amazed that the color I was sent to purchase was on sale and at a reduced price. Everyone was courteous and I was courteous.
But I worry that Macy’s might not be there much longer. I worry that covid rules are really about shutting down in person shopping. That means that covid rules are about ending jobs for all those store clerks. And ending the old economy. Regulations to restrict people are about restraining in-person commerce by making people uncomfortable when they go to the store. They threaten and bully people so they won’t go to Macy’s.
The problem is that harming the old economy won’t ensure the triumph of the new. Just having an online source as an alternative doesn’t create commerce connections the way they existed before. Jobs won’t be there and people’s interactions with each other won’t be there either. If everyone can put in an online order, won’t everyone just shop for themselves? Will there be a reason to go discover unexpected products that delight and amaze the gift giver and gift recipient? I’m worried that shopping on-line may not offer as many deals but just one homogeneous monopoly price. And a lot of people will not be able to afford to online-only shop when jobs are restricted by algorithms that screen out certain groups instead of hiring any person that can do the job.
It has been convenient to order on-line when I can’t get pants in my size like happened last winter and fall season. Of course, on-line shopping doesn’t let me check the fit before I buy. In the case something fits poorly, I have to either send it back or alter the fit by retailoring the item. And there isn’t as much happenstance discovery the way there is when you go to a store in person and see everything at once all around you. On-line shopping offers most of all convenience but not the same kinds of choices or prices. This 2021 season, the on-line stores don’t have as many discount sales as in-person stores, at least for the items I’m shopping for this Christmas. Last year there were more on-line discounts than this year. I think that’s because of growing inflation. Our inflation has been caused by a rapant fascist attack against the dollar through the printing press and covid regulatory restrictions.
The cost of fascism’s alliance between politics and economics is that neither the politic or economy work well. They each get in their own way. Politicians are too busy making corrupt deals to benefit themselves and their cronies and they don’t plan good policies for the nation. Commercial interests that screen employees by algorithm instead of by job skill leads to business that doesn’t achieve business goals. People in politics and business have wanted more power to make society more amenable to their interests but they aren’t achieving any practical goals. Politics stops being moral and the economy stops making money. Politicians and businessmen who have decided that vaccines should be mandatory achieve partial success at that single goal while they neglect myriad other better goals. Connections between people are better connections than algorithm arranged networks. On-line connecting isn’t the same kind of value and experience as shopping in person.
If you want to learn how our economy has entered the Twilight Zone, that is, become restrained by excessive and inappropriate covid rules, buy a copy of Political Catsup with Economy Fries available at Amazon.com. My book explaines the nuts and bolts of political and economic changes over American history from the founding. It will help you understand the connections between political policies and economic outcomes by carefully defining terms and taking you through policy changes that have affected the American way of life.