Is the spectacle collapsing? Debord and Dylan in the era of COVID capitalism

Dylan says (not said, but says, because – as another great America writer put it – “the past is never dead, it isn’t even past”, ):

He not busy being born is busy dying.

So is the system finally dying? If so, is it because of COVID19 or something else, something deeply rotted about the whole spectacle? 

It may be capitalism itself that is collapsing under the weight of something that weighs nothing! In other words, the virus has exposed capitalism for what it really is – a spectacle as Debord would say or a mere reification as Lukacs would say.

The fiction of fictitious capital has been exposed as purely a fiction.

  • Hospital systems with no surge capacity.
  • Pharmaceutical companies so dedicated to selling addictive harmful products through massive marketing juggernauts that they are unable to switch gears and actually cure anyone.
  • Hundreds of money losing tiny biotech startups – really nothing more than incorporated research groups spun off by university faculty – making incremental changes to existing drugs unable to muster the resources to come up with treatment or vaccines.
  • An economy dominated by a few profitable mega-monopolies like Amazon while hundreds of thousands of small businesses (actually just working class people who kid themselves into believing they are “their own boss”) have no cash reserves, while in between are thousands of debt laden Zombie and near dead corporations.
  • A global supply chain that is firmly tethered to a repressive state capitalist regime that is carrying out at least two genocidal attacks (Tibet and Uyghur) while also driving its own people into sweatshops for global capital.

All of this now in free fall collapse due to either a man-made bio-weapon, a mad science experiment that went rogue or the result of yet another disastrous clash between humanity and nature as capital spreads into the hinterlands.