Americans who were at least moderately rich, e.g., incomes above $100,000 per year, prospered financially through a year of lockdown. They got paid the same or more. They didn’t have to spend money or time commuting. Their stock market and real estate holdings zoomed (so to speak) up. Since they couldn’t buy restaurant meals or travel, their earnings piled up. (See “During Covid-19, Most Americans Got Richer—Especially the Rich” (WSJ): “U.S. households gained $13.5 trillion in wealth in 2020. … More than 70% of the increase in household wealth went to the top 20% of income earners. About a third went to the top 1%.”)
Where have we previously seen someone who stays in one place for a year or more while surrounded by valuable items? Beowulf! At the end of the poem (more than 1,000 years old), our hero confronts a dragon whose lived experience for 300 years has been #StayHomeSaveLives while his/her/zir/their golden treasure appreciates. Mx. Dragon is almost as stuffed with cash as a Seattle divorce plaintiff, but never spends any of it.
- “Dragonomics: Smaug and Climate Change” (Richard Fahey, a grad student in English at University of Notre Dame): “I would suggest that Smaug may be productively read as a representation of climate change, in the sense that the dragon is a force of smoke and heat which destroys ecosystems and disrupts the environment in much deeper and more long-lasting ways. … At the center of our modern struggles with dragonomics, I would argue, the problem of avarice endures. It is greed, especially from the fossil fuel lobby and the major energy companies (many linked to nations themselves), which have stalled and prevented developments in renewable energies in order to reduce our carbon footprint. … Dragonomics is not simply about making money, it is about plundering it and more importantly hoarding it.”
- source of image above