David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Social Economy

January 23, 2021

As I reflect upon the first three weeks of a new year that is already leaving me feeling drained, I am buoyed by the lyrics of Gang of Four, in my estimation, the best band to ever capture the economics of relationships. The full meaning of "The History Of The World," the song alluded to throughout and then forming the final couplet here, has always eluded me; yet, the sentiment has always fueled me.

Social Economy

What good are indicators

If I won't look at what's in front of me,

Or running up behind me,

Gasping to catch me?

Good, yes, the gang's done well

Consuming chains of distribution,

But we've undervalued the production

Of tomorrow's home-cooked meal.


See her standing over there

Shrouded in a cloak of survivor's guilt.

"What just passed me by?

Can I trade this cloak for a blanket

Because I have a chill I can't shake?"

Today over lunch she will watch her tears

Drip into the soup re-heated

Her kids will never appreciate.


He stamped his name on capital

Tied up in the war he's waged.

Can others see that spirit

In his look wide-eyed and fearful?

Ah, yes, the gang's all here

Regulating the responses

That ignore the assemblage

Of their eight dollar scramble.


The crowd disperses, not that

The distancing made it uncomfortable.

The fashionable and the practical

Merged into something spectacular.

All of us back home, took a deep breath

Shrugged our shoulders,

And chopped our onions

Because we weren't ready to stop crying.


Opportunity may only come

At the cost of something lost.

Listen to the breathing

Oozing from every corner of the market.

No? Yes! The last gang in town

Fights for supplies they demand,

Forgetting that they traded

For futures with undernourished souls.


Here is a small prize:

The history of the world.*

*Gang of Four. "The History of The World." Songs of the Free. EMI. 1982. Clip.