Shutdown Forever

Pic:  Alicia Eler Minneapolis Star Tribune

I say, ‘Keep it all closed.’

Give everyone basic money and food

Pay their rent and mortgage

Forgive all debts, especially what the poor owe the rich.

Billionaires and rich countries

don’t need to be repaid

For money they stole in the first place.

People would still have to work, but not to survive.

They could help others, grow food, create beauty.

Fix pipes and cables and roads, build things

Like the kids painting murals on boarded up windows.

Like the people bringing food to old folks and

Homeless camps.

You know, real work.


There would still be money, but money wouldn’t rule.

People could take it or leave it.

You might be poor, but not starving or homeless.

If you wanted more, you could open a business

Or get a job, or fix things up and

Sell them, or perform, or serve.

Shut the prisons, shut the jails

Shut the arms factories and military bases

Give workers room to breathe, time to rest

Protective supplies and clean workspaces

Sick pay and health care.

Shut the nursing homes!

People who work from home or not at all

Can take care of their own parents.

Could such a system survive?

It has before.

In the Great Depression

We had the Conservation Corps

They planted forests; they built roads

They fed young people and gave them

Useful work to do. People loved it.

                                                The CCC. pic from

What about economics? You ask

What about the value of money?

Imagine this: governments create

As much money as needed to keep

The economy going, distribute it through

Basic income payments,

Buy materials for infrastructure, then stop.

No inflation, no need for taxes.

Imagine a world with less industry, less economy

Less driving, less pollution

Like we’ve had in the shutdown

Less stuff, so less to steal.

Good for Nature, good for social relations

Having fun, creating art, making love, healing

Not accumulating more

Not fighting war.

                                      Animals like the shutdown Pic from

Not locking people in their homes

Sick people quarantined, well people doing

What they do, masks maybe, washing hands,

But touching if they want, eating together, dancing

Sick people get well and then join in.

Open restaurants and clubs, museums and libraries

Sports and schools

Like they have in Hong Kong and Sweden.

Communism didn’t succeed, you say?

People didn’t work hard without a cash incentive.

But tell me: if you could live without a paid job, would you work?

What would you do?

Would you invent, create, toil, help others for room, board, and change?

Do what you love for three hots and a cot?

That’s no way for a person or country to get rich,

But maybe a way to be happy, healthy, and loved.

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