Tom stared at the TV.
His Sunday night had passed like many before it. Households everywhere were huddled on sofas trying to forget that Monday morning loomed large like a lingering death knell.
Outside his window the economy had tanked and the Government pushed ahead with more cuts and punitive budgetary discipline which hurt everyone except the wealthy. Unusually for a modern western economy, the middle classes seemed to be hurting as much as he poor. The moderately comfortable had become the just about managing and all that held them back from the precipice of poverty, which had already claimed thousands, was easy access to credit, equity in their property or the trickle down of inheritance. Now even those ropes were fraying as the chasm yawned wider.
The top two percent of the world owned ninety percent of the wealth and boy did they flaunt it! The poor were dying in the streets. The world had never seen such financial disparity. Gold plated Super-cars mocked the hungry as they cruised arrogantly past. Manufacturers of luxury goods competed to create ever more vulgar trinkets to attract the buyer to spend more and more on less and less. The hurricane of excess tore apart the lives of all but the mega-rich who seemed blissfully unaware of the storm.
Anger twisted wrists into fists and the air was full of threats of revolution, upheaval or collapse, all of which seemed just a day or two away. It had somehow seemed that way for too many years.
The political Left had never been more popular but lacked the focus to get elected. The right was loud and disturbing, lacked all morality and decency which unfortunately made them perfectly qualified to be a government in power. It was only a matter of time before the far right stepped up their game and a new kind of hell would surface.
It was Seven AM Monday morning. The new presenter barked endless updates of the same story with fresh morsels of information delivered on a hastily typed A4 into nervous news hands.
’We are getting reports from the Sydney stock exchange that some unusual trading activity has forced emergency closure of all of its trading floors countrywide. All trading has been suspended. No official statement has been released yet but indications are that some sort of computer malfunction may be behind this unusual emergency measure.’
There seemed to have been a major banking error in some parts of the world. It had started in Australia. From the information gathered anecdotally and from street based interviews, people had woken up to find the money drained from their bank accounts and they were angrily confused. Weirdly, it seemed that some of those who started with empty accounts now had money that wasn’t there before, these victims were probably less vociferous hoping that if they kept quiet, they kept the money.
Very soon New Zealand, Japan, China and India were all reporting similar banking anomalies and trading on some stock exchanges had already been suspended as a precaution.
Tom opened the app on his phone and logged into his mobile banking. All seemed normal, a little cash, a big credit card debt and a personal loan that never seemed to diminish.
In the 30 minutes since the last update things were changing at quite a pace. Now the reporters were on the streets of the UK and Brits were telling the same story. Bank accounts in complete disarray money missing, money added. The London stock exchange had not rung its bell and the trading floors were eerily quiet. Traders made frantic phone calls to international colleagues as they tried to make sense of the financial glitch. The Frankfurt stock exchange had bucked the global trend and had decided to open trading an hour earlier, stocks immediately went into free fall, the plug was pulled and just ten minutes later with billions gone, investors and institutions began to panic.
Then, one tweet. One tweet from Michael Mathers, Amazon's global chief finance officer in what seemed at the time an error of judgement surpass all errors ever recounted before in corporate history. This tweet was the beginning of the end, or maybe the beginning of the beginning, depending on where you were in the financial strata.
The Tweet had a link to a video which was just a picture of the earth from space narrated by the voice of what sounded like a mature woman with an international European English accent. ‘The Levelling is here. Change is long overdue, it’s time for a reset.’
Virtually simultaneously globally news organisations broadcast the video.
A silhouette of a woman against a plain background and a computer automated voice.
’We are The Mothers of The Earth. Greed and inequality has been allowed to flourish for too long. Despite financial and social injustices globally, the powers that govern and represent us refuse to address the issues and most make them worse by creating schemes that make the rich even richer whilst the poor starve and we race towards environmental disaster.
We have decided to take direct action because our leaders and those representing us refuse to do so. Collectively we have irreversibly levelled global wealth. We have emptied global bank accounts, financial systems both corporate and individual and all electronic means of holding funds. Firstly we wiped out all debt and then we have then re-distributed all monies equally amongst everyone alive today.
As each country wakes up their financial systems will automatically level between all citizens.
However, be warned, any government, organisation or individual who tries to reverse this action by whatever means will face sanctions. All individuals within that government, company or organisation including all investors, subscribers and employees will all, without exception, have their entire Levelling share removed from them immediately. They will be left with nothing and their access to the internet or others future means of electronic funds will be blocked.
This as a new beginning. This is an opportunity for all to rebuild our world in a fair and just way. From this moment on, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg have the same net worth as the homeless guy you passed sleeping in a doorway yesterday.
Everyone’s cash share will be offset against their property holdings leaving many who have multiple properties, now without any funds whatsoever.
The share out equates to approximately five thousand dollars per man woman and child on the planet. This will be given out in five hundred dollar increments every month over the next ten months. Provision has been made for those without bank accounts to also receive their share. All currencies will be at parity. Therefore one Yen for example will be worth one dollar and so will a Euro etc.
A second and equally important effect we hope The Levelling will have is that it will, for a time check rampant global consumerism, pollution, mining and manufacture. This we hope will have a positive effect on the climate and will buy the planet a little more time to heal and recover.
For our children and their mothers, for our fathers and their sons this is The Levelling and we are The Mothers of The Earth!
Later it was discovered Mathers Twitter account had been hacked, but initially it looked like the gamekeeper had turned poacher!
Tom stared at the TV: ‘Oh Fuck!’