Tom stared at the TV.
His Sunday night had passed like many before it. Households everywhere were huddled on sofas trying to forget 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 further 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 only thing keeping the moderately comfortable from falling into the precipice, that had killed thousands already, was the easy access to credit, the equity in their property or the trickle down of inheritance. Unfortunately, even these cushions were now getting quite thin.
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 at times, the world had never seen such financial disparity. Gold plated Supercars mocked the hungry as they cruised slowly 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 megga-rich who seemed well protected from 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 many years.
The political Left had never been more popular but lacked the focus to get elected. The right was loud and disturbing, but lacked all morality and decency which thus 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.
Tom Stared at the TV.
It was Seven AM Monday morning. The presenter barked endless updates of the same story with new morsels of information delivered on a hastily typed A4 into nervous news hands.
Tom had spent Sunday watching catch up TV and binging on box sets from pay per view. He rarely ventured onto terrestrial television, especially the news, and especially on a Sunday. He had spotted a news flash the night before about a software glitch at some bank or other, but hadn’t given it too much heed. The only reason the TV was on this morning was that a restless night that had led to a twitchy morning and him waking up well before the alarm, by now, he was dressed and groggy, peering over the mug of tea which was cradling his thirst as he sipped on the morning news.
There seemed to have been a major banking malfunction 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 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 money, a big credit card debt and a personal loan that never seemed to diminish.
7.50am Tom climbed into his car to drive the painful 4 miles into his office. The car felt his angst and seemingly in sympathy, refused to start. Tom sat back and called the breakdown service. He wasn’t in any danger, he didn’t have children in the car as a result he big yellow truck was not coming any time soon. Feeling a great sense of relief Tom sprung back into the house. Orange juice poured, toast popped and marmalade smeared he headed back to the TV, looking forward to a glut of morning low budget programmes usually aimed at elderly and housebound.
The television when flicked back on presented the news again as this was the channel last viewed.
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 strangely 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 but as stocks went into free fall, almost immediately the plug was pulled and just ten minutes later with billions gone, investors and institutions began to panic.
Tom went back into his banking app. His eyes could not quite work out what he was seeing. His account now had only half the amount that it had previously. His credit card and bank loan was now zero. ‘Awesome!’ Tom chuckled to himself. ‘If only it was a permanent glitch!’ Tom raised his glass of orange juice to the air toasting the unseen benevolent but clumsy software guy who had temporarily messed up the worlds banking codes.
As the day unfold the bizarre nature of this Monday morning surpassed anything Tom had ever seen. Around the world there were queues outside some banks, whilst others were in flames. Some people jumped for joy whilst others jumped to their death. Supermarket shelves were emptied with an urgency akin to news of a global snow storm.
Despite assurances from the World Bank and each countries own governments delivering spades of platitudes, no one seemed convinced.
It was only later in the day that news from the super wealthy started to surface, many reporting that complete fortunes were missing across many time zones and even off-shore accounts in hidden havens were showing as empty.
Then the biggie, it was similar to the moment when Diana died or the twin towers fell.
First, Apple called a press conference stating that all of its software engineers had been diverted from their core work creating and maintaining its global technology stranglehold, into assisting global governments and agencies into getting to the bottom of the banking glitch in order to resolve it. Faceit soon followed suit. Amazon delivered no statement and refused to comment on the flurry of tweets hounding it for a response.
Then it happened, and this was the moment when things began to properly unfold.
One tweet. One tweet from Michael Mathers, Amazons global chief finance officer in a seeming judgement error to 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 are in the financial strata.
The Tweet had a link to a video which was just a picture of the earth from space with a woman’s voice over. ‘The Levelling is here. Change is long overdue, it’s time for a reset.’
Then attached to the tweet was a You Tube link. 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.
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. 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 long overdue and necessary 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 had 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 receive their share. All currencies will be at parity so 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!’