Yes, they’re related. To understand this, you have to understand the Mesoamerican concept of “the end of the world.” It wasn’t a sudden cataclysm that wiped everything out. It was a process that could take a few years but, at the end of that process, the old world would be totally gone and a new one ready in its place. When the Aztecs predicted an end of the world in 1519, it showed up right on schedule in the form of the Spanish army and a smallpox epidemic. By 1521, the Aztec world lay shattered and a new world, dominated by the Spanish, lay before them.
In that new world, there were a series of devastating epidemics. The first two were smallpox, but then the Aztecs began to complain of other ailments whose symptoms were more in line with some bizarre hemorrhagic fevers from the native jungles. The reason why the Aztecs were now more vulnerable to them was because of the hard conditions they faced: poor nutrition, harsher working conditions, and general displacement. The first waves of smallpox killed 50% of the Mexican population: the succeeding epidemics killed off sufficient numbers to keep the population total of natives in 1690 roughly a tenth of what it was in 1519.
We’ve got some people now saying the end of the world will come to us on 21 December, 2012, according to one interpretation of a Mayan calendar. Maybe it will, who knows? But if the Mayans are in charge, it won’t be a massive, sudden shift. It’ll be a process. Maybe it’ll have something to do with the lack of accessible health care in the USA and the increasingly marginal conditions the people of the USA find themselves in.
Let’s face it, as long as corporate interests have their hooks in Congress, the people of the USA won’t get a fair shake on anything, and that includes health care. The food companies give us fattening junk and won’t let Congress change that situation. The drug companies will use their influence in Congress to make sure their profits stay large. Similarly, the health care industry practically wrote the health care bill passed a few years ago. It suits their needs perfectly and leaves the people in the USA that can’t access health care now forced to pay a tax for not being able to afford health care.
The banks have turned us out of our houses while the multinationals have gone Galt and enslaved other people, leaving us without decent jobs. With the trifecta of an overburdened health care system that places a priority on corporate profits, the people of America are becoming more and more vulnerable to an actual plague, let alone increasing incidence of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
If we didn’t have a Congress beholden to corporations and if we didn’t have corporate directors that were beholden to the almighty dollar, we’d be able to do something about it. As it is, though, we’re ripe and ready for the Mayan Apocalypse, whenever it actually does happen.