Monday, March 23, 2020

Our Sick Society

Diehard supporters of capitalism are beginning to fight back against the government’s apparent decision to put people or at least the health service before the health of the capitalist economy.
Sparked off by an article in Saturday’s Times by Matthew Paris entitled “Crashing the economy will also cost lives”, a debate is raging on “crashing the economy versus sacrificing lives” with some actually arguing that minimising deaths today should not be the objective.
It is true that crashing the capitalist economy, i.e. provoking a slump, will also cost lives, as always does happen in a slump through increased ill health and suicides of those who lose their jobs and so their previous level of income.
So that’s all capitalism has to offer: less deaths today and more tomorrow or more deaths today and less deaths tomorrow. 
We can let the sick supporters of this sick system argue which of these is the lesser evil.
The very fact that this is the choice under capitalism is itself an indictment of the profit-driven system. And another good reason why it has to go.
In socialism if a pandemic breaks out (as it might) this wouldn’t be the choice as minimising deaths today could be the objective without endangering future production as this would be directly for use and not for sale and profit as now under capitalism. Some adjustments would have to be made but nobody would need to be denied access to what they needed to live and enjoy life as the direct link between taking part in production and what you get will have been broken.


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