Monday, March 30, 2020

The Peoples Wake-Up Call

The COVID-19 pandemic focuses attention on the disastrous deficiencies of the profit system. For far too long, we have ignored the failures of a system that reduces ever more people to homelessness, refugee camps, permanent indebtedness, and servitude. It is an economic system which directly imperils our survival and well-being. It is system devoted to generating profits for the richest. It values things only for its market price. It promotes maximising personal financial returns as the highest moral obligation to society. It wantonly destroys the stability of its climate and the purity of its air, water, and soil. Military expenditures and preparations for wars represents wasted resources that would be better applied to addressing the deficiencies in our healthcare. 

Rich people are far more likely to survive Coronavirus than poor people. Wealthy people the world over are more likely to have access to testing, treatment, good doctors, ventilators, etc. Poor people all over the planet are more likely to try to “tough it out” at home because they don’t have a doctor or can’t afford one. A humane society doesn’t trade some lives for others. It is, perhaps, possible within capitalism to put a dollar sign on every death as part of a cost-benefit analysis. But a humane society doesn’t frame addressing the public’s health and the health of the economy as a “trade-off.” There's never an excuse to send people to work in dangerous conditions with no safety nets and benefits. It's especially horrendous in the midst of coronavirus.
 The COVID-19 pandemic has been made worse and continues to be made worse by nationalism, ironic considering the virus doesn’t care about borders. This pandemic shows us it’s time to evolve past the idea of the nation-state. It has shown us not just the flaws in the capitalist system, but it has also demonstrated for all to see our shared humanity. We must join together. What if we decided there were no nations but instead the working people of the world were one. Coronavirus has made so clear that global issues can’t be easily categorized as just a health issue. It has encompass our economy and encompassed our entire social system and ways of life. Covid-19 has shined a spotlight on the ways that our society is not working, particularly not working for people in vulnerable groups.

Capitalism is a self-destructive system that no longer can support our long-term future. When the pandemic dissipates business as usual is simply not an option. Once the global turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic has eventually subsided (as it certainly will in due course), our biggest and most important challenge will be if we have learned from the experience to re-shape our future. It has awaken to the stark reality of the profound failure of our existing institutions. But it has also awaken to the truth of other possibilities and our interconnections with one another and with our planet. We must now learn to devote ourselves to the well-being of all in an interdependent world. The coronavirus pandemic has been a powerful reminder that a society committed to the common good is essential. Let us move forward to create a better world for all. Let us free our minds. World socialism is all about you and me, and our neighbours, and our friends and co-workers, and our shared humanity. The antidote to COVID-19 is to build a solidarity-based economy with one another. A real sharing economy could emerge at the other end of the coronavirus crisis.

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