Thursday, April 02, 2020

It’s Time to Re-imagine the World

COVID-19 is spreading from country to country, city to city, neighbourhood to neighbourhood, house to house and person to person. People are facing a life or death situation. People are dying. The powerful are taking actions to protect their interests. And the government is doing their bidding and are not functioning in the way people want or need.

In this moment of crisis opportunities have opened up for us to think about a different type of future. We must unlearn what we have learned. COVID-19, climate change, and the inequality around the world have combined to make people consider the cause of unbelievable degree of needless suffering and what’s needed to end the misery. For governments, the first priority has been to protect business and the stock-market with enormous financial inputs. Fiscal action does nothing to secure us from pandemics or the devastating effects of climate change. Workers can't afford to wait in line behind the corporations for assistance.

The capitalists and CEOs have rarely never demonstrated compassion for those working for a living. The unending hunger for accumulation driving capitalism reveals its ugly face most readily in this crisis. Like the generals of World War I who relentlessly ordered armies into the the killing fields of No-Mans-Land, today’s Big Business magnates seek to end lock-downs and social distancing for the sake of their stock portfolios. The poor and downtrodden are abandoned to their fate.

Companies rely on just-in -time supply chain logistics.. Having a reserve stock that could not be used within a few days was deemed a waste of money and resources. Needless to say what happens in emergencies such as this is they all find out at the same time that they do not have enough supplies and frantically begin to place orders and the producers then take advantage of the increased demand to raise prices and see who is willing to pay the most. Any way they can, they will exploit such incidents so as to profit. That is capitalism’s good business sense. We must transform our dysfunctional social system. Now is a critical opportunity for cooperation upon the allocation of resources toward protecting human health. If wealthy countries that failed to respond to COVID-19 by not possessing sufficient protective gear, test kits or ventilators to treat large numbers of patients to stop the spread of the virus, how, we must ask ourselves, will poorer countries cope.

The COVID-19 crisis clearly shows that capitalism has failed to prepare the world for crisis. We should not forget the empty the rhetoric of the so-called business leaders once the COVID-19 crisis is over? CEOs of the corporations might like to boast of their social responsibility, credibility and righteousness, but when times get tough they are no where to be found. We need to learn from the COVID-19 and build a future based upon social democracy for the people. The global COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity to re-evaluate our society and make changes. This crisis has revealed the destructive nature of capitalism that is otherwise camouflaged. We now see the possibility of change but the question before us is what we will do. As we deal with the urgent reality of staving off the spread of the coronavirus and dealing with the need for medical equipment, perhaps it's time also heed the warning of climate change. Instead of returning to normalcy, we recognise that our survival depends on changing almost everything, including how we produce what we need. At the root of the COVID-19 pandemic is a direct challenge to the economic system  and structure of government. Crises illuminate our dependency on one another, and on remote chains of production and distribution—but also highlight a resiliency and capacity to live sustainably within limits. Our future depends on it. Now is the time for radical action. What is really “essential” is life, not commerce.

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