Covid-19 and Capitalism | Pakistan Today

Covid-19 and Capitalism

  • How the profit model is breaking down

By: Ahmad Sheraz

The ongoing viral crisis in the world is novel in the way it has involved life everywhere on the planet unequivocally. The human race is back to its primary mode; survival. And that’s the issue with capitalism, it was never made for survival.

Capitalism simply works on a profit-first-based system, thus it has been busy financing anything but gear for survival. So it’ll be some humor when humanity will say that they had means and plans to invade and conquer Mars by 2021, or countries will boast of having nuclear weapons to erase continents within minutes, but no such blueprints to ensure medical equipment for themselves. Because the corporate system responsible for its production is driven by crazy profit and a corrupt hunger to lure humans into things they don’t really even need. Our priorities have not been defined by our needs, but instead they have been designed to cater the interests of a few capitalists controlling our markets. This was all playing out pretty beneficial for homo sapiens until nature introduced another pandemic.
We are all in this one together. And even amidst of it, governments are not willing to accept the failures within their systems, as we see US President Donald Trump blaming China , and well China blaming US Marines; India is blaming Islam while Islamic scholars are blaming it on the wrath of God . This blame game is an unending phenomenon. But all are turning a blind eye to the real culprit, that is capitalism, as economies are dwindling around the globe and the crisis of food and air (ventilators) is worsening with each passing day.

Economies are crashing, and the deeper we go into this with time, there is a chance of an Economic Pandemic for years to come. But is it really crashing due to this health problem the world is in? If we take a closer look monetary institutions were creating money and lending it to countries and companies at a low interest to keep the boat afloat for years and this borrowing of huge sums at low interest had made a huge gap between income and wealth and the upwards spiraling stock market trends were far away from underlying realistic values and profits. The truth is capitalism needed a scapegoat and nature gave them one; a virus.

At the same time as the pandemic, capitalism has found no new tools. The world is being plunged into a Depression, John Maynard Keynes came forward to the rescue, with his theory that falling demand should be made up by government spending. At the moment, all that seems to be happening is that capitalism is using the same tools, of government spending a lot of borrowed money to keep up some demand, a lowering of interest rates, and basically everything in the Keynesian bag of tricks.

We are not facing this imbalance due to anything but our own bad policies and the greed of the corporate world, and this situation could have been avoided by an alternative system, one that was not working on a profit-first basis. It would have been more efficient, manufacturing things on a need-first and common-sense-first basis. One comprising of enterprises run by workers, as the worker class believes and breathes in the concept of survival. This is how the post corona world should be, run by policies and governments that define human priorities as they are, with survival being the first

Let’s see it from another point of view , the poor countries of Africa , Latin America and Asia are looking for ventilators and testing kits in global markets but all those capitalist companies have told them to wait for some months as they are too busy satisfying the needs of First World. The equation is simple: that there is no profit in doing business in the Third World when you have a surging demand in the First World. And though poor countries are till date less affected by the virus, they don’t have the testing kits to know the actual figure, while on another pressing note some countries in Africa have less than 100 ventilators, for example, Senegal has four while Central African Republic has three working machines to cope with this respiratory pandemic.

We are not facing this imbalance due to anything but our own bad policies and the greed of the corporate world, and this situation could have been avoided by an alternative system, one that was not working on a profit-first basis. It would have been more efficient, manufacturing things on a need-first and common-sense-first basis. One comprising of enterprises run by workers, as the worker class believes and breathes in the concept of survival. This is how the post corona world should be, run by policies and governments that define human priorities as they are, with survival being the first.



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