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COVID-19 as Cause versus Trigger for the Collapse of Capitalism.

  • Author(s): Waitzkin, Howard
  • et al.
Abstract

According to the official narrative of COVID-19, the pandemic has caused the global capitalist economy to collapse, or at least to enter a deep recession and possibly a great depression. Assigning blame to a virus takes attention away from the structural contradictions and instabilities of capitalism that would have led to a crash in any case. This narrative also helps justify non-evidence-based public health policies, including lockdowns, travel bans, closed schools and factories, and forced quarantines of large populations rather than individuals and clustered groups who harbor the infection. Advantages of such drastic measures happen primarily in countries that did not prepare adequately, that did not respond quickly enough with more focused measures to test and isolate people infected with the virus, and that have health care systems either organized by capitalist principles or suffering cutbacks and privatization as a result of capitalist economic ideologies, such as austerity. Authoritarian tactics purportedly intended to protect public health pave the way to antidemocratic rule, militarism, and fascism. These harsh policies also exert their most adverse effects on poor, minority, incarcerated, immigrant, and otherwise marginalized populations, who already suffer from the worsening economic inequality that global, financialized capitalism has fostered.

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