Covid and Capitalism

Around 80% of countries use the Capitalist system. In capitalist economic systems, the state doesn’t provide jobs. The private companies set the eligibility and pick the candidate most suited for them. But in times of recessionunemployment can reach very high levels.

Some countries take responsibility for full employment of their citizens, but operate within a capitalist framework. They may invest income from oil revenues in controversial projects abroad, such as mining, but use the profits to create what seems like an ideal society back home.

Democratic Socialism is a mix of communism and capitalism. Under Covid, the distinction has become interesting as Capitalist countries adopt predictably harsh approaches to those whose jobs have been scrapped, whilst Democratic Socialists support high employment at all times.

But employment of the many for the benefit of the few is a well tested model, whether it be under a communist or capitalist regime. Brainwashing the many to adhere to ‘the rules’ in which ‘the carrot’ dangled is to be able to stay in employment and thus achieve a roof over one’s head and food for the family. Individuals who do not abide by the rules are outcast.

Workers will identify with the trade they are employed in, to stay true and work hard, even if the work is soul destroying and difficult.

People under Capitalism right now are feeling ‘the stick’ as they lose their jobs and positions they have gained through their efforts. They feel like they have been made obsolete. Some want to blame someone, something, anything. They are angry and becoming, in many cases, unstable. Others have worked out how to redeploy transferable skills and have created enterprising employment for themselves.

Capitalism under threat

The Covid 19 pandemic has put the concept of Capitalism under threat. Globalisation may be a thing of the past. Dreams of one day becoming wealthy through the capitalist models of opportunity are being dashed.

Capitalism is built around winners and losers. Those of us who have only known a capitalist system accept we have a seat at the mostly global Casino. We have to play, even if we don’t want to. There is no choice.

Surveillance Capitalism

Stocks and shares rise and fall according to rumour and speculation. Fake news can destroy a business or a person charged with falsified evidence. No one is safe and secure under capitalism, particularly surveillance capitalism. (see The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Shoshana Zuboff)

Climate Change and Human Migration

Around the world we have climate change disrupting the lives of millions of people, forcing them to trek thousands of miles to find food and shelter, and often finding there is no place they are welcome, as the likely nearest places already have problems feeding their populations.

Climate Change and Buried Microbes

Viruses emerge out of melting permafrost which have laid trapped and preserved for thousands of years. Methane flies into the atmosphere out of the ground which was frozen, at greater quantities than all the Anthropocene activities could ever have contributed. The Earth is warming at a much more rapid rate now and than ever before, because we did not respond responsibly to warnings decades ago.

We have a habit of being deliberately ‘slow on the uptake’ if it looks like Capitalism is getting shaky.

Lockdown in areas already suffering poverty

Under lockdown, in some richer countries, we have the dichotomy that people in poor communities already not eating well are not eating at all. Many have never been taught to cook, only re heat frozen foods of which they don’t even care to know what harmful ingredients they might be ingesting. A number have not been taught to cook from raw ingredients, and that lack of skill has gone on for generations since the rise of fast food outlets. During a pandemic this is adding to their misery, for no fast food is easily available to low income families and food banks give them foods which often do not match their usual diet. Even cooking rice or boiling a potato is a mystery to many finding themselves in this dire situation.

4 years ago this site devoted its attention to calculate what global land area would we need to feed the world. We all know we eat too much meat. 80% of arable land is used to grow meat. That is crazy. We must begin to reduce that percentage drastically.

Since poverty might also mean some do not have heating, gas or electricity due to being unable to pay their bills, cooking isn’t even possible were they to try. In freezing winters this dreadful situation is adding to the consequential death toll of the Covid pandemic. These communities have been run down over generations, many since the war damage hit their industries. They have no safety net. This is the result of the winners and losers construct.

Every person requires imaginative education to help them prepare nourishing food, to know where food comes from and which diets will sustain a human, even if the food is cold many simple foods can generate energy and warmth once eaten.

Rolling wars and Covid

In present day rolling war in countries where they have been starving pre Covid, it gets worse even when they thought it couldn’t. Foreign aid is drastically cut (the UK reduced its International commitment), thousands more are starving to death, and if still struggling to survive, they will be cut down by Covid too. These countries have lost their infrastructure through proxy wars.

John Pilger “describes the invisible weapon of past and current wars, and the threat of nuclear war, under cover of the Covid pandemic. This is propaganda, aided by censorship by omission.”

More losers, but those who perpetuate the wars are gambling on winning, and that is their goal, no matter what the human cost.

The mental damage of war, poverty and disease

We humans have been suffering untold levels of grief, sadness, anxiety, anger, and hopelessness as we play our part in the Big Casino. Such feelings can be manipulated by governments and cult leaders.

Algorithms on social media platforms

Social media is one tool which has increasingly played a role with allowing their simple algorithms to multiply negative and irrational thoughts. (Read The Arguments for Deleting your Social Media Accounts Right Now, by Jaron Lanier). Leaders of cults and political power bases can spend money on fake news and cause mayhem amongst the unsuspecting, addicted social media users. Now those users are more vulnerable and susceptible due to the Covid and Economic crises.

Many of us access online news to find out what is going on in the world around us, but many news outlets also trawl social media platforms to get stories for us to read or see on television. It has become an intense cycle of negativity.

Deception

But gullible humans can be easily deceived, and many wars have been fought through sending out false messages about ‘imminent threat’ and creating hatred for those perceived to be the enemy, but only after telling lies and providing false evidence about them. Thus, over the centuries, since warfaring peoples first worked out how to whip up hysteria using propaganda and often religious zeal, many have gone to war and/or committed genocide against innocents because they could no longer think for themselves.

Greed and avarice

Humans have evolved Capitalism through developing modes of trade since Jesus was said to have overturned the tables of the Pharisees. The story was told, a finger wagged, and we proceeded to ignore the warnings – and we evolved greed, avarice and sang the mantra ‘Profit before People’.

Once warned, we thumbed our noses and developed capitalism dependent on credit and ensuring debt, and developing elites who loan the funds. Covid has meant more debt incurred by individuals struggling to survive, they have had to borrow more, but whilst Covid rages, they are receiving demands for repayment and have to seek help as anxiety mounts.

Not just people within countries are convinced that debt is a good thing, but whole nations become indebted to richer nations, making them kneel at the feet of institutions like the IMF. 

Rescuing the hard hit sectors after Covid

The ILO offered analysis and suggestions for preparation for the likely fallout across sectors in the labour market, due to Covid:

The majority of job losses and declining
working hours will occur in hardest-hit sectors.
The ILO estimates that 1.25 billion workers,
representing almost 38 per cent of the global
workforce, are employed in sectors that are
now facing a severe decline in output and a high
risk of workforce displacement. Key sectors
include retail trade, accommodation and food
services, and manufacturing.
X Particularly in low- and middle-income
countries, hard-hit sectors have a high
proportion of workers in informal employment
and workers with limited access to health
services and social protection. Without
appropriate policy measures, workers face
a high risk of falling into poverty and will
experience greater challenges in regaining their
livelihoods during the recovery period.
X Those who continue to work in public spaces,
in particular health workers, are exposed
to significant health and economic risks.
In the health sector, this affects women
disproportionately.

The extract from the above report in 2020, having seemingly been ignored by policymakers, reveals in 2021 the global lack of preparation for the Covid impact. When a person tries to show enterprise and is prevented due to some bureaucratic nonsense, as we saw with the immolation of the young man in Tunisia whose death sparked the Arab Spring, we can see what happens if we do not encourage independent action and thought to generate income. If ever we needed global action to fund the initiative of currently hard hit sectors to regain employment in a Covid-safe fashion, now is the time.

Old hands who know the ropes for generating income:

The Vatican Bank has always relied on it’s believers to contribute generously to its coffers.

“The bank has been caught up in a number of scandals in the past, including the funding of priests caught up in sex abuse allegations and of money laundering for the Mafia and former Nazis.

This is why there are moves within parts of the church to make it more like a normal bank and open up its accounts for greater scrutiny. Protections for religious organisations mean it does not currently face the same transparency obligations as other financial institutions.

An investigation by the Economist estimated that the American Catholic church alone – which has the fourth largest follower base by country, behind Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines – spent $170bn in 2010 on things like healthcare, schools and parishes.

Money flows in from individual donations from Catholics, government grants, the church’s own investments and corporate donors.

According to Georgetown University, the average weekly donation of an American Catholic to the church is $10. There are 85 million in North America, meaning each week the Catholic Church pulls in $850m through donations from individual Catholics.”

Under Covid, the U.S. Roman Catholic Church received at least $1.4 billion in federal COVID-19 relief aid, making it one of the largest beneficiaries of federal assistance during the pandemic.

Because people cannot  call for a priest when dying of Covid, last year in Italy a headline read:

“Catholic Church ‘forgives’ sins of coronavirus patients

The Catholic Church has granted forgiveness — under certain conditions — for the sins of the faithful struck by the novel coronavirus.

A decree published by the Vatican also covers healthcare workers and those who pray for their wellbeing. Relatives who care for their sick family members are also forgiven.

The condition involves the sick saying a certain number of prayers.

Those who pray for the caregivers’ wellbeing must also read the Bible “for at least half an hour”.

The decree was issued one day after Italy overtook China for the highest number of deaths from the new illness.

The pandemic has killed more than 3,400 people in the Mediterranean country.

Vatican City itself has confirmed one infection.

Pope Francis was reported to have been tested for the virus as a precaution after coming down with a cold last month.

The Vatican has never confirmed or denied the report but has stressed repeatedly that the 83-year-old pontiff does not have Covid-19.”

And then we have career politicians:

People have developed ideas to attract money to themselves if they say they will ‘serve the people’ when really, they often end up merely serving themselves, but will tell of the great things they have achieved ‘for the people’. Even Eisenhower who warned of the dangers of ‘the military complex’ were honed by military service and, as such, had to be blinkered to many other aspects of human existence which required attention, for example, Civil Rights.

It is commonplace for politicians to get backing from donors in order to mount their campaign to become a representative of some party or a leader of some country. Nowadays, no individual can hope for a career in politics without massive backing from donors, who are likely to have vested interest anyway and be corporates as well as individuals. They expect a ‘quid pro quo’. Laws can be changed, policies can be adapted to suit, all to the advantage of the donors.

And the ever persistent requests for donations for charities:

Giving donations to charities often only sucks up the money to pay high salaries to those who run the charity rather than use the proceeds responsibly for the given purpose of the charity.

Manipulation of well meaning citizens:

People can be manipulated so easily that there is a disgust by those who do such things toward the easily led majority of well meaning citizens. The manipulators prey on the fears and anxiety which many rightly possess. Once they are led into believing a manipulated action will free them from their fear, they will become evangelistic about the belief and will take that action. Advertising methods use the same ploy. Advertising dominates social media and pays for it, and we use the ‘free’ apps to access the distorted truths.

When those who live in a hierarchical structure are manipulated out of their self development and dumbed down by fake news, they become unable to learn how to distinguish truth from fiction – and their children likewise. Capitalism has exploited that human vulnerability, with the help of religious zealots, and militias drawn from the ranks of those whose brains have been fogged by untruths.

The basic necessities of life for humans is food security and a safe place to live and work.

Covid is yet another challenge which exposes the weaknesses in the way we describe our existence to ourselves.

History reveals the tragedies and our ineptitude as we continue to wreak havoc on this beautiful planet, to cause extinctions of plants and animals and to help generate more diseases for our scientists to frantically try to conquer.

We have the ability and intelligence to rise above this mess and view calmly what needs to be done to rescue the planet first, and maybe we might just deserve to rescue ourselves in the process.

About borderslynn

Retired, living in the Scottish Borders after living most of my life in cities in England. I can now indulge my interest in all aspects of living close to nature in a wild landscape. I live on what was once the Iapetus Ocean which took millions of years to travel from the Southern Hemisphere to here in the Northern Hemisphere. That set me thinking and questioning and seeking answers. In 1998 I co-wrote Millennium Countdown (US)/ A Business Guide to the Year 2000 (UK) see https://www.abebooks.co.uk/products/isbn/9780749427917
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