It’s May 8, 2020. Italy is opening up — to levels of lock-down that resemble the strictest rules in the US. Here in the US, we did not close all restaurants, factories, and construction sites. All over the world, countries are pausing, freezing, and/or putting the economy in an induced coma. In Denmark, this means stabilizing the country with enough money to ensure people don’t lose their jobs.
In both of these cases, and others, countries who are inoculated against rampant capital have fared better, in terms of loss-of-life and ruin to the economy, than countries that did not possess any anti-capital antibodies.
Public goods, such as unemployment and health care, save people from the dictates of capital. Capital wants to grow. Those who make money off of the growth, want the growth to continue. (Therefore, the fixation on the stock market as the “economy.”) Instead of taking care of people until it is safe to tip-toe forward into a new normal, much of the United States is forcing its most vulnerable populations to go to work and die to ensure further capital growth. We cannot support or perhaps we simply refuse to support staying home and living. Americans can’t conceive of a society that is inoculated against the worst ravages of capital. (One fears this is because people we don’t like will receive benefits. Better we all drown than we save the wrong people!)
Simple idea: The economy will be better if fewer people get sick and die.
In order for fewer people to die, we would have to have systems in place to support the economic body while it is on life support. Systems like well-funded unemployment. Like health care. Like hazard pay, sick leave, and safety measures for workers.
We don’t. Oh well. Praise the Lord and Ready the Respirators!