How a Pandemic Exposed the Cracks in Capitalism

Capitalism’s flaws are more exposed than ever before. Unfortunately, it took a pandemic for many people to take notice. Governments are bailing out billion dollar companies yet again. CEOs stay cozy and safe in their mansions while forcing their workers to clock-in or starve. Athletes, millionaires, and celebrities somehow get access to testing before the rest of us. The governments that routinely handed out cash to industry while defunding health care are fumbling to meet the demands of a sick population. People can’t afford rent, groceries, electricity, water, childcare, medications or pretty much anything without work. I guess we’re fucked when every job is inevitably shut down due to a quarantine notice. This is NO surprise and thankfully many people are realizing that capitalism was never prepared for something like this. People will tell you to put away politics for the time being, but they just don’t want you to see the fundamental flaws in the system. Now’s the time to remind people that the fear of financial ruin doesn’t have to be our reality and that we’re stronger united against this crap. You don’t need to choose between illness or debt. Our leaders and bosses will want to bring things back to “normal” after the pandemic and sweep their pathetic failures under the rug. Don’t let them get away with this or you’d best believe we’ll be seeing more crises down the road.

Photo Source: Global News, 2020.

I am angry. It’s true. I am sick of seeing people swallowing this tripe like it’s normal. People are getting sick because they can’t afford to take days off of work and end up infecting others in the process. People are getting laid off to quarantine themselves with no extra income to pay rent or purchase groceries. Debts will pile up as long as banks, utilities, and landlords/building managers refuse to acknowledge any issues. Those who have been living paycheque to paycheque are being shamed for not saving up for a crisis like this. Also there are still some folks out there who are not taking this shit seriously and want to live their lives as if nothing’s wrong. They’ll be the goddamn death of us all in the end. People in Vancouver were hanging out at the beaches just a few days ago as if the virus can’t survive in the air for hours and social distancing was just a suggestion. It’s all just wrong and I know that things won’t change after this unless we bring up these systemic issues with both capitalism and the apathy of our general population.

Photo Source: Vanity Fair, 2020.

Capitalism was never built to handle a pandemic. “The rich get rich and the poor get sick” isn’t a sustainable plan for the future. Companies and industry continue to get handouts and free passes from the governments that claim to have our best intentions in mind. Trump’s trillion dollar plan prioritizes industry and offers a lot of help for high-income workers/corporate toadies, but will do virtually nothing for the lower to lower-middle class in the long-term. Bailouts for airlines, oil, and big business are all in the cards in an effort to save the economy from their own mismanagement. Here in Canada, energy companies must have discovered the cure for COVID-19 cause construction is still continuing on the controversial Coastal Gaslink project and the Trans Mountain expansion despite social distancing and quarantine rules. Rural Indigenous communities are at great risk for coronavirus, but hey a few man camps in the area wouldn’t hurt right? Economic stability is just a pitiful justification to continue business as usual. Yes, our government and even the Trump “coronavirus is a Chinese/Democrat hoax” government are making efforts to help limit exposure, but their priorities continue to be flawed regardless. In the end, average human lives and livelihoods are always going to be seen as less important than the economy. Don’t ever forget that.

Photo Source: CNBC. 2020.

I wanted to make this post today because it’s about time we called out our leaders, our businesses, our landlords, our banks, and even our neighbours for their unwillingness to change for the good of humanity. Our governments need to prioritize healthcare and basic needs for citizens over fossil fuels and big business. The companies will always survive while homeless folks die on the street with no place to quarantine. We need to shame corporate hogs that desire profits over their own people. Point fingers at companies like Amazon and Walmart who continue to rake in billions while providing little to no aid to workers affected by the virus. Hiring more people is not a solution when billions from your own pocket could save the lives of those who sweat for your company. Tell them that the safety of their workers is more important than another yacht in the harbour. Landlords and building managers who threaten you with eviction during economic struggles should not get away with their reputation unscathed. Banks and credit cards that demand your quarantine grocery money should be pressured by our economy-focused leaders to stop digging in our pockets. Finally (and maybe most importantly), call out your friends, family, and neighbours if they insist on ignoring the threat of COVID-19. This isn’t an attack on those who still need to go into work, but rather it’s targeted at the people who think coronavirus is still no big deal. Health care professionals are already overwhelmed with the number of cases and more will flood in as people continue to risk their own health and the health of others for nothing worthwhile. Tell them to stay the fuck home and flatten the curve instead of selfishly endangering others.

To close, I want us to use our quarantine time to make a difference for the future. You don’t have to agree with all of my points here, but I think we can all conclude that we were woefully unprepared for COVID-19 and that things need to change. If our priorities don’t change and we continue on like normal after the pandemic has run its course we’re in for another one with the same results guaranteed. Capitalism isn’t designed to protect regular folks during a viral outbreak, economic disaster, environmental catastrophe or most other horrible events for that matter. Simply put, we need to stop prioritizing money over people. We must evolve with this crisis and come out of it stronger instead of just letting things play out in the same old fashion. There should be no forgiveness for failure this time and those up top should have to take that into account as they move forward. Thank for reading and I hope to see you again. Solidarity, my friends.

X.S.

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