Coronavirus Capitalism News

COVID-19 & Capitalism News

Some Highlighted Articles on COVID-19 & Capitalism

2020-05-00 Yes, we can manage this country without the corporate priesthood–the cooperative movement shows us how

While it’s rarely mentioned by the conventional media, completely missing in the political discourse, not considered by economic planners and chambers of commerce, and not known by most of the public, there are 30,000 cooperatives in America (with 73,000 places of business). A 2009 survey by the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Cooperatives (www.uwcc.wisc.edu) found that these energetic enterprises have 130 million members, registering $653 million in sales, and employing more than two million people. There are several types of co-ops, including those owned by workers (there are 11,000 of these, with 13 million worker-owners). Also, there are cooperatives owned by consumers, producers, local businesses, artists, and communities, as well as hybrids of those categories. They function in every sector of our economy–manufacturing, health care, transportation, banking, farming and food, media, massage, child care, funeral services, interpreting and translating services, advertising, home building, hightech, engineering, energy… and even a strip club in San Francisco. Co-op businesses do everything that a corporation can do, but with a democratic structure, an equitable sharing of income, and a commitment to the common good of the community and future generations. You might be surprised to learn that such national brand names as ACE Hardware, Best Western Hotels, Organic Valley, REI, and True Value Hardware are organized as co-ops, rather than as corporations. The strength of the movement, however, is in the limitless number of local cooperatives flowering all across the country. They are highly prized for their unique personalities, human scale, democratic values, and community focus. To help you ponder the possibilities of a cooperatively structured America, Check out some examples of citizen co-ops that are proving day-in and day-out that small can be BIG. Yes, we can manage this country without the corporate priesthood–the cooperative movement shows us how

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2020-05-20 From Economic Relief to Pandemic Profiteering

The Pandemic Made Politicians Notice Basic Needs. Workers Left Out of the Paid Sick Leave Discussion. DNC Shuts Out Sanders, But His Ideas May Salvage the Country. Delay or Hold Primaries Amid the Pandemic. How to Avoid Spreading COVID-19 Misinformation. Scientist Pushed from US to China Made a Fast COVID-19 Test. Inaction Will Make Jails and Prisons Ground Zero for COVID-19. Trump’s Science Denial Delayed Response to COVID-19. Coronavirus Profiteering.

2020-05-20 From Economic Relief to Pandemic Profiteering

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2020-05-19 ‘No One Will Help, No One Will Listen’: Workers Impacted By COVID-19 Outbreak Describe Struggle For Unemployment Benefits

Since the coronavirus pandemic triggered lockdowns across the United States two months ago, more than 36 million Americans filed unemployment claims. The surge of claims has created major backlogs of unemployment claims that plague several states, large and small. This dysfunction is a result of outdated infrastructure, underfunding, and years of right-wing policies. In fact, most workers, who find themselves unemployed in the U.S., will likely never obtain benefits because systems in many states are set up to limit support to the least amount of people possible.

2020-05-19 ‘No One Will Help, No One Will Listen’: Workers Impacted By COVID-19 Outbreak Describe Struggle For Unemployment Benefits

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2020-05-17 Karen Greenberg, So Long to American Exceptionalism

Other normal expectations about American life are also breaking down in ways once associated with foreign lands. As George Packer recently wrote in the Atlantic, the federal government now looks more like a failed state than a vibrant democracy. As he put it, the Trump administration’s reaction to the coronavirus crisis was more “like Pakistan or Belarus -- like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering.” In fact, the government’s response to the crisis has failed in a striking set of ways, ranging from the unpreparedness of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the failure of diplomatic and domestic efforts to procure ventilators and protective masks or implement the distribution of stockpiles of medical equipment. Meanwhile, the socio-economic level of the country has plummeted as middle-class Americans lose their jobs and begin the long fall into another existence. Since March, significant parts of the economy have been shut down and more than 33 million people laid off with 6% of the labor force filing for unemployment in the last two weeks of that month alone. Official U.S. unemployment recently hit 14.7%, a figure unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Unemployment claims have surged catastrophically and are still climbing weekly. For an increasing number of Americans, food insecurity has become a fact of life. Empty shelves for some products are increasingly common in grocery stores nationwide. While predictions of shortages and price increases vary from cautious denials to measured concern, certain aspects of the usual food chain do seem to be breaking down.
Meanwhile, as the homelessness rate grows, many shelters have closed and those that remain open, social distancing being impossible and sanitary conditions bleak, are now potential hotbeds of infection, or as Emma Grey Ellis put it in Wired, “Homelessness is incompatible with health.” And let's not forget the nightmare of nursing homes, some of which have become literal graveyards for the aged and infirm. Prisons and detention centers have similarly become incubators for the spread of the disease, as our incarceration system suffers the kinds of deaths that might once only have been possible in countries like Chile, El Salvador, Peru, or elsewhere in Latin America (where notoriously overcrowded prisons have led to the rampant spread of Covid-19).

2020-05-17 Karen Greenberg, So Long to American Exceptionalism

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2020-05-17 Democracy Dies in Dysfunction

There are clear steps we can take now to ensure fair and functional elections in November—but time is quickly running out.

2020-05-17 Democracy Dies in Dysfunction

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2020-05-16 Dissenter Weekly: Federal Whistleblowers Try To Save Americans From Corrupt COVID-19 Response

Bright was retaliated against by officials in President Donald Trump’s administration after he recommended in January that the administration take the coronavirus pandemic more seriously. He also challenged cronyism, including the manner in which certain drugs were fast-tracked for approval to address COVID-19 simply because a company had political connections to Jared Kushner or others.

2020-05-16 Dissenter Weekly: Federal Whistleblowers Try To Save Americans From Corrupt COVID-19

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2020-05-12 We Can’t Lose the Right to Protest in the Age of Coronavirus

2020-05-12 We Can’t Lose the Right to Protest in the Age of Coronavirus Mayor de Blasio at his press conference on Sunday illustrated why elected officials should not determine who gets to exercise Constitutional rights. “I’m a huge believer in the First Amendment,” the mayor said before declaring that “to gather in the middle of a pandemic” is “idiotic.” He insisted that all activists should seek to call attention to issues online. But as leading civil rights attorney Norman Siegel told the Indypendent, “COVID-19 could be with us for a couple of years or longer, so we need to speak out. We should use [our] rights. If we don’t, they’ll atrophy. And then one day we’ll wake up, and we won’t have them anymore.”

2020-05-12 We Can’t Lose the Right to Protest in the Age of Coronavirus

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2020-05-12 Street Medics See Cuba As A Model For COVID-19 Response In Vulnerable Communities

Prevention is key to the successes of Cuba’s free and universal healthcare system, which is a direct result of the revolution’s progress. Some of their health achievements include one of the highest doctor-patient ratios in the world, a higher life expectancy rate than the U.S. and many so-called developed nations, accessible clinics in almost every neighborhood throughout the island, and the development of several successful vaccines and treatments. In Cuba’s health care system, the profit motive is largely nonexistent, which many experts suggest is a key factor in the country’s incredible achievements. It is highly common for medical workers like Cabrera to make dozens of house visits a day, with rural communities and people outside of major cities or in poorer neighborhoods receiving regular care. Cabrera explains that once the COVID-19 outbreak began, they moved swiftly to “classify and move patients immediately” to predetermined locations which already existed. The Cuban health care system is not perfect, however, most problems are a direct result of the U.S. economic blockade. The decades-long policy has created a scarcity of medical necessities, like respirators and basic medicines, as well as a lack of soap products, which public health professionals internationally have lambasted as breaking international humanitarian law. Most recently, the blockade prevented Cuba from obtaining medical supplies needed to combat the pandemic.

2020-05-12 Street Medics See Cuba As A Model For COVID-19 Response In Vulnerable

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2020-05-11 We Shouldn’t Need GoFundMe to Respond to Catastrophes.

We Need a Strong Welfare State. Even if everyone who started a GoFundMe for a desperate need did get the money they requested, forcing everyone in such situations to sacrifice their privacy and throw themselves on the mercy of strangers by crafting a “compelling” story would still be obscene. And it’s absurd to ask random people to “chip in anything they can” rather than funding basic social goods through redistributive taxation. The $1 million Arnold Schwarzenegger donated to the Frontline Responders Fund represents one-quarter of 1 percent of his net worth. The equivalent for someone with $30,000 would be $75 — except that they’d notice the loss of the $75 a hell of a lot more than Schwarzenegger will notice the loss of $1 million. At bare minimum, any reasonable solution to the “shortage of masks, gowns, gloves, and other critical supplies to protect our medical professionals” involves taxing far more of the necessary funds from the Schwarzeneggers of the world and making collective democratic decisions about where the money needs to go, rather than hoping that enough individual eyeballs happen to be caught by any particular story.

2020-05-11 We Shouldn’t Need GoFundMe to Respond to Catastrophes

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2020-05-09 Getting Trumped by COVID-19 Donald Trump is not a president

He can't even play one on TV. He's a corrupt and dangerous braggart with ill-concealed aspirations for a Crown and, with an election coming up, he's been monopolizing prime time every day, spouting self-congratulation and misinformation. (No, don't inject that Lysol!) His never-ending absurd performances play out as farce against the tragic background of the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the nation. If we had a real president, which is to say, almost anybody else, things would be different. We would have seen the pandemic coming. It would not have attacked me in my old age. And most of the dead might still be alive. The records of other countries make this clear. South Korea, Taiwan, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, New Zealand, and Norway have all had commendable success in protecting their people. Could it be by chance that seven out of eight of the most successful nations in combating the Covid-19 pandemic are headed by women?

2020-05-09 Getting Trumped by COVID-19 Donald Trump is not a president

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2020-05-07 Ten Tips on Talking about China, Chinese People and COVID-19

A quick read for organizers on how to talk about China, Chinese people and COVID19. The rise of xenophobia and the onslaught of China bashing is just another right wing political and narrative strategy to deflect responsibility of COVID-19 by Trump.

2020-05-07 Ten Tips on Talking about China, Chinese People and COVID-19

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2020-05-06 ‘The most horrifying aspects of capitalism’:

To the ultra-rich, the coronavirus pandemic is a trial run for apocalypse But for some people the coronavirus pandemic is a type of utopian dream. Many right-wing Christians see the combination of the pandemic and President Trump as good things. Why? Because in their mythology these events are harbingers of the apocalyptic “end times,” a titanic battle between good and evil during which true Christians who are “saved” will be raptured away to paradise.

2020-05-06 ‘The most horrifying aspects of capitalism’:

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2020-05-06 Mass Unemployment Amid the Pandemic Is an Indictment of Capitalism

Worker co-ops lack capitalism’s irrational fixation on profit, so they are not subject to boom-and-bust job cycles. Unemployment always stood as a mocking indictment of capitalism. Unemployment also threatens capitalism. This system rewards employers with profits from the waged labor of employees. Yet it fails to keep them working and thereby undermines its profits. Worse, that failure recurs quite regularly — a phenomenon known as the business cycle. Its cycles expose capitalism as intrinsically socially irrational. Unemployed workers continue to consume, albeit in reduced quantities. They just stop producing. It would obviously be better to keep workers producing what they keep consuming. Capitalism cannot do that during its recurring cycles despite countless efforts, including Keynesian economics and policies since the 1930s. The cycles repeatedly cause much suffering and loss.

2020-05-06 Mass Unemployment Amid the Pandemic Is an Indictment of Capitalism

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2020-05-04 US Government Fears China will Give Away COVID-19 Vaccine for Free

Dean Baker, Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Utah and Senior Economist at the Center for Economic Policy Research in Washington, D.C., offered an alternative view. Baker has previously advocated for replacing the system of private medical research with a publicly funded open source system that he believes will not only save lives but will save money. telling MintPress News that: The coronavirus pandemic is a clear instance in which the whole world shares a common interest in developing and distributing a vaccine. This should mean that we have open research, where all findings are posted on the web as quickly as possible, so that they can build on them. Once a vaccine is developed we should want it spread throughout the world as quickly as possible at the lowest possible cost. Trump’s concern that China would somehow “steal” a vaccine means that he is more concerned about protecting someone’s profits here, as well as possibly an ego trip (we’re number one) than possibly saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

2020-05-04 US Government Fears China will Give Away COVID-19 Vaccine for Free

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2020-05-03 Pushback: US Elites Use Russiagate Playbook To Blame China And Promote Hostility

The US establishment is demonizing China over the COVID-19 crisis with a familiar Russiagate playbook of specious claims, fearmongering, and deflecting responsibility for homegrown dysfunction.

2020-05-03 Pushback: US Elites Use Russiagate Playbook To Blame China And Promote Hostility

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2020-05-02 COVID-19, Capitalism, and Socialism Coronavirus

reveals the divide between the socialist principal of using health care to meet human needs and the capitalist practice of treating health care as a commodity.

2020-05-02 COVID-19, Capitalism, and Socialism Coronavirus

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2020-04-30 Ecocide and the Coronavirus: How the Capitalist Mode of Production Makes Pandemics Inevitable

Since its earliest days, the capitalist mode of production has been fundamentally incompatible with a sustainable relationship to nature. In recent decades, however, it has become all too apparent that capitalism’s war on nature threatens not just nature itself but much of humankind. There now exist two potential catastrophic scenarios for humanity. The first, global warming, began to be widely accepted by scientists in the 1980s. Less than three decades later we began to witness extreme weather events produced by climate change — hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, flooding — that threaten the lives of millions each year. We can now add a second existential threat created by capitalist ecocide: worldwide pandemic. Infectious diseases and even plagues have existed throughout all of human history, of course. But the extension of the capitalist mode of production around the globe has created the conditions for the most deadly pathogens to reach every corner of the world in a matter of weeks.

2020-04-30 Ecocide and the Coronavirus: How the Capitalist Mode of Production Makes Pandemics Inevitable

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2020-04-29 Undocumented Workers Need a Bailout

Too Beyond performing essential labor, we are humans — and, in a pandemic, that should be enough to deserve help. COVID-19 has devoured the country’s health care system and led to what’s been called the “deepest global recession in history.” As an attempt to provide some relief to struggling Americans and businesses, Congress recently passed a $2 trillion stimulus and bailout package. But the deal they negotiated gave a cold shoulder to the backbone of our economy: 11 million people and their families currently living in desperation. The stimulus bill, in short, simply left out undocumented people. In 2018, a typical year, undocumented immigrants contributed around $20 billion in federal taxes, plus nearly $12 billion in state and local taxes. But because people need a valid Social Security Number to benefit from federal financial assistance, they’re getting completely left out of the stimulus their own tax dollars paid for. Undocumented immigrants can forget about, for example, collecting the $1,200 stimulus checks promised to every U.S. household. Even worse, as more undocumented construction, housekeeping, and service workers find themselves unemployed, they won’t be able to file for unemployment benefits, which were expanded and extended under the stimulus. Making matters worse, immigrant workers often work the front line jobs most exposed to the virus — while lacking health care or any meaningful social safety net.

2020-04-29 Undocumented Workers Need a Bailout

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2020-04-28 ‘Oligarchs don’t care about democracy’: Pulitzer winner warns COVID-19 will ‘trigger a decline unlike anything seen since the Great Depression’

Empires fall a little bit at a time and then all at once. Over the last two decades, America has proven itself to be well along on that journey. The coronavirus pandemic has simply pushed our nation further along that downward spiral. Ultimately, the pandemic has further exposed and exacerbated — for those still somehow in denial about the decades-long reality of America as a decaying empire — deep political, social, economic, cultural and other societal problems.

2020-04-28 ‘Oligarchs don’t care about democracy’: Pulitzer winner warns COVID-19 will ‘trigger a decline unlike anything seen since the Great Depression’

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Frankly, it’s devastating to watch all this unfold. So long dismissed as pie-in-the-sky, the policies Sanders advocates for are being proved essential as the sky is falling. But still, we’re unlikely to see them enacted, no matter how many lives they might save, because they remain at odds with the systems run by powerful people desperate to hold on to their standing.

2020-04-06 The Coronavirus Makes Me Wish We Already Had a President Bernie Sanders

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2020-04-06 The Coronavirus Makes Me Wish We Already Had a President Bernie Sanders

2020-04-15 COVID-19 as a Weapon. The Crushing of the Disposable Working Class – by Design “Many Americans will not have jobs to return to after the coronavirus pandemic ends…”
“We’re going to see the progressive Amazonification of our economy as Amazon’s one of the only businesses out there that’s hiring more and more. “One thing I’ve been saying is that we’re going to see something like 10 years of change in 10 weeks, because businesses are being put in a position where it makes sense to speed up a lot of the automation that they were considering investing in.” “The fact is right now this virus is the perfect environment for companies to get rid of people, bring in robots and machines, and figure out how they can operate more efficiently.” And while the Amazonification of our economy ploughs full steam ahead, independent shops and services are pounded into dust, while public services are shut down, opening the door for further privatization. While prepping the citizenry for coming and required “certifications”, the deliberate and violent contraction of the economy continues. The decimation of small enterprise with monetary wealth directed, again, upward. McDonald’s, Starbucks and Walmart (“essential services”) remain open while small business is forced to remain closed. “Universal basic income is going to become the topic, not just here in the United States, but Spain’s adopting a version of a minimum income. Legislatures around Europe are all very, very much focused on this.” March 18 2020: Over 500 academics and public figures called on governments to implement universal basic income via an open letter: “It is time for governments to enact emergency universal basic income, ensuring that everyone in their jurisdiction has enough money to buy the food and other essentials they need to survive.”

2020-04-06 The Coronavirus Makes Me Wish We Already Had a President Bernie Sanders

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2020-04-06 “The Coronavirus pandemic is Magnifying the Cruelty of US Foreign Policy”

: The Decade of Transformation: Remaking International Relations No country can fully recover from COVID-19 or the economic collapse unless these crises are resolved for the whole world. Both the economy and pandemic are global and interconnected as are the looming crises of climate chaos and nuclear war. Rather than showing solidarity with other nations in the midst of the crises, the US is escalating economic sanctions and threatening war while undermining a global response to climate and increasing the risks of nuclear war. Black Alliance for Peace points out: “The brutality and criminality of the colonial/capitalist system of state violence is reflected most graphically by the illegal and immoral policy of sanctions imposed on 39 nations by the U.S. and its Western allies.” Venezuela, Iran and other nations are being denied the ability to import medicines and medical equipment to protect their populations from the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 23, the UN General Secretary António Guterres called for “an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world” saying nations should “focus together on the true fight of our lives – the #COVID19 pandemic.” Fifty-three countries immediately agreed. Instead of heeding this call, the US has threatened Iran and Venezuela with military attacks and continued the war with Yemen while eliminating the majority of humanitarian assistance to Yemen. These actions were wrong before the pandemic, but in the midst of the pandemic, they are obscene.

2020-04-06 “The Coronavirus pandemic is Magnifying the Cruelty of US Foreign Policy”

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2020-03-27 Capitalism Is America’s Religion. The Virus Makes That Clear

2020-03-27 Capitalism Is America’s Religion. The Virus Makes That Clear President Trump has said he wants the United States to be “opened up and just raring to go” by Easter, in less than three weeks. Why Easter? “I think it’ll be a beautiful time,” he told reporters on Tuesday, even as the Pope was instructing bishops to help Catholics celebrate Easter from home. “Wouldn’t it be great to have all the churches full?” said Trump. Let’s be real: Despite his recently adopted pro-life views, our twice-divorced, oft-philandering president has never been religious. What he really wants is to end the lockdown quickly in order to save “the economy.” Politicians keep suggesting we forgo public health advice and get back to work for the sake of this “economy” thing; the ironic hashtag #DieForTheDow trended on Twitter after the 69-year-old lieutenant governor of Texas suggested he’d risk dying from the virus to keep the stock market chugging. (But would he be resurrected on Easter?)

2020-03-27 Capitalism Is America’s Religion. The Virus Makes That Clear

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2020-03-27 Cuba Leads by Revolutionary Example

“We have more physicians working abroad than practically any other country in the world, not because we are exporting anything but simply because we want to participate in building a world with better health conditions and living conditions,” Cuban doctor Luis Herrera declared in an exclusive interview with TeleSur. Dr Herrera is credited with developing the Interferon Alpha 2B 40 years ago, which is being used to prevent medical complications that could arise from contracting the COVID-19 strand of coronavirus. Cuba is now receiving international requests to supply the Interferon Alpha 2B. The neoliberal West is seeking the aid of a communist country under blockade to solve its problems and true to its revolutionary spirit, Cuba will be complying with the requests. As governments worldwide dedicated to neoliberalism struggle to contain the virus spread, closing borders and imposing military control, Cuba has maintained its internationalist approach, leading by revolutionary example. Cuba has been able to take such decisions knowing the country is well prepared in preventive medicine to keep any possible virus transmission under control. And yet, the West often reminds us that socialism doesn’t work; to justify, perhaps, the incessant forms of foreign intervention designed to maintain the West’s supremacy. COVID-19 has exposed the exploitative systems of capitalism and neoliberalism.

2020-03-27 Cuba Leads by Revolutionary Example

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2020-03-20 Capitalism is an Incubator for Pandemics. Socialism is the Solution

It is only going to get worse. The spread of the virus is impossible to stop — and this is due to social reasons more than biological ones. While doctors recommend that people stay home when they are feeling sick in order to reduce the possibility of spreading the virus, working-class people just can’t afford to stay home at the first sight of a cough. Suggestions from government leaders show their disconnect from the working class. 58% Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings and around 40% of Americans could not afford an unexpected bill of $400. So, for many, staying home or not using public transit is simply not an option. Even more people avoid the doctor when we get sick. With or without insurance, a trip to the hospital means racking up massive medical bills. The Guardian reports that 25% of Americans say they or a family member have delayed medical treatment due to the costs of care. In May 2019, The American Cancer Society found that 56% of adults report having at least one medical financial hardship. Medical debt remains the number one cause of bankruptcy in the country. One third of all donations on the fundraising site GoFundMe go to covering healthcare costs. That is the healthcare system of the wealthiest country in the world: GoFundMe. Of course, these costs will be no problem for some. The three richest Americans own more wealth than the bottom 50% of Americans. The concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer capitalists is part of capitalism’s DNA. But as Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkson highlight extensively in their book The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, people in more equal societies are healthier. They live longer, have lower infant mortality, and have high self-ratings of health. Inequality leads to poorer overall health.
A central aspect of socialism is a democratically run planned economy: an economy in which all resources are allocated according to need, instead of ability to pay. Need is decided democratically by both producers and consumersWith the means of production under workers’ control, we would be able to quickly increase production of these products in an emergency.

2020-03-20 Capitalism is an Incubator for Pandemics. Socialism is the Solution

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