Socialism or Barbarism in Times of COVID
If there were any doubts left that capitalism, even “good” social democratic capitalism, was incapable of meeting the most basic human need, i.e., protecting life, COVID-19 has crushed them. If before the pandemic already around 50% of the world population had substandard or no access to health care, access has now worsened, as chronically underfunded public health care systems are unable to meet COVID-19 and even non-COVID-19 health needs, and basic prophylaxis or treatments against the disease are overridden by the “eggs-in-one-single-basket” approach of patent-protected vaccines. Isolation, depression, and sheer despair are leading millions throughout the world to take away their own lives, whether in poor countries like Bangladesh, or in ostensibly “developed” ones like the United States. If, as sociologist Michael Harrington noted, at the height of capitalism’s Golden Age millions of Americans languished in poverty, its neoliberal version elevated its incapacity to meet basic human needs to unprecedented heights.
Read the full 14 June 2021 article in the Orinoco Tribune here.
Claudia Chaufan is Professor and Graduate Program Director, Graduate Program in Health at the School of Health Policy and Management, York University. Her research examines the factors and forces that shape health and other inequities in basic human needs at local, national and global levels.