The pandemic plague killed millions of people which brought changes in social structure in fourteen century. Won’t capitalism survive after COVID19 circumstances?
Md.Mizanur Rahman :: The pandemic coronavirusdisease is getting the worst. There is a trivial possibility of early relief from this circumstance. The number of infected patients is increasing day by day. The epidemic is posing the greatest risk to human health.COVID19 has clearly eclipsed our humanitarian side. In this situation the important doing is to be more humane. But the lack of humanity has clearly been reflected in our activities.
Indeed, this situation reflects the ethical and moral aspects and level of exploitation of capitalist system. Noam Chomsky (Emeritus Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) addressed COVID19 as ‘a colossal of market failure’. “It goes right back to the essence of markets, exacerbated by the neoliberal savage, neoliberal intensification of deep social economic problems. It was known for a long time that pandemics are very likely. It was very well understood that there was going to be a coronavirus pandemic”, he claimed. This pandemic situation also shows us the vulnerabilities of health care system. ‘Market signal is clear: there is no profit in preventing a future catastrophe”, he added. He argued, “Those companies make body creams instead of finding a vaccine that will protect people from total destruction, because it is much more profitable”. Chomsky said, “We have handed over our fate to the drug companies, private tyrannies, corporations, which are unaccountable to the public.”
We are constantly focusing on engineering education (because of being demandable in the market and having bright career prospects) rather emphasizing on health education. We have come up with artificial intelligence. We are investing heavily in making robots as alternative to humans. We are doing this because of having market demands and being profitable business. On the other hand, we are taking into account the health sector less seriously as it has less potentiality of gaining profit. The introduction of artificial intelligence and robots has business purpose rather than the welfare of the public. These innovations is convenient only for capitalist class (as we know workers will lose their jobs due to innovate robots).We consider education spending as an investment and we want to make most out of this investment. As a result, we are forgetting actual purpose of education and overlooking the humanitarian side of education considering the profits. Isn’t capitalism here hitting real purpose of education? These tendencies fall human health at a great risk. We can expect more severe pandemics in the next. Though scientists have predicted for another pandemics for many years, the vaccine was not invent. Because market signal was wrong and innovation of vaccine might bring no profits. Calculation of profits is the major priority in capitalism.
A pandemic Bunion Plague broke out in 14th century. Plague outbreak killed approximately 50 million people. Its origin was in Asia (Mongolia), which subsequently spread in many European countries. European countries were in the lists of most deaths with that pandemic. The death toll was higher among the working class. This increases the wages of workers. The peasants uprising arose and feudalism collapsed. The origin of COVID19 is in Asia (China) and later grazing to Europe. Now, this pandemic is spreading different parts of the world (infections of COVID19 found more than 210 regions).It seems that COVID19 pandemic going to the right way to the epidemic Plague went in 14th century.Currently, Europe is ahead in this epidemic and death tolls. Total calculated deaths have crossed one lac seventy thousandsand thousands of people are joining the procession of death every day.
In the fourteenth century, the effects of the plague were more prevalent in local agriculture and handicrafts. And the economy of that time was mostly dependent on agriculture and handicrafts. That is, the pestilence of the fourteenth century leads to the breakdown of the economic structure (feudalism) to the new economic structure (the capitalism).
The current COVID19 situation is leading the global economy to a critical juncture. It is being assumed that the world is heading for an economic downturn. Lockdown is currently underway in more than 70 countries. All countries are now disconnected (on ground, water and sky paths though virtual communication continues). Its effects have already begun to wear off. It is being said that many people will lose their jobs in the next scenario.
The feudalists wanted to turn away from the pestilence of the fourteenth century but could not. In the context of a changing social and political circumstances, capitalism is really in a trouble, there is no way of denying this. Now, we are to see, how does capitalism deal with this crisis? Despite the great efforts of the feudalists, the feudal system could not be sustained. Let’s see, how will COVID19 push capitalism? The disease has just started spreading around the world. It is also a matter of seeing the effects the pandemic after reaching the highest stage. We know, Plague pandemic took place in three stages. Every body’s attention is on the end of COVID19.
Many of scholars have begun to consider China as the winner of this epidemic, while many are saying that China will be the next economic power.The spread of SARS(Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus created financial benefits for the Chinese businessmen.Investors in the Chinese stock market, in particular, released their shares for cheap rate while leaving China during the spread of SARS virus considering health concern. It seems that China has overcome this epidemic. If this has really happened, undoubtedly it might be a great achievement. This can be considered the primary victory in pandemic COVID19 circumstances.
European society was not very advanced when the epidemic plague spread to Europe. The beginning of Europe’s development began in the aftermath (the establishment of European colonies in Africa, Asia, and America). That is, the aftermath of the epidemic spread to Europeans dominance throughout the world. It is a matter of scholar’s attention that who will lead the world after COVID19 circumstances. It can easily be said that the dominance of China or Russia after COVID19 circumstances is not a good signal for capitalism.
Howard Zinn Said, “Capitalism has always been a failure for the lower classes. It is now beginning to fail for the middle classes.” It seems that Ultimate Effects of COVID19 will be on middle classes. It may also happen that the middle class will be abolished and the people belonging to this class will be included in the lower class. Because the poor have nothing to lose (as they are entangled in poverty and they somehow manage their livelihoods in the least minimum standards), and as the rich (capitalists) having many, their losses seem smaller. It would be no surprising, if this really happens.
Writer: Adjunct Faculty and Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies and Sustainability (IDSS), United International University. Email: [email protected]