The Coronavirus pandemic is making painfully clear to everyone what socialists of all sorts have been pointing out for years: Capitalism doesn’t work!
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the response to the crisis where the “invisible hand of the free market” did absolutely nothing until it was too late and the costs of handling it have become prohibitive. Instead what is actually working is mutual aid. With people springing to the front and volunteering their life, health and even their very lives to help others.
You might see it in all those news about this or that celebrity donating so many millions to the Coronavirus response (we should of course not be praising a billionaire that if effectively giving what amounts to chump change for them, but mass media is gonna propagandize), but it is primarily the thousands of health workers and grocery store employees who are continuing to work with minimal wage and massive health risks because nobody else will. Sure the threat of homelessness is certainly making some people continue to work in life-threatening conditions, but from what I’ve seen, most do it out of a sense of duty. And even if it was the threat of destitution that made doctors and clerks for to their job during a pandemic, it would not exactly be a high praise for the system.
And the free market even now continues to malfunction. Sure a lot of companies are switching only now production to critical provisions, but either they’re doing out of sense of civic duty again (or at least, that’s how they’re portrayed in the media en large), or under pressure from their respective states. Not to mention that the pressures of the capitalist system are putting pressure to non-essential companies to continue operating, putting their workers and the general populace in danger, in order to not collapse.
This situation also makes it blatant on how illusionary money and monetary policy is. When things are going well, it’s all important to save money and “be responsible” and whatnot. But when a crisis comes, money is not important anymore, rather workers are expected to self-sacrifice for the common good, while companies get bailed out and CEOs can just take month-long vacations on their private yachts.
Think about it: For the world, nothing critical has changed. You’re still living in the same house and are getting food and supplies. The people providing supplies are also getting the same things, so they can stay alive and keep working. Now take money out of the equation: Nothing changes.
The only thing that money does in this situation is support the parasitic class of Landlords and Capitalists! We can plainly see that the world will keep turning without them but our ancestors were forced into a fool’s game and people have been running in that wheel out of sheer momentum ever since.
Now that suddenly so many people don’t get any income while their parasites still continue asking their due, people are starting to ask the question: “Wait a minute, why am I even having to give you money?”. And this is why as the bills are coming due, rent strikes and organized action are suddenly becoming widespread. And it’s beautiful!.
And believe me, Capitalists and their bootlickers are shitting their pants right now. The propaganda campaign is going in full-force in places like the /r/coronavirus subreddit whenever posts about rent-strikes rise to the top, but they can’t control it anymore. Governments are dumping trillions (fucking trillions! You can’t even comprehend how big a number that is) into people and companies, hoping to keep the illusion of the monetary system going until thing go back to normal. They literally give money to the workers to pay their landlords so that the workers who don’t have any money left, don’t question why they’re having to pay a landlord in the first place. That’s how desperate they are getting. Last time anything close to as massive happened, they ended up with The New Deal, and they remember!
But this is not going away soon, and the more plutocrats print money to throw at people to pretend the situation is still normal, the more people are going to start to wonder: “If money can just be made out of thin air like that, then what’s the fucking point of pretending it’s necessary?”
Sadly, disaster capitalism can’t let a good crisis go to waste, so we’re already seeing autocratic governments use this opportunity to take as much control as they always wanted. Just take a look at Hungary becoming a full-blown fascist dictatorship, or the Trumpian USA straight-up disemboweling environmental protections as they always wanted (and I fully expect Trump will try to postpone elections indefinitely once things get sufficiently worse, just as well). And on top of that, misinformation is taking advantage of the epidemic news coverage to reinforce denial of climate catastrophe. It’s completely fucked up.
Due to this, if we miraculously manage to contain Coronavirus fast enough, and “save the economy” (i.e. maintain the illusions of the working class) then we’re going to find ourselves in a much worse system. Much more authoritarian and much more dystopian than anything we’ve experienced until now.
However, as is looking much more likely, the endemic corruption of the capitalist class has become so terminal that it has stymied any effective response they might have taken and Coronavirus is set to last for months, if not years. And for the current system based on the absurd concept of infinite growth, this is fatal. And the more this takes to get under control, the more working class consciousness will grow as direct action for mutual aid will replace the state and market (non-)response. And if it grows fast and strong enough, when the system inevitably collapses from abject stagnation, we might just replace it with something wonderful just soon enough to start the massive global work we’ll have to undertake to stave of climate apocalypse.
Coronavirus has come at the worst time for the global capitalist system but as counter-productive as it sounds, the longer it takes to run its course, the better it might be for the future of humanity as a whole, as it lays the species-ending flaws of capitalism bare for all to see.