Covid, Capitalism, Friedrich Engels and Boris Johnson
First published on July 7, 2022
“And thus it renders more and more evident the great central fact that the cause of the miserable condition of the working class is to be sought, not in these minor grievances, but in the capitalistic system itself.” Friedrich Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845) (preface to the English Edition, p.36)
The IMF and World Bank have for decades pushed a policy agenda based on cuts to public services, increases in taxes paid by the poorest and moves to undermine labour rights and protections.
IMF ‘structural adjustment’ policies have resulted in 52% of Africans lacking access to healthcare and 83% having no safety nets to fall back on if they lose their job or become sick. Even the IMF has shown that neoliberal policies fuel poverty and inequality.
In 2021, an Oxfam review of IMF COVID-19 loans showed that 33 African countries were encouraged to pursue austerity policies. The world’s poorest countries are due to pay $43 billion in debt repayments in 2022, which could otherwise cover the costs of their food imports.
Oxfam and Development Finance International (DFI) have also revealed that 43 out of 55 African Union member states face public expenditure cuts totalling $183 billion over the next five years.
According to Prof Michel Chossudovsky of the Centre for Research on Globalization, the closure of the world economy (March 11, 2020 Lockdown imposed on more than 190 countries) has triggered an unprecedented process of global indebtedness. Governments are now under the control of global creditors in the post-COVID era.
What we are seeing is a de facto privatisation of the state as governments capitulate to the needs of Western financial institutions.
Moreover, these debts are largely dollar-denominated, helping to strengthen the US dollar and US leverage over countries.
It raises the question: what was COVID really about?
Millions have been asking that question since lockdowns and restrictions began in early 2020. If it was indeed about public health, why close down the bulk of health services and the global economy knowing full well what the massive health, economic and debt implications would be?
Why mount a military-style propaganda campaign to censor world-renowned scientists and terrorise entire populations and use the full force and brutality of the police to ensure compliance?
These actions were wholly disproportionate to any risk posed to public health, especially when considering the way ‘COVID death’ definitions and data were often massaged and how PCR tests were misused to scare populations into submission.
Prof Fabio Vighi of Cardiff University implies we should have been suspicious from the start when the usually “unscrupulous ruling elites” froze the global economy in the face of a pathogen that targets almost exclusively the unproductive (the over 80s).