What left reformists and right populists have in common, their only commonality, is their profound failure to understand capitalist political economy. The Chancellor’s “Blue Sky” budget based on a “Strong and Resilient economy” facing a “temporary medical emergency” is an exercise in delusion. By the Autumn statement it will be history.
These are miserable times. The statistics of deprivation and death are gruesome. Far too many people struggle with hunger; roughly nine million of them dying each year from complications due to malnutrition (a child dies somewhere in the world around every ten seconds because of this).
On the last quarter of last year, nearly 90,000 full-time jobs for NHS were advertised. Hospital beds are now half what they were 30 years ago. The government is stating it will give to the NHS ‘whatever it takes’ to cope with the impending virus and yet even the very lowest of expected numbers mean the NHS will be totally submerged in serious CoVid-19 virus cases within about 6 to 8 weeks.
Covid-19 appears as round yellow objects in this electron microscope image.
A socialist biologist explains the tight links between new viruses, industrial food production, and the profitability of multinational corporations.
The new coronavirus is keeping the world in a state of shock. But instead of fighting the structural causes of the pandemic, the government is focusing on emergency measures.
Yaak Pabst for the German socialist magazine Marx21 spoke to evolutionary biologist Rob Wallace, author of Big Farms Make Big Flu (Monthly Review Press, 2016) about the dangers of Covid-19, the responsibility of agribusiness and sustainable solutions to combat infectious diseases. Marx21 released the interview in advance of its scheduled March 30 publication date.
Covid-19 has broken out of China and become a key global concern: most countries are now preparing for a serious virus epidemic.
All governments are faced with a series of unpalatable options over their next steps – yet all end with serious economic damage.
As a counterweight, we will see a reliance on several types of fiscal and monetary policy response: the conventional, the unconventional, and the ‘unconversational’ – steps that would not even have been talked about until very recently.
“The Conventional” response is already well underway with the RBA cutting rates 25bp to 0.50% and the Fed making an emergency cut of 50bp to takes Fed Funds to 1.25%: this was the first 50bp cut and the first out-of-meeting move since the Global Financial Crisis.
However, conventional policy is arguably of little impact, as initial reactions to the Fed surprise show – and the same is just as true for unconventional policy.
This takes us rapidly towards market conversations about the ‘unconversational’.
Two black swans swim in a lake of a park in Shenyang. Photo: AFP
Is the planet under the spell of a pair of black swans – a Wall Street meltdown, caused by an alleged oil war between Russia and the House of Saud, plus the uncontrolled spread of Covid-19 – leading to an all-out “cross-asset pandemonium” as billed by Nomura?