Capitalism’s Black Death

I’m sure most are aware that the Black Death hastened Feudalism’s demise. I come increasingly to the conclusion that Coronavirus is likely to do the same for our version of neoliberal free-range capitalism.

I’d be surprised if we get out of our Coronavirus predicament within the year – as we didn’t with Spanish flu. This was not really Spanish, of course, but was first ‘discovered’ in Spain because they had no wartime censorship. Now of course both China has certainly, a sort of censorship, and so too, does Trump’s America. We are actually in a similar situation – both diseases were without a vaccine when they occurred. And I fear both, similarly, are likely to have waves of infection.

Steve Keen interviewed on (for me the always admirable) Renegade Inc, is of the blatantly obvious opinion, which is not, it seems clear to people including the Home Office with their NHS premiums for foreign workers, as well as the American idea that health is private, that health, when it is a communicable disease, which is often, is never, ever private!

And ‘globalisation’ means that supply chains are automatically subject to world problems – whatever they are – and indeed with just in time ordering any supply is very vulnerable to any upset whatsoever.

When efficiency is all, there is no resilience. Currently we have quarantined capitalism – which is really no capitalism at all. In short, what Steve calls free range capitalism – which I think better nomenclature than what I used to call laissez-faire capitalism – is intensely vulnerable.

And the killer blow for me is that if there is now no Universal Basic Income, then, with the Coriovanus epidemic, capitalism, without spending money, will be closed for business for quite some time. Physical and human resources will be lost – simply because the government fails to create, as it can, money.

For the Black Death it was medical ignorance that caused the economic problem, whereas now it seems to be simple ideology.

The government, elected by its people should, surely actually protect its people… Yet government seems to be subservient to special interests.

So, I wonder, with the Black Death imminent, are we really more knowledgeable and intelligent than the late Middle Ages?


    1. Peter May -

      Thanks for the link – that article is really very incisive. Excellent stuff.

  1. Tony_B -

    We have witnessed the limit of populist politics in dealing with nature. The Conservatives have been awful and reactionary on environmental matters. Johnson’s take it “on the chin” would result in the death rate reaching June 13,000 deaths per day, many times normal rates. [1] After reading the Imperial report [1] I was terrified at the potential consequences to peaceful society if the Govt does not supply pounds into peoples’ wallets and bill deferments for the economy to tick over. [2]

    I fear this Govt thinks same-old politics, lies, smears and control, bolstered by a craven media are the solutions. This is crass and the new media are showing that (TRUK, Monbiot, MoA, Skwawkbox). The adults need to take it on from now – Mr Johnson there’s a chilled bottle of Pol Rodger waiting for you by the pool Sir, go.



  2. Bill Hughes -

    Thank goodness that commentators like George Monbiot, Richard Murphy, Progressive Pulse, Novarra media et al exist to open our eyes to government policy (or lack of) consisting first of denial of problems thus enacting abuse and criminal disregard of the public good in favour of the privelidged few.

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