- Sunday 8th March 2020, 5:43pm [Edited]
- United Kingdom
- 7,544 posts
Quote: Paul Wimsett @ 8th March 2020, 11:37 AM
I wonder why the Tories want to prevent people getting Coronavirus but don't care about the poor being plunged into poverty? Could it be that Coronavirus also affects the rich?
Good point but of the rich it will principally affect the older or disabled, unemployed/unproductive rich and not so much their younger fit children and grandchildren. In that way, if no other, there, is a parallel between rich and poor. So then it goes back to the question of whether it is just a coincidence that it has happened now or something more sinister. The following points might be of interest, not least to those who in all openness invite oddballs to help them with policy:
Health and Social Care
1. For all of the talk about improving health services and introducing radical improvements to social care, not a lot in the last decade has actually happened there. In fact, the reverse is true. Global cutbacks via austerity. Trump against Medicaid, Medicare or whatever it is the Americans call it. Hardly anything in the Tory manifesto on a new social care system with there having been delays to it throughout Mrs May's time. Much the same has been the case the entire world over.
Private thinking at the senior global Davos level where the likes of Mandelson and Osborne used to frequently rub shoulders with all of the world's bigwigs is almost certainly that better services will never be affordable. Ultimately they view this line as deeply unpopular and worry about its impacts on their order. Consequently a bug which wipes out many of the old and the vulnerable diminishes the prospect of revolutions. They simply say "oh deary me - it is the bug's fault.
Bailouts of Private Businesses
2. Historically, taxpayers via Governments have bailed out failing private companies to protect business people, their employees and in some respects national economies. Only in very recent years has there been an instinct not to do it with a new philosophy that it isn't for the best in cost terms. See for example Flybe. As many companies go to the wall with this bug, the argument will be that they were too weak and that the bug has simply got rid of the dead wood. They can't save everything. It is the perfect excuse for not trying to save anything. Again, survival of the fittest and mightily convenient.
3. Climate change, global warming and modern vibes about the environmental and personal health advantages of radically different diets based less on meat and more on mung beans. The green movement has successfully convinced everyone that governments should do more to protect the planet and it fits in well with cutting healthcare costs if the younger generations eat differently in big numbers and stay healthier. However, people do not practice what they preach.
They still want to travel everywhere by plane or train. They still want to have six pints of beer every night and eat chocolate. This was always going to be the case forever more. Governments can't win. Oh, but that was then. Now they say there is a bug which threatens health substantially and it's best that people stay in their houses. Then habits will change in the longer term because people will always remember 2020 and how they didn't feel safe carrying on as they were.
The Planet Versus Social Services
4. The shrinking of the global economy. Environmentalists have always argued among themselves about if they wanted economic growth via a green economy or less or no growth as all growth is environmentally destructive, In this light, the idea that health and social care can be paid for better than they are today with green radicalism has always sounded at most optimistic. Even unrealistic. Privately many global leaders consider that it is a battle. Environmental protection plus the shrinking of the economy versus economic growth, pollution and better healthcare, welfare, pensions. They have decided the environment and the reverse of growth wins the contest. Only with this bug do they have an excuse to do it.
Competition Between Nations
5. Competition between nations. The problem with that decision is that some countries might do it and some might do the opposite. In that scenario, there would be revolution in the countries where health and welfare are not prioritised with people saying that other countries are providing their people with care. But to have a global bug ensures that all countries will do it. Everywhere the economy shrinks in what is in effect a new survival of the fittest world economic order.
What people have to realise here is that the post war paternalistic order had the pluses of Governments being fatherly in a caring way to their citizens but with the regular dramatic down sides of war created by a sense of "I am a better father of my nation than that bloke is a father to his nation". From a voters' perspective that translated into "my Dad is better than your Dad" which meant they when ordered were prepared to fight wars. In the past few decades all of that was thrown out although it appears to survive in surface tensions. Hyped up spats between Britain and France on fishing or the US and China on trade. The ultimate destination is "no one is a father to citizens but rather the global state is the boss of you all". Whatever the talk of disagreements, that is at the heart of it. It is small wonder that Iranian rulers have been bugged. They are among the few who don't sign up to the pretence that international leaders are in conflict because they genuinely are.
6. Housing. In countries used to home ownership, the dream of owning a home has increasingly eluded the young, To address it would mean artificially reducing house values dramatically. That would be entirely unacceptable to modest home owners for whom their home is basically their pension. They can release the funds for their own care if needs be but not if the value plummets. They also believe in leaving what they can to their offspring which doesn't address wider issues of young people's housing. A bug kills off many of these people and redistributes the wealth plus it reduces the cost of housing for everyone as the economy crashes. Politicians can say that it was the bug's fault and nothing to do with them while adding that at least more people can buy their own home now and there is less need for house building.