Coronavirus: the Straw that Broke the (Capitalist) Camel’s Back?

Global industrial capitalism was put to the ultimate test, and it failed admirably.

The Pando Aspen colony in Richfield, Utah.

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” -John Muir

The U.S. global industrial capitalist system — the fabric that underpins every institution in our society, in all sorts of insidious ways — is ill-equipped to handle the most important systemic shock of the decade.

As the virus spreads, so too do concerns that our socioeconomic system was not designed to handle suffering on such a large scale.

Tragedy is not novel to the novel Coronavirus.

Coronavirus comic by Joel Pett of Tribune Content agency.

Vulnerability reproduces itself, inexorably. This is especially true in a system that deems monetary wealth the basis for good health, clean water, education, reliable electricity, a decent home, and freedom from incarceration.

The Covid-19 crisis offers important lessons on how our economic system has shifted — from Adam Smith’s classical supply/demand capitalism to the late capitalism of the twentieth century, which thrives off of 1) incessant need-creation and 2) corporate money recirculation.

Today, we notice that Graeber’s “productive” blue collar jobs map directly on to those deemed “key workers” in the Covid-19 crisis. We realize the importance of our custodians, cashiers, shelf-stackers, healthcare workers, delivery drivers, farmers, garbage collectors, and bus drivers, while all sorts of white collar employees can work from home.

A cartoon by Joel Pett of Tribune Content Agengcy.

Aspiring human.