The coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease is the first neoliberal virus in the world. To say so is not to reduce its dangers but to criticize how it has been confronted by most governments across the world.
Criticism: Hits and misses
- On March 12, Denmark largely shut down for at least two weeks, as did many other European nations, with the exception of the United Kingdom and some others. This shutdown was necessary, and could have been implemented a little earlier, however, other necessary things were not implemented.
- One of the most crucial is testing. Denmark, like many other European nations, is testing only acute cases.
- If you have mild symptoms — and at least a hundred other diseases give you the same symptoms — you are simply expected to self-isolate (in doubt).
- It is also surprising that while it takes two to four days for test results to become available in rich western nations, it takes only four hours in the afflicted regions of China.
Criticism: Shift in Burden
- A major burden of stopping the virus has been passed on to ordinary citizens, who now have to isolate themselves even if they just have the common cold, while the government issues directives but spends as little as possible.
- This is not surprising.
- For the past two decades, whenever corporations or significant banks have stumbled, national governments have pumped public money into them, while cutting public services (including health and research) to raise the money.
- Such buffering of the national economy is necessary.
- But there are two major problems.
- Most of this money is not being strictly earmarked to preserve jobs, and the lowest wage earners are particularly ignored.
- The other problem is that almost no country has put in comparable amounts into the health, social and educational aspects of combating the pandemic.
- There are rumours that the virus scare in China, added to the subterranean racism of the West when anything bad is reported in non-white nations, sent American and European investors on a panicked selling spree.
- They got rid of their controlling shares in significant Chinese sectors at a pittance, and these were bought up by the Chinese government or Chinese investors.
- Now, with China seemingly in control of the virus, it might be that it has also regained more control over its own economy and sectors.