Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Owen Jones writes that the coronavirus is offering a stark lesson in how inequality kills:
The coronavirus pandemic is about to collide with this engine of inequality. The super-rich are fleeing on private jets to luxury boltholes in foreign climes, while the well-to-do may deploy their private health insurance to circumvent our already struggling and soon to be overrun National Health Service. Meanwhile, Britain’s army of precarious workers have nowhere to hide, including from employment that puts their health at risk. Uber drivers, Deliveroo riders, cleaners: all in low-paid jobs, often with families to feed. Many will feel they have no choice but to keep working. While many middle-class professionals can protect themselves by working from home, supermarket shelves cannot be stacked remotely, and the same applies from factory workers to cleaners. How many could truly afford to live on £94.25 a week, which is our country’s paltry statutory sick pay?
We know that depression and stress weaken our immune systems, and the research is clear: those on low incomes are disproportionately likely to suffer from poor mental health. Poor diet is another factor, and one that is strongly linked to poverty. What, too, of our most impoverished, those who are homeless with poor nutrition, weaker immune systems and a lack of access to good hygiene? And what happens to the 1.5 million children eligible for free school meals if our education sector is temporarily closed? Many could soon find themselves with hungry bellies.
A decade of austerity, and a social order that deprives millions of citizens of a comfortable existence, will mean many more deaths in the coming weeks and months that could have been avoided. The government’s determination to discover a vaccine for coronavirus must be accompanied by a renewed commitment to addressing poverty. Like every crisis, this one is likely to affect working-class and poor people worst. That is not inevitable. It’s a choice – and one within our power to stop, if only we had the will to do so.
- Jon Parsons writes that our response to the pandemic needs to be based on an ethic of collective care. Ian Welsh offers his take on what we can expect from the coronavirus and its aftermath. Ella Bedard, John No and Amy Brubacher discuss the need for additional supports for workers in order for social distancing to be effective. Rossana Rodriguez, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, Byron Sigcho Lopez, Daniel La Spata and Jeanette Taylor note that the holes in the social safety net being exposed now signal the urgent need for enduring systemic change.

- Both Campbell Clark and Jerry Dias highlight the need for our political leaders to do more rather than less in the face of a crisis which gets exponentially worse for every day it's left unaddressed. And Jacques Gallant and Alyshah Hasham point out how incarcerated populations stand to be particularly hard hit if the pandemic reaches them.

- Caroline Orr notes that the war on truth by the wealthy and powerful has made it all the more difficult to inform the public and get people to act in response to a pandemic. Andrew Nikiforuk connects corporate globalization to the spread of the coronavirus. Carl Meyer reports on the activist push to ensure that Canada's policy response doesn't focus solely on further enriching the wealthy. And Scott Duke Kominers discusses how big business is exploiting the crisis through price gouging on sanitizer and other needed products - and isn't seeing the same public opprobrium as the individuals doing the same.

- Finally, the CCPA's Alternative Federal Budget offers a plan to protect workers and the public, while transitioning to a more secure and sustainable society. And Avi Lewis points out how a Green New Deal represents an ideal plan for rebuilding and modernizing our economy in the wake of the coronavirus.

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