Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Duncan Cameron writes that while the COVID-19 pandemic has been catastrophic, we shouldn't pretend that it's at all surprising - or that the necessary responses are in doubt:
Though it has taken the world by surprise, the COVID-19 pandemic is a white swan event. It was predictable that a contagious disease without a standard treatment would strike the planet -- it is a periodic occurrence.
What is needed is to throw out the conventional thinking that dominates public policy, particularly in the wealthy G7 nations led by the U.S., that are suffering from COVID-19 illness and deaths.

Global co-operation does not arise from international trade deals that generate monopoly profits for corporations through enshrining intellectual property rights. Confronting a pandemic requires the ability to share knowledge about how to cure the virus, and eventually make vaccines and drugs for treatment widely available at the lowest possible cost, without price gouging through patent protection.
In an uncertain world, countries need a robust response to an uncertain future.

The out-of-control military spending of the U.S. and other G7 nations needs to be redirected to assure financial security, vital health and educational infrastructure, and a transition out of a fossil-fuel economy across the world.

Environmental activists, trade unionists, feminists and religious leaders have been pointing out for decades that at the planetary level, nations need to come together for common security.

Protecting citizens from climate change, famine, drought, forest fires and pandemics requires specific practices, investments and major policy shifts.

The main threats to human well-being are not military attacks that threaten national security: they emerge from the interplay of industrial society and nature; and responding effectively requires a new approach to global co-operation.
- Arwa Mahdawi writes about how the reaction to COVID-19 has highlighted the gap between celebrity culture and the reality facing most people. And Solhani Katkar writes about the cruel face of capitalism which has been exposed.

- Anelyse Weiler, Janet McLaughlin, Susana Caxaj and Donald Cole discuss the importance of protecting the rights of migrant workers in the wake of the coronavirus. But then, Stephanie Land points out that it shouldn't require a pandemic for us to care about people living in poverty and precarity.

- Alex MacPherson reports on Saskatchewan's mayors who are trying desperately to get Scott Moe's government to deal with a lack of housing and other supports in the face of COVID-19.

- Finally, David Moscrop wonders whether our democratic practices and institutions can survive the coronavirus. And Melinda Meng offers a reminder that a system of proportional representation would be far more responsive to public needs.

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