Friday, May 01, 2020

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Bruce Campbell highlights how corporate greed isn't limited by a public health emergency. And indeed, the Canadian Press reports on a record amount of federal lobbying in February and March as entrenched interests seek to increase their wealth and power as a result of COVID-19.

- Meanwhile, Quinn Slobodian points out that corporate interests are counting on the rest of us doing nothing to push for change as a result of a glaring breakdown of our public health and support systems:
We have seen a world where capitalism stops. But it will start again. When America “reopens,” it will be much like the old America. Big companies will be bigger, ever more beholden to the leader for having saved them. Arguments for austerity will return in the wake of the unprecedented spending.
...
The next year will be a litany of the “workouts and turnarounds” that bankruptcy specialists are known for, ruthlessly wringing the value out of companies, while ignoring the human or social costs. Distressed debt funds are the loan sharks of the business world, and will feel no compunction about pursuing the bottom line. We have seen a preview of such dispassionate calculation in the last month, as stock values soared alongside record unemployment numbers and mounting deaths. The combination seemed shocking to some people, even scandalous. “The stock market doesn’t care about your feelings,” was the response of a Los Angeles Times business reporter, “nor should it.”

Covid-19 has left the economy in rubble, and we have a brief chance to build anew. But to avoid the vultures, we will have to be creative and work together. Freed from our quarantine, we can use the remains of our old society to construct new buildings, gardens, playgrounds, and, when necessary, barricades too.
- Anne Gaviola reports on the appalling exploitation of Canadians by payday lenders even as coronavirus relief is supposed to include access to affordable credit.

- The American Prospect examines the future of labour following the COVID-19 pandemic. Denise Balkissoon discusses the harm we do by undermining the rights of food sector workers, while Lauren Kaori Gurley reports on today's strikes of many major U.S. retailers. And Brett Nelson points out the need for organizing in response to the issues highlighted by the coronavirus to focus on issues which develop solidarity rather than undermining it.

- Finally, Bruce Arthur writes that we won't be able to defeat the coronavirus without fully working together - while noting that our treatment of people living with homelessness and precarious work falls far short of the mark.

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