The pandemic has probably done humanity a last favour. It has revealed that the fairy tale of the “incredible increase in living standards” propagated all over the world by the capitalists is a gigantic lie.
It has shown that those who destroyed the landscapes, villages, hamlets and subsistence economies and who turned the people, who they drove into the cities, into ‘customers of the market’ with their expropriation plans, have no strategy for the future and only live for the moment.
It turned out that the dozens of large and small states that want to bring “peace and stability” to Afghanistan, Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria, Libya and Yemen do not have respirators, respirators, medicines and other protective equipment in their hospitals.
Those who spend billions of dollars on war planes, rockets, tanks and bombs have not even thought of having masks made from one piece of cloth.
The states that compete for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; that send satellites into space and produce all kinds of drones; that spend a large part of their budgets on planes, tanks and artillery, have not even thought about producing disinfectants and hygiene products.
With their words and actions, they have once again made it clear that they are putting people in the place of a “herd”. The “war triumph” as the “solution” of Italy or the “herd immunity” of Great Britain is a clear proof of the view of capitalist modernity on people and an expression of helplessness.
The Leviathan, which in normal times collects taxes without distinction between workers and the unemployed, poor and rich, young and old, begins, with the spread of the virus, to keep lists of those who are to die first. Covid-19 uses terms like “free market economy” or “liberalism” to conceal the real evil; capitalism.
Covid-19 has shown once again that the state is a parasite that makes people work non-stop for 60 to 65 years, promises to pay for their care and needs in old age, but now declares that although taxes have been collected for 65 years, no respirators, medicines or care could be provided.
Together we have seen states like the USA, China, Russia, Great Britain, Germany and France, which declare themselves responsible for the world order and humanity, becoming helpless, insignificant and ineffective objects.
The US President Donald Trump still believes magnanimously that he can continue his system, which is on the brink of the abyss, as if nothing had happened, without recognizing its helplessness. He trusts in people’s forgetting. With the dominant arrogance of wealth, he declares: “We cannot allow this to become a long-term problem.”
Trump’s economic advisor Larry Kudlow confirms this with the words: “The President is right. The means found must not be worse than the disease itself. We’re going to have to make some very difficult concessions in the period ahead.”
US President Trump and his economic advisor Kudlow are probably aware of the great economic crisis of 1929 and the major crises that followed the Second World War. That is why they are so worried.
The great crisis of 1929 hit the industrialized cities hardest. A large army of unemployed and homeless people was born, the small, individual material livelihoods and small savings of billions of people were destroyed and 4000 large banks went bankrupt.
During this period 70 percent of the world population lived in rural and village areas. Their working environment and economies were sufficient for them.
Today, when the Corona crisis is spreading around the world, the situation is exactly the opposite of 1929, with between 65 and 70 percent of the world’s population living in cities. The number of people in the countryside and in villages that are capable of subsistence farming is very low.
So you don’t have to be an expert or a clairvoyant to see that the coronavirus pandemic will be followed by an economic crisis that will surpass 1929 and 1945.
This crisis will be of a magnitude that Trump, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron do not want.
As long as the pandemic continues, banks, insurance companies, factories, financial companies, the agro-industry, construction, mining and agriculture will no longer function within the framework of capitalist rules. They will no longer be able to produce and trade. Their income will be minimized, but their expenses and debts will remain unchanged.
Billions of people will be even more affected by this situation. After the pandemic, the masses in the cities will initially no longer be able to pay their rent. After that they will have problems finding food and drinking water. The unemployed, casual workers, people receiving state benefits and those who lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic will thus form an army of the needy and dispossessed and set off in search of basic services.
Today’s conditions are not like the two blocs during the Cold War. On the contrary, the USA, China, Russia, Germany, Great Britain and France are part of the same system. Consequently, there will not be a Marshall Plan to help, as there was after 1945 under the Truman Doctrine.
Historical experience, current events and course point to the great depression following the coronavirus.
*Ferda Çetin is a journalist and columnist for the pro-Kurdish daily newspaper Yeni Özgür Politika. The original text was published in Turkish and was also translated to German.