Letter to the Editor

Corona crisis in a globalised economy

I would like to add some thoughts to the statements of the two National Councillors Ms Estermann and Ms Badran and also to the article by Ms Duprat in Current Concerns No 9 from 15 May 2020.

It is becoming apparent now in the crisis that the globalised economic disorder with its ideology of growth and shareholder value turns out to be a system that does not serve the human family. The neoliberal model of deregulated financial, goods and service markets, accompanied by the so-called free movement of persons, originates from the ideology of unlimited growth and neglects resource conservation as well as climate and environmental protection. The always “more”, accompanied by cost savings due to relocation of production facilities to low-wage and lowest-wage countries and thus dependent supply chains, prevents the development of less developed economies. As well, if certain countries are kept “down” as cheap raw material suppliers. The situation is similar when it comes to the employment of labour such as harvest hands or caregivers, which are currently running out. It makes more sense to qualify and deploy people without work in their own country for these activities instead of taking them away from other countries.
A solution would be a new social market economy concept in which the fulfilment of demand at fair prices and reasonable profits has priority and the markets are contained to economic areas with similar living conditions. In other words, what is consumed in an economic sphere is mostly produced by residentiary workers. Wage dumping with workers from Eastern Europe or beyond would be stopped. Instead of “land grabbing” by large corporations and free trade, regulation, for the purpose of promoting in particular small farms, which offer their products on regional markets, would be the better solution. This applies not only to continents such as Africa.
The climate and the environment would be better protected by the absence of long transport routes, less private (travel) and business mobility, accompanied by the creation of sustainable, useful and resource-efficient goods and services instead of “more and more”. We are now experiencing how nature has recovered tremendously only within a few weeks due to the global lockdown. A system based on an appropriate distribution within developed economies instead of the growth ideology would be a resource-efficient, environmentally-, climate-friendly and socially acceptable alternative vision for the future. At the same time, the gap between rich and poor needs to be narrowed by geographical boundaries between developed and less developed countries. In recent decades, the globalised world economy, oriented towards profitable growth, has led to an unprecedented level of capital accumulation such as at companies like Amazon, Google, Zalando or facebook – to name just a few. On the other hand, over 800 million people worldwide are starving. This corresponds to 11% of the world population.
Established politicians such as the German Development Minister Müller (CSU) are now expressing similar statements: “The further, faster, more capitalism of the last 30 years needs to stop.” For him, the corona crisis is a wake-up call to humankind to deal with nature and the environment differently (source: n-tv from 3 May 2020).
The dissolution of the world and the selfishness of some not only harm the climate and the environment, but have accelerated inequalities not only between the regions of the world, but also within developed economies. Global mobility and open markets are now spreading viruses around the globe in no time at all and putting a STOP in front of us, in the sense of: No longer like this!

Werner Voß, Wiehl (Germany)

(Translation Current Concerns)

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