Corona – and how on with economy

ds. The global COVID-19 pandemic shows us once again how vulnerable human life is. The virus has not only attacked health and life, but also endangers the economic existence of countless people.
   It made it clear how prone to failure the globalised economy is: If the global supply chains are interrupted in one place, the wheels in other places stand still. Medicines become scarce in Europe when the production of basic medical substances comes to a standstill in China. And finally, the virus has brought to light abuses – such as the working and living conditions of temporary workers – recalling the days of the slave trade; and this in the economically strongest country in Europe. In the rich countries of the northern hemisphere, aid packages worth billions have been able to prevent mass unemployment. But the long-term economic consequences are still difficult to predict; especially in the poor countries of the southern hemisphere. Here the virus already meets poverty, lack of social security and unstable political conditions, as the example of the Congo shows. The truth is that colonialism has never stopped. It continues in unfair trade relations between the North and the South; not only in Africa, but also in Latin America and some south-eastern European countries. Raw materials and human labour continue to be ruthlessly exploited and the diverse cultures and economies of indigenous peoples continue to be ignored and largely destroyed.
   Huge resources of land are being used for the industrial production of food for the North, and e-waste and other waste from civilisation is being taken to the poor countries of the South, where children go to waste dumps to look for recyclable materials. In view of such circumstances, can we trust that everything will be the same as it was before corona and that the economy will flourish again if we stimulate consumption in rich countries with expensive buying incentives? Or is it not necessary that we use all our intelligence and skills to develop new economic models that are no longer based on profit but on people’s needs, thus making their livelihoods more secure and more just?
   I think we have an obligation to do so, and I am confident that it can be done if we get to work without the usual left-right scheme. After all, we managed to land on the moon, and there should be an economy for the benefit of all.   •

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