PASSWORD RESET

Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

COVID-19: A crisis for some, not the super-rich

Reading Time: 2 minutes

“We’re all in this together” they said. Well, not quite, it seems.

While most of us are worrying about our health, our jobs, and how we’ll pay our bills, it seems that some at the top end of town are doing very nicely during this pandemic.

The world’s richest person – Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos – gained an incredible $US24 billion last month, boosting his net worth to to more than $US138 billion!

This was on the back of Amazon’s shares soaring, partly because people are moving to buy more goods online, but also thanks to the US government’s stimulus measures. The super-rich are confident that the any losses they incur will be covered by the government.

Bezos isn’t the only one who’s seen his wealth skyrocket during the pandemic. Big capitalists connected to supermarkets, online streaming services, social media and video communication companies have also collected big.

It’s clear that COVID-19 is far from a great equaliser. You’re more likely to contract it, and die, if you’re unable to practice physical distancing and proper hygiene.

This means that those forced to go out and work, those living in crowded conditions and those without proper access to clean water and sanitation are at a distinct disadvantage. In other words the poor and the working class.

It’s estimated that more than 2 billion people worldwide lack access to clean water, while about 3 billion people don’t have access to proper hand washing facilities.

Incidentally, some experts say that the cost of delivering universal safe water and sanitation would be around $US150 billion. In other words Bezos and a couple of his rich mates could cover it themselves!

While clean water and sanitation would reduce disease and deaths, raise living standards and boost the economy, Bezos thinks its more important to invest in hare-brained schemes to expand space travel.

This is the mad logic of capitalism, a system that puts the selfish interests of a few above the health and livelihoods of billions of people. If nothing else this pandemic is proving that capitalism is definitely passed it’s use-by date.

By Anthony Main

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