Coronavirus, as most people know, came from a communist nation that has no problem stamping on the basic human rights of its citizens. Even so, socialist Professor Richard Wolff from The New School in New York says that capitalism is to blame for the problems that governments face in combatting the pandemic.
“In short, capitalism had built up vulnerabilities to another crash that any number of possible triggers could unleash,” Wolff wrote in an article published by the left-wing Economy for All. “The trigger this time was not the dot.com meltdown of 2000 or the sub-prime meltdown of 2008/9; it was a virus.”
He goes on to state that the current situation proves that capitalism “isn’t good for the mass of people.” His alternative solution is to establish a “worker-coop based economy” that would give workers rather than business owners control over the business. The workers would then get to decide what to produce and how and where to produce it; they would also be able to do as they pleased with the profits.
“A worker-coop based economy—where workers democratically run enterprises, deciding what, how and where to produce, and what to do with any profits—could, and likely would, put social needs and goals (like proper preparation for pandemics) ahead of profits,” Wolff added.
Put simply, Professor Wolff is calling for a communist state where the “workers” hold all the power while the “bourgeois” rich and middle-class professionals are demonized and shut out.
While demonizing capitalist business owners for firing workers during a pandemic sounds good on paper, the problem with Professor Wolff’s ideas is that they’ve been tried in communist nations all over the world and found wanting.
First of all, someone has to start successful businesses in the first place, and these people have to have an incentive for doing so. In a capitalist society, entrepreneurs are willing to take risks and put in the time and hard work because they expect to reap financial rewards. In a communist society, there is no incentive to take initiative or work harder than anyone else to get things done.
It’s also worth noting that the odds of “worker-owned” businesses automatically deciding to produce a surplus of ventilators, masks, and PPE at a time when these items aren’t in high demand are slim to none. On the other hand, capitalism has led many large businesses throughout the United States to adjust operations in order to produce these essential items.
Granted, there have been failings in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and all that it’s brought with it. The World Health Organization, along with various presidents, prime ministers, governors, mayors, and other politicians, failed to realize that the novel coronavirus had the potential to wreak total havoc in a very short amount of time. However, blaming all these failings on a capitalist system is not only inaccurate, but also dangerous.
Communism has killed one hundred million people in the last century, far more than this pandemic ever will. Socialism won’t keep the world safe. Instead, it demonizes the very people the world system needs in order to recover from the current economic disaster.