Since Neoliberalism shaped and fortified the notion that ‘the economy’ precedes ‘society’, now that Coronavirus crisis requires to put society first — this is perceived by many as simply illogical and capricious.
The pandemic around the world is demonstrating a staggering story about varieties of Capitalism, differences between countries regarding the state’s realization of its role and degree of responsibility towards society, leadership capacity or its incompetence, the extent of citizens’ trust in the state’s institutions, the tension between individualistic and communal values, the social and civic motives versus business and economic interests.
Especially taking into account the varieties of welfare state and healthcare, the most vulnerable in the current situation are low-income gated communities, low-wage service workers, (mostly women) care and health workers, the poor elderly, immigrants, and homeless people. The US, undoubtedly, is the most disgraceful example in this context in the Global North. In any case and anywhere, it is impossible to effectively tackle a public health crisis where there is no a public healthcare system. It is not just about the mortality and suffering caused by COVID-19; it is about the fatality of a continuing lack of access to proper living conditions and healthcare due to belonging to an underprivileged social class. This crisis is mercilessly and unequivocally radiographing the socio-economic and political realities as they actually are.
As gloomy clouds of the pandemic are descending, let us bear in mind that “Solidarity is not discovered by reflection but created. It is created by increasing our sensitivity to the particular details of the pain” (Rorty 1989: xvi). Let us hope that this world-shaking, singular event — whose probable implications still cannot be grasped — will also lead to worldviews changes and generate new intellectual and practical beginnings regarding the ways we see, shape and carry out the role of the economy within the society for the sake of humanity and especially those who were abused and left behind by the Neoliberal crusade.
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