Covid-19 exposing flaws in the economic system

Countries with particularly liberal economic systems, such as the UK and the US, have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. And although the effects of the crisis on the global economy are being felt everywhere, the global financial markets have so far remained comparatively stable. For commentators, this all highlights the dysfunctional aspects of today's economy.

Open/close all quotes
The Guardian (GB) /

British and Americans the biggest losers

It's no surprise that the UK and the US have been hit so hard by the virus, The Guardian comments:

“By the time Covid-19 hit their shores, the UK and US were lacking not just the politicians but the bureaucracies required to respond effectively. ...Anglo-American capitalism, pursued by both right and centre-left parties, rooted in small government and powered by exceptionalism, had dismantled the state. No notice or warning could have refashioned the machinery of government quickly enough to save lives. An economic and political model that hinges on privatisation, liberalisation and the withdrawal of labour rights created a system prone to regular crises, despite such shocks being framed as one-offs.”

Avvenire (IT) /

Stock markets decoupled from real economy

The pandemic will hopefully prompt a rethink among financial traders, Avvenire puts in:

“Despite the losses due to the pandemic and even falling oil prices, the Dow Jones is only a few points below the absolute highs it reached earlier this year. ... Because the value of listed companies is completely detached from any entrepreneurial or macroeconomic parameters. ... It makes no sense to rely on the self-regulatory mechanisms of a self-referential system in which - even in the midst of a pandemic shock - the data streams have lost all relation to the reality they're supposed to reflect. ... Let's put our faith in the flesh-and-bones people who live in this system: in the traders who, faced with something invisible - and thus unsettling - like a virus could be inspired to redefine what has become an unfathomable distance.”

Les Echos (FR) /

Corona killing off bullshit jobs

The crisis is accelerating the transformation of the working world, sociologist Julien Damon writes in Les Echos:

“The expansion of teleworking and the celebration of useful professions are leading to a drastic reassessment of pointless tasks. All the activities combined under the derogatory term 'bullshit jobs' will appear even more useless than ever. … The return to work spaces with physical proximity in sometimes very confined spaces is proving problematic: in the short term for health reasons, in the long term due to the revolution in the entire working world leading to the appreciation of useful tasks and individualised organisations. So yes, those previously employed in 'bullshit jobs' will swell the ranks of the unemployed. Let's hope those affected will soon find more meaningful tasks!”