Reflections on neoliberalism needed while fighting virus

By Wu Bo Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/22 23:11:50

Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT

As the world has been drawn into the deadly coronavirus pandemic, debates on the pandemic's deeper impact on the process of globalization have arisen. The relationship between capital and governments can therefore not be ignored.

Capital is always driven by commercial opportunities, although it has quickly shown its inherent resilience since the initial panic, and has participated in various sectors from vaccine development to medical supply production, showing its positive influence. 

Medicine is a lifesaver for patients, but a potential revenue spot for capital. Pursuing the highest profit is the eternal mission of capital, as well as the essence of its logic.

In fact, capital ceased pouring into the development of vaccines or other protective products for potential coronavirus outbreaks after SARS as there was a thin profit margin for these products. And if any appealing profit appears, capital will flow in without any other boost. 

The US' newly born public-private partnership "Project Airbridge" is a typical example showing the relationship between capital and governments, as the project claimed to better equip the US' health care workers on the frontline and to better serve the American people was led by US President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, showing the inner workings of power and capital.

The desire for capital is forcing the planet into an impasse, as the accelerating spread of the virus shows the expansion width of capital and the application depth of capital logic.

The logics of power and capital have combined in an effort to transform a global challenge into conflicting issues between countries. Though the world should work together to fight the global crisis, countries and regions have revealed accelerated differences and conflicts. 

Against the backdrop of the pandemic, increasing conflicts are raising futilitarian expectations of globalization being interrupted, world order being altered, and humankind seeing a civilization crisis, which have all enhanced uncertainties for the future.

Capital has been a fundamental factor for class issues, international or global issues, and a source of uncertainties. The globalization under neoliberalism should be seriously reflected on, followed by strategic research on the reformation of globalization.

The pandemic will be over eventually, and countries and regions should shore up their global insight to take on global challenges on the basis of cooperation, which not only requires transcending the limitations of countries but also the limitations of capital.

The author is a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.


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