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OUT OF MIND » OUT OF MIND » COVID-19 » COVID19 UPDATES - Dr. Fauci and COVID-19 Priorities: Therapeutics Now or Vaccines Later? plus MORE

COVID19 UPDATES - Dr. Fauci and COVID-19 Priorities: Therapeutics Now or Vaccines Later? plus MORE

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PurpleSkyz

PurpleSkyz
Admin
March 27, 2020
Dr. Fauci and COVID-19 Priorities: Therapeutics Now or Vaccines Later?


COVID19 UPDATES - Dr. Fauci and COVID-19 Priorities: Therapeutics Now or Vaccines Later? plus MORE 03-26-20-fauci-advisory-council_Featured_Image-1


By Lyn Redwood, RN, MSN, President; Mary Holland, CHD General Counsel & Vice Chair; and the CHD Team
 
The rapidity with which normal life has ground to a halt as a result of coronavirus-related edicts has stunned citizens around the world, generating massive social and economic upheaval . Meanwhile, media coverage of COVID-19 has whipped up unprecedented levels of public anxiety and fear, laying the psychological groundwork for people to eagerly embrace “magic bullet” medical solutions, no matter how experimental. In the U.S., the World Health Organization (WHO) is now compounding the domestic panic, warning that America could become the new coronavirus “epicenter .”
Across the country, a debate is raging about the nation’s medical response and how best to apportion available resources. Many argue, quite reasonably, for the importance of identifying safe, effective and affordable therapies that can provide immediate help to those who are sick. On March 22, The New York Times reported that there are at least 69 existing drugs or compounds that might be effective in treating the coronavirus. In China, researchers are studying intravenous vitamin C as a potential nontoxic treatment, while a paper published by French researchers on March 20 described promising COVID-19 results from the off-label use of hydroxychloroquine (an antimalarial) and azithromycin (an antibiotic).
… investments tend to go toward treatments that are sexy and new and patentable rather than to tried-and-true, classical sort of methods repurposing drugs and strategies that have already been shown to work.
The head of the French team, Didier Raoult, MD, PhD, is one of the world’s top infectious disease and virology experts, with roughly 2,000 peer-reviewed publications and multiple awards to his name. Raoult and coauthors point out that a major advantage of “repositioning” older drugs for this coronavirus is that their safety profile, side effects, dosing and drug interactions are already well documented. However, Ian Lipkin, MD, of Columbia University recently told MSNBC, with a grin, that investments tend to go toward treatments that are “sexy and new and patentable ” rather than to “tried-and-true, classical sort of methods repurposing drugs and strategies that have already been shown to work.”
Fauci is a stalwart enthusiast of patentable vaccines, skilled in attracting massive government funding for vaccines that either never materialize or are spectacularly ineffective or unsafe.

Fauci’s tired rhetoric

For biopharma companies that are poised to profit from COVID-19-related misfortune, older drugs that have outlived their patent terms are not terribly helpful for the bottom line. Could this be why leading White House coronavirus advisor Anthony Fauci, MD, long-time head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), recently pooh-poohed the published chloroquine evidence as merely “anecdotal ”? Fauci is a stalwart enthusiast of “patentable” vaccines, skilled in attracting massive government funding for vaccines that either never materialize or are spectacularly ineffective or unsafe.
For example, Fauci once shilled for the fast-tracked H1N1 influenza (“swine flu”) vaccine on YouTube, reassuring viewers in 2009 that serious adverse events were “very, very, very rare .” Shortly thereafter, the vaccine went on to wreak havoc in multiple countries, increasing miscarriage risks in pregnant women in the U.S., provoking a spike in adolescent narcolepsy in Scandinavia and causing febrile convulsions in one in every 110 vaccinated children in Australia—prompting the latter to suspend its influenza vaccination program in under-fives.
Fauci is predictably shining a spotlight on risky and uncertain coronavirus vaccines that may not be available for two years, rather than prioritizing the short-term therapies that patients need right now.
In 2010, then-Senator and physician Tom Coburn, MD, called out Fauci for misleadingly touting “significant progress in HIV vaccine research.” Coburn stated  , “The study [Fauci] referred to was a clinical trial in Thailand finding a vaccine to be 31% effective at preventing HIV infection. Unfortunately, the results of this study have been found to be statistically insignificant and the findings of the study have received much skepticism. [. . .] Most scientists involved in AIDS research believe that an HIV vaccine is further away than ever . . . and may never be possible. . . .” Senator Coburn also noted that Fauci’s agency had spent over $5.2 million over a four-year period on lavish “HIV vaccine awareness” events.
Without the least hint of embarrassment, however, Fauci reappeared on YouTube in 2016 to once again push his HIV vaccine agenda, even citing the unimpressive Thailand trial. Fauci’s mobilization of billions for a never-completed Zika vaccine followed a similar playbook. And now, Fauci is predictably shining a spotlight on risky and uncertain coronavirus vaccines that may not be available for two years, rather than prioritizing the short-term therapies that patients need right now.
… researchers at Harvard and other medical sciences institutions have issued warnings about the vaccines’ propensity to produce higher rates of side effects, including local and systemic inflammation and worrisome autoimmune responses.

First off the block

According to the WHO, up to 35 COVID-19 vaccines are in the offing, including experimental messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and formulations that attach coronavirus to genetically modified measles vaccines . As biopharma companies position themselves to reap blockbuster profits , the first off the block is a vaccine thrown together at record speed by Fauci’s NIAID in collaboration with Massachusetts-based biotech firm Moderna . NIAID and Moderna began developing the vaccine before a single COVID-19 case had appeared in the U.S., completing the first batch of vaccine “within 42 days of the company obtaining genetic information on the coronavirus.”
…researchers recommend taking precautions during preclinical studies and clinical trials. Fauci, on the other hand, praises the “new era of vaccinology”
The vaccine, which bears the ho-hum name of mRNA-1273, uses an unproven mRNA technology platform. mRNA vaccines appeal to industry because of the potential for “rapid, inexpensive and scalable manufacturing,” but researchers at Harvard and other medical sciences institutions have issued warnings about the vaccines’ propensity to produce higher rates of side effects, including local and systemic inflammation and worrisome autoimmune responses . Noting that the “non-native modified nucleotides” used in mRNA vaccines and components of mRNA vaccines’ delivery systems have potentially toxic effects , these researchers recommend taking precautions during preclinical studies and clinical trials. Fauci, on the other hand, praises the “new era of vaccinology ”—of which the mRNA-1273 effort is a part—celebrating its use of “atomic level structural information for vaccine design, gene-based vaccine platforms, modern protein engineering and potent adjuvants.”
On March 16, NIAID launched a Phase 1 trial of mRNA-1273 in 45 healthy adults after making the decision—deemed “morally questionable ” by some—to sidestep the standard process for vaccine development. That process ordinarily requires “that a manufacturer show a product is safe [in animal models] before it goes into people .” Leading virologist Shibo Jiang, MD, PhD, recently condemned this “quick-fix” approach, arguing that “safety always comes first” and that it is important not to “cut corners” by skipping animal studies. Moderna’s chief medical officer disagrees, saying, “I don’t think proving this in an animal model is on the critical path to getting this to a clinical trial.” For his part, Fauci has expressed willingness to expedite the vaccine’s approval process as soon as NIAID deems the Phase 1 trial successful.
When Hotez observed this immune pathology in his coronavirus laboratory animals, he thought, ‘Oh my God, this is going to be problematic.’

Vaccine-hesitant experts

Ordinarily, vaccine scientists line up in lockstep to pledge their allegiance to the Faucian worldview that vaccination is the “mainstay ” of prevention and offers the primary solution for challenges such as the coronavirus situation. In an interesting turn of events, however, some of the pharma-funded media’s favorite vaccine spokesmen—slick, high-level medical professionals that manufacturers ordinarily can count on to endorse any vaccine—are urging caution.
Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, is no stranger to coronaviruses, having developed a vaccine for an earlier coronavirus in 2016 that stopped just short of commercial development. Despite having “tried like heck ” to obtain funding to move his vaccine into clinical trials, Hotez just told a U.S. Congressional Committee (on March 5 ) that coronavirus vaccines are scientifically challenging and have a “unique potential safety problem,” namely a “kind of paradoxical immune enhancement phenomenon.” When Hotez observed this immune pathology in his coronavirus laboratory animals, he thought, “Oh my God, this is going to be problematic.”
Offit expressed worry about the push to ‘rush [a vaccine] through,’ particularly in the absence of ‘any history of making a coronavirus vaccine.’
Paul Offit, MD, of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, another media darling who has profited handsomely from his insider status, stated in a March 10 YouTube interview that influenza deaths are “far worse” than COVID-19 deaths, “yet we don’t quarantine for influenza, we don’t shut down schools for influenza, we don’t cancel meetings for influenza, we don’t cancel schools and churches and synagogues.” Also Offit expressed worry about the push to “rush [a vaccine] through,” particularly in the absence of “any history of making a coronavirus vaccine.” Offit concluded:
And certainly the FDA has got to regulate this product because right now everybody in the United States will probably take it in a second, even if it wasn’t tested.
The PREP Act protects the manufacturers of medical ‘countermeasures’—including vaccines, medications, medical devices and other products—from the risk of damages in the event of a declared public health emergency such as the currently declared coronavirus pandemic.

A profitable crisis

In early March, Congress passed an emergency coronavirus spending bill, much of which will “directly benefit the drug industry.” Legislators who tried—and failed—to include meaningful affordability provisions in the spending bill worry that “A danger remains that the federal government will simply write a blank check signed to big pharma as a result of this crisis.”
Clues that pharma is embracing the opportunities furnished by the COVID-19 crisis come from the financial markets. Market reports indicate that the health care industry has been able to “withstand” the wider stock market plunge due to big gains by pharmaceutical, biotech and medical diagnostic companies involved in developing coronavirus-related products. After Moderna announced, in late February, that it had shipped off its mRNA-1273 to NIAID for the Phase 1 trial, the company instantly became “one of the hottest biotech stocks on the market.” (Moderna’s NASDAQ ticker symbol is, handily enough, MRNA.) Investment advisors have pointed out that the likely promotion of mRNA-1273 as prevention is a “big deal ” that stands to make Moderna a fortune, because “millions” of uninfected people will want to “pre-emptively protect themselves.”
Coronavirus drug and vaccine manufacturers are also sitting pretty because of liability immunity conferred under the 2005 PREP Act (Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act) and a follow-up Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Declaration specific to COVID-19 published in the Federal Register on February 4, 2020 . The PREP Act protects the manufacturers of medical “countermeasures”—including vaccines, medications, medical devices and other products—from the risk of damages in the event of a declared public health emergency such as the currently declared coronavirus pandemic.
…it [PREP Act] could ‘be used to allow manufacturers of virtually any drug or vaccine to escape responsibility for gross negligence or even criminal acts.’
The tort immunity described under the COVID-19 Declaration pertains to “any claim of loss caused by, arising out of, relating to, or resulting from the manufacture, distribution, administration, or use of medical countermeasures . . . except for claims involving ‘willful misconduct’ as defined in the PREP Act.” The authors of a legal blog point out that while the new HHS declaration “is couched in a lot of administrative word salad,” the “prime takeaway is that the scope of tort immunity being conferred . . . is quite broad.”
In fact, the PREP Act became law over significant consumer and congressional opposition . Senator Ted Kennedy and 20 colleagues in Congress wrote a letter to the Speaker of the House and Majority Leader to repeal the Act, characterizing it as “a travesty of the legislative process” and stating that it could “be used to allow manufacturers of virtually any drug or vaccine to escape responsibility for gross negligence or even criminal acts.” The dissenting lawmakers also accused the Act’s sponsors of creating “an empty shell of a compensation program for injured patients with none of the funding needed to make compensation a reality.”
The government must not allow Big Pharma and biotech companies to cash in on this catastrophe with speculative, patentable vaccines at the expense of the therapeutics needed to save lives now.

Safety first

A look at the response to past influenza and coronavirus epidemics provides little reassurance that safety considerations will come first. In addition to the already mentioned adverse events associated with the 2009 swine flu vaccine, we have witnessed treatments that “may have been harmful ” and whistleblower lawsuits against false claims of efficacy.
For the moment, our government is prioritizing vaccine development (with the enticing promise of lucrative patents) over existing therapeutics (such as vitamin C and already-FDA-approved drugs) that do not offer comparable financial windfalls. In light of the immunity from liability guaranteed by the PREP Act during declared emergencies, fast-tracked vaccines are a sweetheart deal for both biopharma and government. A safer and common-sense approach would direct resources toward examining the merits of existing therapeutics that can be put to immediate use. The government must not allow Big Pharma and biotech companies to cash in on this catastrophe with speculative, patentable vaccines at the expense of the therapeutics needed to save lives now.
 


https://youtu.be/xCnOqwvPivE

https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/dr-fauci-and-covid-19-priorities-therapeutics-now-or-vaccines-later/?utm_source=mailchimp

Thanks to: https://childrenshealthdefense.org



  

PurpleSkyz

PurpleSkyz
Admin
Coronavirus Is Not Even Close to America’s Biggest Problem
Date: March 28, 2020 Author: Nwo Report
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COVID19 UPDATES - Dr. Fauci and COVID-19 Priorities: Therapeutics Now or Vaccines Later? plus MORE ?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.americanthinker.com%2Fimages%2Fbucket%2F2020-03%2F219915
 
Source: Bryce Buchanan
The COVID-19 pandemic can be used to illustrate two problems that are both more destructive than the virus.  The problems relate to how Americans view the role of government in their lives and to the belief that government money can always fix problems.
Let’s look at the money issue first.  The immediate reaction of our government to the virus threat was to spend massive amounts of money.  The latest news  is that politicians plan to “boost” the economy with nearly two trillion dollars in spending and loans.  “The package is coming in at about 10% of GDP.  It’s very large,” says Larry Kudlow.  For a plan of this size to sound like a good idea, you need to ignore some important economic facts.
Our country has unbelievable levels of debt, and our debt is rising rapidly.  The numbers are staggering.  The debt clock  shows U.S. debt at $23 trillion (nearly 110% of the GDP) and unfunded liabilities of $77 trillion.  That’s a conservative estimate.  Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff, an expert on the national debt, says , “The true size of our fiscal problem is $222 trillion…20 times bigger than the official debt.”  He says, “The government has gone out of its way to run up a Ponzi scheme and keep evidence of that off the books by using language to make it appear that we have a small debt.”
We are on the Titanic, headed for the debt iceberg.  In brief moments of clear vision, we see the iceberg and know we must change course to avoid disaster.  But a self-imposed fog allows us to pretend things are fine.  Do not look away.  Look directly at this problem.  It’s real.  Things that are unsustainable cannot be sustained.  Reality always bats last.
There is also an important moral dimension to new spending programs.  The government has spent all of its income and much more, so we should think of new spending programs as simply more debt being piled onto our children and grandchildren.  The required first sentence of any new spending bill should be, “Our current consumption is more important to us than any burden we will place on future generations, therefore let’s place this much more debt on them.”
It is immoral to ignore the burden of the deficit on future generations.  We are digging a hole for them that they will never get out of.  Government debt is a government claim on future incomes.  It is an unpaid tax bill.
You can make the case that big deficit spending is warranted to protect current and future citizens in a time of war.  Some level of spending is warranted in the fight against this virus.  But look at the big picture of government expansion over the last several decades as the administrative state grew and the deficit exploded.  Does it make you a caring person if you propose “free health care” for everyone, including illegal aliens?  No, it makes you a dangerous fool.
In the socialist dream world, there will never be a day of reckoning for government debt.   Stephanie Kelton, an economic adviser to Bernie Sanders, said , “If you control your own currency and you have bills that are coming due, it means you can always afford to pay the bills on time.  You can never go broke; you can never be forced into bankruptcy.”
Governments that have tried this approach have ended up with money that looks like this 50-trillion-dollar bill from Zimbabwe.  It’s real paper money.  But this $50 trillion wouldn’t buy much.  In Venezuela, the inflation rate  is around 53 million percent.  That means everything costs more every day.  And with socialist destruction of the economy, there are far fewer things to buy.  This kind of money does help with the toilet paper shortage, though.
COVID19 UPDATES - Dr. Fauci and COVID-19 Priorities: Therapeutics Now or Vaccines Later? plus MORE 219905_5_
Governments can create money, but creating money does not create wealth.  Wealth comes from productivity.  Putting ink on small pieces of paper does not make wealth.  You can visualize this fact quite easily.  Imagine that our government officials keep businesses closed “to protect us from the virus,” but they send everyone large checks every month.  Our benevolent leaders made sure we had lots of money, so we are all taken care of, right?
Without productive people, the true engine of wealth, Atlas would shrug, and the world would fall into its natural state, which is poverty.  Anything that destroys productivity also destroys prosperity.  That is why socialism has never worked and never will.  The socialist utopian delusion is that people like Bernie and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can manage taxing and spending in such a way that everything people really need will be free.  Alarming numbers of young people have this delusion.
Unless you are new to this planet, or are blind to reality, you understand that government bureaucracies are an inefficient and expensive way to provide anything.
Politicians themselves don’t have the ability to “provide” material things.  They can only transfer money or borrow money.  Said another way, they can take the productive accomplishments of one group and give them to another group, or they can borrow from our children to pay for current consumption.  That’s it.  They buy votes in one of these two ways.
Let’s now discuss how Americans view the role of government in their lives and see how it relates to the current crisis.  When our nation was young, citizens accepted both the pleasures and the perils of liberty.  They enjoyed the right to direct their own lives and accepted the resulting responsibilities.  The government was small and far away.  The explicit goal of the Founders was to keep it small because the sphere of liberty shrinks as the size of government grows.  Self-reliance was considered an important virtue.  Children may expect others to take care of them, but adults do not.
People in need were helped by their neighbors.  Charity has always been a big part of the American spirit.  The goal of charity was to restore people to self-reliance.  The lesson in Aesop’s fable “The Grasshopper and the Ants ” was an integral part of American values.  The story shows the wisdom of preparing to take care of yourself in hard times.
In 200 years, Americans have moved a long, long way from self-reliance toward government dependence.  President Franklin Roosevelt did more to move the citizens in the direction of government dependency than any other president.  Yet look at what he said in 1935, when everyone could see that Roosevelt’s big spending programs were not ending the Great Depression.  In his State of the Union speech , he said:
The burden on the Federal Government has grown with great rapidity[.] … The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon [government] relief induces a spiritual disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber.  To dole our relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.  It is inimical to the dictates of a sound policy.  It is in violation of the traditions of America[.] … The Federal Government must and shall quit this business of relief.
Has the “national fiber” been “fundamentally destroyed”?  Has self-reliance been replaced by acceptance of dependence?  Ask Americans these questions: whose responsibility is it to take care of people when they are old?  Whose responsibility is it to take care of children if the father doesn’t care about doing it?  Who should be responsible for educating children?  Who should pay the bills when someone loses his job?  I think a very small number of people would say family members or charities should take responsibility.  These duties have been taken over by massive, inefficient government bureaucracies.
Early Americans expected the government to leave them alone.  Many present-day Americans expect the government to take care of them.
The assumption that the government will take care of your needs is “a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.”  If you have the childlike attitude that someone (government) should take care of you, it changes how you prepare for future problems.  This attitude is why 25% of Americans do not even have a savings account, and 40% say  they would have trouble paying an unexpected expense of $400.
Americans are not prepared for trouble, and trouble is here.  Americans are Aesop’s grasshopper in winter.  This will greatly magnify the economic crisis caused by the current shutdown of productive activity.  If economic activity is smothered for too long, many businesses will not survive.  “Helicopter money” dropped by the government will not fix this problem.
President Trump understands that America’s productive engine needs to be switched on as soon as possible.  That will help, but the debt explosion and the increasing dependence on government are much more dangerous to our Republic than the Wuhan virus.

https://nworeport.me/2020/03/28/coronavirus-is-not-even-close-to-americas-biggest-problem/

Thanks to: https://nworeport.me



  

PurpleSkyz

PurpleSkyz
Admin
DAS KAPITAL: How A Coronavirus Broke The System – By Marc Saxer

The Smoking Man  

Source – consortiumnews.com
“…The age of neoliberalism, in terms of the primacy of market interests over all other social interests, is coming to an end…After four decades of neoliberal scepticism about the state, a long forgotten fact is coming to the light: that nation states still have enormous creative power, if only they are willing to use it”
COVID-19: How A Coronavirus Broke The System – By Marc Saxer 
COVID19 UPDATES - Dr. Fauci and COVID-19 Priorities: Therapeutics Now or Vaccines Later? plus MORE 20200123coronavirus-v4
The corona-crisis sends shockwaves through political, economic and social systems. The status quo simply cannot continue…
No one knows how long the pandemic will last, how many people will fall ill, how many lives the coronavirus will claim. But the economic and political consequences of the outbreak are already emerging. Measures to contain the pandemic are disrupting public life around the world.
Starting with China, production has come to a standstill in one country after another. Global supply chains are broken. You don’t need a lot of imagination to see a wave of bankruptcies approaching in many industries where every last cent counts.
In the past few days, panic buying has dominated media coverage. However, anxious consumers tend to postpone larger purchases.
When shortages appear, consumption also drops. These upheavals are likely to cause the already sluggish European economies to slide into recession.
The sudden slump in Chinese demand has shaken the commodity markets. After the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could not agree with Russia to cut production in order to stabilise prices, Saudi Arabia changed its strategy and flooded the markets with cheap oil. As a result, the oil price plummeted to historic lows. In the short term, this might provide a measure of relief to industry and consumers. However, oil price wars, fears of recession and calamities on the bond markets are causing the stock markets to crash. Only a far-reaching intervention by all major central banks has so far staved off a financial crunch.
The Economic Response
Some countries, Germany in particular, have quickly launched extensive packages of measures to cushion the impending economic crisis. After some initial wavering, the United States is also planning a comprehensive economic stimulus, including the unprecedented dispersal of helicopter money. Whether these and other potential immediate measures are sufficient to stop the economic downturn depends on how deeply the crisis eats through the system. After past epidemics, a brief, sharp slump, the economy was usually followed by a quick return to growth. Whether this will also be the case with the corona crisis depends on many factors, not least how long the pandemic lasts.
However, of greater concern are the shock waves that are now running through the ailing financial systems, where they are accelerating worrying longer-term trends. Many American industries and households are over-indebted. In China, shadow banks, real-estate enterprises and state-owned companies, along with the provinces, are all straining under the debt burden. The European banks have not yet recovered from the previous financial crisis. The economic collapse in Italy could cause the euro crisis to flare up all over again. The way in which investors are fleeing for the safety of government bonds indicates the deep fear that these houses of cards will collapse. The corona crisis could set in motion a chain reaction that would end in a global financial crisis.
COVID19 UPDATES - Dr. Fauci and COVID-19 Priorities: Therapeutics Now or Vaccines Later? plus MORE Original-2-1536x1024-1
A Republic of Korea Army Soldier assists a U.S. Army soldier in donning personal protective equipment before sanitizing a COVID-19 infected area during a joint disinfecting operation in Daegu, South Korea, March 13, 2020. (U.S. Army, Hayden Hallman)
Unlike the 2008 crisis, however, this time the central banks are not in a position to save the day. To date, interest rates have been at historic lows in all major economies. The US Federal Reserve has therefore started to provide liquidity directly to the markets through repo transactions. The new head of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, initially stumbled on the European crisis response, thereby provoking speculation against the cohesion of the the euro group. By means of a coordinated intervention, however, all major central banks have now shown their determination to take a stand against the panic in the markets. The crucial question, however, is whether the Corona crisis can be overcome with monetary policy instruments at all. That very much depends on the nature of the crisis.
Democracies Now Have to Deliver
This is because the crisis is by no means limited to the economic sphere. The ability of states to protect the life and limb of their own citizens, is also being put to the test – and the stakes are nothing less than the fundamental legitimacy of the Leviathan.
In the authoritarian regimes of Eurasia, the main issue is the legitimacy of the strongmen, whose claim to power is based on the central promise “I protect you.”. Chinese President Xi Jinping has understood this and, accordingly, is taking drastic measures against the spread of the virus regardless of the costs. However, his counterparts in Thailand, the Philippines and Brazil have treated control of the disease lightly and are now being lashed out at by their own supporters. The question of whether, in the eyes of his voters, President Donald Trump lives up to his central promise to protect America from external threats is likely to have a decisive impact on the outcome of the American elections.
An international pandemic cries out for a coordinated global response. So far, however, each nation has pursued a solo effort.
While the corona crisis may be disenchanting populists in government, it could be just what their counterparts in opposition have been waiting for. In the eyes of many citizens, the democratic states already lost control in the crises of 2008 and 2015. Decades of austerity policies and of health care systems cut back to the absolute minimum have hollowed out state structures; many people worry whether their nations will still be able to cope with major crises. In many countries, the public mood is turning against the free movement of money, goods and people.
Many Italians have long feared to be among the losers of globalisation and the euro. Now come the emergency measures, the economic shock and yet another refugee crisis. The Lombard right-wing populist Matteo Salvini is not the only one who knows how to use the ingredients of “open borders, dangerous foreigners, corrupt elites, and defenseless states” to mix a toxic brew. Make no mistake, the liberal democracies of Western Europe are under scrutiny. In the midst of a right-wing populist revolt, democrats must now prove that they can and will protect the lives of all citizens.
But how far can individual liberties be restricted? How long should the state of emergency last? Would Western societies tolerate drastic measures like those in China? Should they, like the East Asians, give priority to the collective over the individual? How can the rate at which the disease is spreading be slowed down if citizens do not adhere to the recommendations on “social distancing?”
And what does solidarity with others mean when the only thing we can do is to isolate ourselves?
Each Nation on Its Own
An international pandemic cries out for a coordinated global response. So far, however, each nation has pursued a solo effort. Even within Europe there is a lack of solidarity. As in the euro crisis and the refugee crisis, Italy in particular feels that its partners have let it down. China cleverly took advantage of the lack of European solidarity and sent a plane to Italy, its Belt and Road partner country, loaded with medical supplies. In the meantime, Berlin has recognized the geopolitical dimension of the dual crises – coronavirus and refugees – and is concerned about the attempts by external powers to divide Europe. The export ban on medical protective equipment was eased again and Italy was assured of emergency aid in the form of one million face masks. More importantly, the European Stability Pact was suspended to give Italy enough fscal breathing room to save its economy.
The crisis is another stress test for the already heavily burdened transatlantic partnership. Trump’s decision to isolate the United States from its European allies without consulting them has sent a clear signal. The American attempt to take over CureVac, a company based in Tübingen, to secure the vaccine exclusively for the United States, even escalated into a heated dispute with Berlin. Any joint, coordinated crisis response is hardly conceivable under these conditions. In the West, the byword so far has been ‘Every man for himself.’
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Curevac in Tübingen. (Dktue, CC0, Wikimedia Commons)
At the global level, the new conflicts between major powers are fuelling the crisis even more. The oil price war in particular is driven by geo-economic motives. The conflict between Saudi Arabia and Russia raises questions about the survival of the OPEC cartel.
The big loser in the historic drop in prices could ultimately be the heavily indebted American shale oil industry. So if cheaper prices at the petrol pumps are really a blessing, as the US President promised, depends on who can endure this war of attrition the longest. In any case, Russia and Saudi Arabia have a key interest in knocking out their debt-financed American competitor.
Whatever the outcome of the oil price war, the balance of power in the oil markets will be readjusted. The debate about “peak oil,” which has been raging for decades, should also experience an interesting turn. In the end, it might not be a dwindling supply of fossil fuels that will seal the decline of the oil industry. With permanently low prices, it might simply be no longer economically viable to exploit the remanining reserves. Could a geo-economic conflict unintentionally herald the end of the fossil age?
The crisis is also fueling the U.S.-China hegemony conflict. For some time now, there is a bipartisan consensus in Washington to decouple the American from the Chinese economy so as not to strengthen the competitor for global supremacy by supplying Beijing with its money and technology. Globally positioned companies now need to re-assemble their supply chains overnight. Will all of these corporations return to China when the immediate crisis is over? Corporate executives would then have to think twice whether to willingly ignore the geopolitical marching orders from Washington.
And how will Europe’s companies reposition themselves after the crisis, after the costs of being overly dependent on Chinese supply chains have become all too clear? In the debate over whether the Chinese company Huawei should be excluded from the expansion of the European 5G infrastructure, Europeans already had a taste of how great American pressure can be. The corona crisis could then accelerate a development that has been going on for some time: deglobalisation. As a result, the global division of labor could disintegrate into competing economic blocs.
Overnight, the Age of Neoliberalism Coming to an End
Suddenly everything is happening very quickly. Within hours, such large sums are being pumped into the markets that make the “radical” promises of Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders seem like pocket money in comparison. German politicians, who yesterday had gotten heated up by the intellectual musings of young socialist Kevin Kühnert, are now seriously considering the nationalization of corporations. What was dismissed in the climate debate as the naive dreams of children is now a sad reality: global air traffic is coming to a standstill. Borders that were considered unclosable in the refugee crisis are now indeed closed. And along the way, conservative governor of Bavaria, Markus Söder has abandoned the German fetish of balanced budgets, announcing, “We will not be guided by accounting issues, but by what Germany needs.”
The age of neoliberalism, in terms of the primacy of market interests over all other social interests, is coming to an end. Of course, all of these measures are due to the state of emergency. However, citizens will remember them when they soon again are told ‘There is no alternative.’ With the crisis, long-dormant sphere of politics has been set into motion. After four decades of neoliberal scepticism about the state, a long forgotten fact is coming to the light: that nation states still have enormous creative power, if only they are willing to use it.
The corona crisis amounts to an enormous field test. Millions of people are experimenting with new ways to organise their everyday lives.
Like a spotlight, the corona crisis is illuminating the geopolitical, economic, ideological and cultural fault lines of our time. Might this crack in the edifice even signal an epochal break? Does the age of turbo-globalisation end with the decoupling of the major economic blocs? Are the oil price wars heralding the end of fossil industrial economies? Is the global financial system changing into a new regime? Is the system guarantor’s baton going from the United States to China, or are we experiencing the breakthrough of the multipolar world?
What is certain is that the Coronavirus could lead to a breakthrough of a number of trends that have long been hidden. All of these developments are mutually influencing each other at breathtaking speed. This complexity suggests that this crisis will go deeper than the 2008 recession. The pandemic could be the burning fuse on the powder keg of a global system crisis.
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Markus Söder in 2012. (Michael Lucan, Lizenz: CC-BY-SA 3.0 de, Wikimedia Commons)
Window to Future Wide Open
The corona crisis amounts to an enormous field test. Millions of people are experimenting with new ways to organise their everyday lives. Business travellers are switching from flights to video conferences. University teachers are holding webinars. Employees are working from home. Some will return to their old patterns after the crisis. But many now know from personal experience that the new way of operating not only works, but is also more environmentally and family-friendly. We have to use this moment of disruption, the immediate experience of deceleration, to generate long-term behavioural changes in the fight against climate change.
British journalist Jeremy Warner cynically sums up the neoliberal view of the crisis: “From an entirely disinterested economic perspective, the COVID-19 might even prove mildly beneficial in the long term by disproportionately culling elderly dependents [sic!].”
In stark contrast to the lack of solidarity shown by its governments, people are experiencing a wave of solidarity in their neighbourhoods, at work, and within their circles of friends. When was the last time the capitalist machine was halted in order to protect the old and the sick? We can build on this experience of solidarity to make society as a whole more cohesive again. If we manage to overcome the crisis together, we are creating a symbol at the dawn of a new era: a community that stays together can meet any challenge.
However, reacting to the crisis also poses dangers. Borders are being closed around the globe, visas are cancelled, and entry bans are imposed on foreigners. The record number of orders for industrial robots indicates that the production chains will be made more resilient to breakdowns through a decisive step towards greater automation. Both trends threaten to accelerate the spiral of job losses, fear of social exclusion, resentment of immigrants, and political revolts against the liberal establishment.
Liberal economist Philippe Legrain rightly warns: ‘The Coronavirus crisis is a political gift for nativist nationalists and protectionists. It has heightened perceptions that foreigners are a threat. It underscores that countries in crisis can’t always count on their neighbours and close allies for help.” We must not leave the right to interpret the crisis to right-wing populists. The answer to global challenges must not be isolation and national selfishness, but rather solidarity and international cooperation. As opposed to 2008, progressives cannot afford again to lose the battle over interpreting what is happening, and what needs to be done. Over the next weeks, the groundwork of the new world order will be laid. We must make sure we will shape the debates over how it will look like.
A Stronger Democratic State Can Emerge
Many, especially young people, are for the first time experiencing a national emergency. Within days, their freedoms are restricted to an unimaginable extent. Not only in China, but in the middle of Europe, technologies are being used on a large scale to monitor and regulate the behaviour of citizens. As the “fight against terrorism” taught us, many of the emergency regulations now enacted will remain in force after the crisis has ended. One does not need to sense a hidden agenda behind the normalization of the state of emergency, the way Giorgio Agamben and Naomi Klein do, which is to make individuals docile for disaster capitalism. However, we must prevent our fundamental rights from being permanently eroded.
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Naomi Klein, a key critic of “disaster capitalism,” on Oct. 6, 2011, Day 21 of Occupy Wall Street, when she led an open forum. (David Shankbone, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)
Slavoj Žižek hits the nail on the head when he warns that people rightly consider state power to be responsible: ‘you have the power, now show what you can do! The challenge for Europe is to show that what China has done can be done in a more transparent and democratic way.’ The East Asian democracies of South Korea, Taiwan and Japan have so far impressively demonstrated how to do this without unduly restricting citizens’ freedoms. Their approach seems more compatible with Western democracies than the draconian Chinese way. Still, successful management of the crisis would also strengthen confidence in the democratic state. In a crisis, people tend to rally around competent, hard-working and protective governments.
The global crisis has raised awareness of how vulnerable hyperglobalisation has made us. In a globally networked world, pandemics can and do spread across borders at high speed.
After years of austerity programmes have cut health care systems back to a bare minimum, now every effort must be made to enable the system to cope with the many sick people. The closure of municipal clinics, the chronic undersupply of nursing staff and the pitiful state of technical equipment are now taking their toll. Seldom has the demand to reverse the privatisation of health care received greater public support. In the crisis, Spain has quickly nationalized all of its private clinics and health services. In France, the President openly questions the wisdom of neoliberal privatisation and vows to shift course. In Germany, too, the debate has begun as to whether it was really prudent to subject our social life to the dictates of the market. In future, it must no longer be the individual’s interest in profit, but the common good of all that will be the central focus of public services.
The reconstruction of public services requires investments in the order of billions. Chancellor Angela Merkel has affirmed that the constitutional debt brake does not apply in exceptional situations like these: “What the budget balance will look like in the end of the year is not the issue for us.” In the current situation, the German government is opening a historically unprecedented rescue umbrella for the economy, covering everyone from small self-employed and freelancers to large corporations. “We will do everything possible,” assured Federal Finance Minister Scholz. The framework for providing guarantees, in a total amount of half a trillion euros, is only the beginning, states Federal Minister of Economics Altmaier.
Thus, in the crisis we are all Keynesians again. Unlike after the 2008 recession, we must not return to austerity after the crisis. After decades of austerity policies, many services are exhausted: health and education, local government, transport infrastructure, the German armed forces, and the police. In order to counter widespread fears of losing control, to prepare the economy and society for the digital revolution and, last but not least, to combat climate change, investments of historic proportions are necessary.
Social Democracy Can Save Us from the Crisis
The global crisis has raised awareness of how vulnerable hyperglobalization has made us. In a globally networked world, pandemics can and do spread across borders at high speed. Global supply chains are all too easily cut. The financial markets are vulnerable. Right-wing populists want to close the borders and isolate themselves from the world – but that is the wrong answer to the global challenges of epidemics, wars, migration, trade and climate change. Rather, our goal should be to address the root causes of these crises. To do this, the global economy must be placed on a more resilient foundation.
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Image from U.S. history textbook used in Catholic primary schools in 1915. Text appearing with image: “They wanted to have their own assemblies levy the tax.” (Internet Archive Book Images, Flickr)
In the wake of the Corona crisis, global supply chains are already reorganizing. Shorter supply chains, for example, with American production facilities in Mexico and European facilities in Eastern Europe, create more stability. Technologically, Europe must become sovereign again. To do this, we need to cooperate much more closely in research and development. The global financial system, which is held together by not more more than duct tape, urgently needs re-ordering. For over a decade, central banks have not been able to counter deflationary trends through monetary policies. In the crisis, governments with expansionary fiscal policies are jumping aside. Politically, this means a return to the the founding logic of parliamentarianism, the principle of “No taxation without representation.” In other words, the financial systems must be put back under democratic control.
Conflicts arise from excessive interdependence. These conflicts must be cushioned by international norms and multilateral cooperation. The World Health Organization’s competent crisis management demonstrates the effectiveness of multilateral cooperation in combating the pandemic. Unlike the 2008 financial crisis, however, this time there is no coordinated response from the twenty largest economies. The geopolitical rivalry of the great powers on the one hand and the right-wing populist call for isolation on the other hand stand in the way of greater international cooperation. The existing elements of multilateral governance need to be strengthened with concrete contributions. This can begin by providing more solid funding to the World Health Organization and continuing with a G20 meeting to coordinate economic crisis management. Here the Alliance of Multilateralists can prove its value added.
The crisis has made it drastically clear to the populace that the status quo cannot continue. The desire for a fundamental reorganisation of our economic activity and collective life has never been greater. At the same time, existential dangers must be fended off without disproportionately restricting democracy and freedoms. Which political power can negotiate the necessary social compromises to pull this off? The American political scientist Sheri Berman has posed an anxious question: “Can social democrats save the world (again)?” Let’s get it done.
https://rielpolitik.com/2020/03/27/das-kapital-covid-19-how-a-coronavirus-broke-the-system-by-marc-saxer/

Thanks to: https://rielpolitik.com



  

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