Although COVID-19 sparked the current economic crisis, it is not the root cause. In late March and early April, experts projected a recession similar to the 2008 “great recession” was coming. The economy is a house of cards built on loans, debt, and financial speculation, all for the benefit of the wealthy. The big corporations and banks have always planned on making us pay when their house of cards collapses. Now that time has come and that’s exactly what they’re doing.
Now, seven weeks into the COVID-19 crisis, 33 million people have lost their jobs, bringing the official unemployment rate to 14.7 percent. That ignores millions who don’t look for work, making the real number closer to 20 percent. And, of course, it’s worse for African-Americans and Latinx people, whose unemployment numbers have tripled! These numbers tell a story of horrific economic pain. And it will only get worse, at least for the foreseeable future. People will lose life savings, lose homes, poverty will increase, and debt will increase. In other parts of the world, we see an increased threat of mass starvation and other catastrophes.
Let’s recognize that depressions and recessions are inherent characteristics of capitalism. They are regular crises of an unstable, profit-driven, inhuman economic system. We need to organize ourselves to put this system out of business!
Featured image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Unemployed people wait in line outside a soup kitchen in Chicago in 1931.