“COVID-19 has been likened to an x-ray, revealing fractures in the fragile skeleton of the societies we have built.
It is exposing fallacies and falsehoods everywhere: The lie that free markets can deliver healthcare for all;
The fiction that unpaid care work is not work; The delusion that we live in a post-racist world;
The myth that we are all in the same boat.
Because while we are all floating on the same sea, it’s clear that some are in superyachts while others are clinging to drifting debris.”
Read the amazing full text here
Donor governments do not have to fund poor country debt relief from their fiscal budgets. They can tap long-unused reserve assets available at the IMF called Special Drawing Rights (SDRs).
Read the article by Barry Herman from the Globalist
The COVID-19 pandemic has put the spotlight on structural and longstanding problems that are undermining the right to health, including fragmentation and inequalities within the health system. Delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and guaranteeing gender-sensitive health public services require a people-centred and feminist approach to development finance that takes account of hard lessons learned during the coronavirus crisis and beyond.
In the 1980s and 1990s, national health systems in developing countries were transformed by structural adjustments programmes provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. This resulted in the contraction and decentralisation of public healthcare services, as well as the opening of the health sector to private providers, the introduction of healthcare user fees and an increased precariousness of health professionals’ labour conditions. These policies aggravated the commodification and privatisation of healthcare, resulting in increased inequalities.
Read the article
by María José Romero from Eurodad
Building a New Welfare State
All of a sudden, the coronacrisis made it crystal clear: all people, all countries need a good system of health care! What has been obvious for some all the time, now becomes the new truth for all those who thought social protection was something of the past, or something only rich countries could afford thanks to their profits from colonisation …
The real truth is that all people, everywhere and in all times have exactly the same basic needs: health care, water, clean air, shelter, food and clothing, education… In what way this will be provided will differ from people to people and from country to country. But in all cases the systems that are put into place should be able to answer the real needs and demands of the people concerned. It also means that for psychological or spiritual needs, the local chaman, marabou, herbalist or other witch doctor can certainly help, but professional health care is needed to cure people from viruses and other illnesses.
It is therefore important to know just what is on offer. What different possibilities exist? What ideology to follow? These are not easy choices because much will depend on the government in place, on the available resources and on the strength of the social movements fighting for social justice.
I would like to briefly distinguish three possible options: Lees verder
The Special Rapporteur’s Philippe Alston most recent and last report on extreme poverty and human rights deserves reading: ‘Rather than resolving to address the inadequacy of their public health and social protection systems in response to the pandemic, many governments have seen COVID-19 as a passing challenge to be endured, ignoring the indispensability of large-scale economic and social restructuring. Others have taken it as an opportunity to undermine or restrict human rights. And rather than acknowledging how badly efforts to “end poverty” have been faring, and how relentlessly the pandemic has exposed that fact, most actors are doubling down on existing approaches that are clearly failing.’
It criticizes the World Bank statistics, promotes universal social protection, demands to update the SDGs and to find solutions for the debt and tax problems…
Read the report
The response to the Covid-19 pandemic is the greatest act of global human solidarity the world has seen, as people give up civic rights and risked livelihoods to save lives. Yet, under the cover of measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, many countries are advancing their anti-workers’-rights agenda.
Read the article
The Covid-19 pandemic has once again exposed the
fragility of global supply chains and the enormous risks
to human and labour rights in a highly interconnected
global economy that is not governed by the rule of
With the global drop in demand as a result of the
pandemic, many companies have resorted to abruptly
ending the procurement of goods and services and
even to defaulting on prior commitments made – with
the consequence of a disastrous impact for workers
in global supply chains. In Bangladesh, more than half
of the garment suppliers reported that they had their
in-process or completed production cancelled, which
has led to massive job losses and workers getting
furloughed. More than 98.1% of buyers refused to
contribute to the cost of paying the partial wages to
furloughed workers required under national law. 72.4%
of furloughed workers were sent home without pay.
Read this ITUC Report
We do not need a Universal Basic Income, but public services and guaranteed minimum incomes. If we can introduce these in a democratic and participatory way, we can work on social commons:
Read the article by Francine Mestrum
The breakdown of the social contract has been exposed in the 2020 ITUC Global Rights Index with violations of workers’ rights at a seven-year high.
This trend, by governments and employers, to restrict the rights of workers through limiting collective bargaining, disrupting the right to strike, and excluding workers from unions, has been made worse by a rise in the number of countries that impede the registration of unions.
An increase in the number of countries that deny or constrain freedom of speech shows the fragility of democracies while the number of countries restricting access to justice has remained unacceptably high at last year’s levels.
A new trend identified in 2020 shows a number of scandals over government surveillance of trade union leaders in an attempt to instill fear and put pressure on independent unions and their members.
Despite decades of protests against them, the IMF and World Bank continue to force the same discredited neoliberal policies on poor governments and their people. Countries in economic distress desperately need alternative sources of aid that won’t demand adherence to free-market orthodoxy.
Read the article by Lara Merling