South Africa: The Constitutional Contract Is Being Broken - We Must Repair It and Demand a Fair Society

analysis

Across the world, capitalist economics is in tatters. As always happens in a mega-crisis on a scale of that brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, governments and central banks are breaking 'rules' that in stable times they insist are immutable.

Many countries in the developed world are adopting economic policies that would have had Milton Friedman turning in his grave: there is a heady combination of quantitative easing, unprecedented fiscal stimuli, including cash transfers to millions of workers who have lost jobs and incomes, and even a consideration of vouchers to all adults and children in the UK for spending on local retail and hospitality firms.

But it is not just capitalist economics that is being upended: claims that neoliberal capitalism can underpin a fair and safe social system are now near impossible to defend.

The most visible failing is how years of underinvestment in public health services has left countries unprepared for preventing and treating Covid-19, a pandemic virus that infectious disease experts warned was inevitable.

But now that Covid-19 is here, it has also laid bare the deep and desperate inequalities that have developed in every society. As has been pointed out by Jeffrey Sachs and many others,...

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