Perhaps now is the time more than ever in modern history to have provided the global citizenry with “free money;” known as a monthly citizen’s dividend. It will enable them to support themselves, and make choices about essential household items to purchase during this “one-of-kind” coronavirus pandemic? The United States reports more than 40 million unemployed, more than 14 million children not being adequately fed, about 1 3rd of all households reporting they may not be able to meet their monthly mortgage, and rental payments, and more than 170 000 deaths from the virus. If the richest country in human history is struggling with the virus, can you imagine the horrifying effects on smaller, weaker nation-states? Yet, the smaller, poorer countries have all reportedly been doing far better than America.
The obvious question is WHY, and HOW is this at all possible? The answer lies in how American democracy works. Our understanding of a democracy is the greatest benefits for the largest number of people: a government-appointed “by the people, for the people,” and the responsibility of that government to provide for the safety and security of the people in times of war, disaster, or any crises, right? Well, at least that is what we are taught at colleges and universities around the world. But what are the realities people experience on the ground? Or rather, in real terms, how is the government set up? For a modern political party in the United States to gain any chance of winning an election, it needs at least a billion dollars to fund its campaign. Logically, no political party has that kind of money lying around, so it looks to sponsors to self- fund. Suppose it chose the route of appealing to its potential voters to help with funding, this may take too long and may not provide the hopeful party with the type of resources its needs.
The short answer to its funding dilemma is to appeal to the corporates and Wall Street who have both the ready cash and the wherewithal to fund the prospective political party. Now here’s where the problem comes in because our system of capitalism known as neo-capitalism, a particularly aggressive, feral form of classical capitalism is single-mindedly driven by the profit motive at the expense of everything else. In other words, it looks at so-called, shareholder value only. What this means is that it looks to enrich its shareholders with no costs to spare. Once the corporates have agreed to back the “client party” it expects a certain ROI, return on investment. This comes in the form of laws, statutes and ordinances favourable to its business, lower taxes and even having a hand in choosing its preferred candidates to senior government positions like say the head of finance. Not forgetting that one of its (the corporates) goals is that once in power, the incumbent government will create or maintain a monetary policy in favour of big business, not the consumer or its citizens.
We’ve seen this happen before during the economic crisis of 2008/09 where the companies that themselves caused the crisis were the first companies to receive government assistance in the form of “bailouts” pushing the euphemistic agenda of them being “too big to fail.” It resulted in the consolidation of banking assets in the States with 10 banks now owning and controlling 70% of the total banking assets nationwide, even though more than 400 banks failed worldwide. The bailouts came in the form of very cheap money offered to the corporates that allowed them inter-alia to buy up their now weakened competitors, raise their prices to kill off of unwanted competition and to buy back their shares, thus artificially inflating their share value.
Like in the last crisis, the United States Congress and the Fed were quick to throw a cool trillion dollars at “big business” who even threatened to sack even more of its employees if nothing was done to help them through this pandemic. The result was a massive increase in both the share value of Wall Street’s Dow Jones indices and a doubling of the personal wealth of the top 1% of the business oligarchs in the United States.
“Whether in love or war, the rich always benefit more”