Ideological lessons from the coronavirus crisis
22 March 2020, ‘HARAVGI’ newspaper
Article by Christos Christofides, AKEL Political Bureau member
Cyprus and humanity are facing a crisis unprecedented in magnitude for at least the last few decades.
With this crisis a new situation and facts have emerged and as humanity we are drawing lessons. These lessons will be important for our own very survival now. We should also remember them after the coronavirus crisis will pass.
- We have all discovered the enormous importance of central planning for a society. We are all demanding from our governments that they should elaborate and implement a comprehensive plan for society without which the crisis cannot be confronted.
The more complete the plan is, the better. It is evident that in the face of this crisis no one has come out to argue – not even the well-known extreme neoliberal circles, apart perhaps from the murderous recklessness of neoliberal Johnson in Britain – that what will save us is deregulation, which these circles term as “freedom”, as well as the initiative of each and every individual. No one is supporting that without a central plan and if we simply rely on one’s will and motivation, survival will be ensured.
And because we are absolutely certain that very soon after the coronavirus crisis, the cries calling for the full deregulation of everything will begin and about how, supposedly, the system is self-regulating, it would be well to remember this powerful lesson: the great importance of central planning for a society.
- The second lesson to be drawn from the crisis is the huge importance of having a strong and effective state. A € 100 million boost to the health sector was also announced in the measures that were announced on Sunday. In recent years the Anastasiades government has imposed a multiple amount of cuts in the health sector. We all demand stricter measures which public health workers, state services, the police and other services are called upon to implement. We must remember all this when all the big talk calling for less or minimal state intervention will begin after the crisis, when the argument will be put forward that the private sector that can handle things without any state intervention, and money allocated for building the necessary structures and infrastructures in our state is supposedly going to waste. The state as a collective expression of society – to the extent that it can and does function effectively- ensures (in this case, literally) our very survival.
- Solidarity, cooperation, mutual support are values without which no society can survive, as is also the case with regards providing support towards the most vulnerable and weak sections of the population. We must remember this when, immediately after the crisis, specific forces and circles will proclaim money, profit and “everyone for himself” as the supreme value. There can be no person outside society. Humanity cannot exist without a collective consciousness and cooperation. Today in the face of this unprecedented situation, we are conscious of this reality.
We all consider that the coronavirus crisis can and must make us wiser. It is important to draw lessons and not forget these truths immediately after the crisis because there will always be challenges for our societies. The more prepared, the more correct and conscious we are, the better.
The common good and interest must prevail above all else.
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