The current fight of the human race against the deadly coronavirus shows the obvious inability of a capitalist, free-market system to handle it.
Nations with more centralised economy and command-control mechanisms already in place are better equipped with tools to respond and act.
Many businesses in all industries close to our daily life are at standstill, and sadly may never recover from this plight or it might take a long time if things get back to normal. It is obvious that prolonging capitalism and its functionalities, and not rapidly changing the course to socialism would lead to great human losses and disasters. The nation will suffer at all levels of its structure enormously if the crisis extends for months.
What then to do? How to re-act?
It is worth looking at the history of societies and nations which underwent economic and political cataclysms and see what was done there and at what cost, and what perhaps could have been done differently.
Take Soviet Union after the October revolution for example. A switch to socialism was very painful, it was not done smartly and systematically but as a result of a bloody and brutal overthrow of the previous system, but there were certain moments when a clever action of the leadership helped to mitigate the tragedy. For example, switching to the so called “Military Communism” was essential during that plight. One thing should be clear is that the leaders should be smart enough and steer the nation quickly towards socialist realities.
Instead of trying to pay a significant salary replacement to workers who are now effectively unemployed (the bureaucracy of this process will not be sustainable in these speedy dire straights of the pandemic), we need to face the reality and give people the absolute basics. People should be given some comfort of hope in material sense – guaranteed food, shelter, moral and medical support. If someone rents a place to live and has no cash to pay the rent now, the government should, perhaps in a very crude and direct way, issue a decree that the owners shall NOT demand rent from people who lost their job. Small elements of “temporary expropriation” (I am not calling to the disownership of the property!) are needed. The fate of the nation is at stake. And the nation is its people.
Clearly, a government that was brought up on the principles of free economy, conservatism and capitalist values, would have enormous problems to simply turn the switch from capitalism to socialism. But what can we do? We have to live with the government that was elected by the people. And it happens to be conservative. So be it. Thus, we can only hope in some remains of common sense in this government and we can only try to impact on their policies to be more decisive. They should realise that the country urgently needs to switch to some forms of socialism and more direct rule.