Has Capitalism Caused COVID-19?

1 April 2020

2.5 MINS

Apparently, the current coronavirus pandemic is not linked to the exotic eating habits of the Chinese, but instead is due to “the climate change crisis”. Vijay Kolinjivadi, from Al Jazeera, argues that the common roots of COVID-19 and climate change are evidenced in two ways:

The origin of the virus makes it a perfect example of how the way capitalism commodifies life to turn it into profit can directly endanger human life. In this sense, the ongoing pandemic is the product of unrestrained capitalist production and consumption patterns and is very much part of the deleterious environmental changes it is causing.

The failure to contain it is also due to the capitalist drive of the global economy. In the United States, some have claimed that profit losses from the freezing of economic activity are not worth closing the country for business for more than 15 days.

So, according to Al Jazeera, the West is responsible for both creating the conditions for COVID-19 to proliferate, as well as failing to contain it appropriately when it did. In other words, we’re all doubly-damned. If this were any other subject, Kolinjivadi’s argument would be immediately dismissed as some kind of irresponsible conspiracy theory.

But this is apocalyptic climate alarmism we’re talking about, pushed by the same kind of people who promote all kinds of catastrophic scenarios. Like the Australian Bureau of Meteorology which falsely predicted in December 2019 that Australia would receive no significant rainfall until April-May 2020. However, not only has it been pouring down with rain in Sydney as I type this, but according to the BBC, Australia has already had its heaviest rain for February in thirty-years.

One could be forgiven for thinking that this is all eerily similar to the infamous Climategate scandal. What The Telegraph referred to as, the “worst scientific scandal of our generation”. But I digress. Let me return to the irrational ramblings of Al Jazeera.

Both of the author’s two major premises are fundamentally flawed:

First, COVID-19 didn’t originate in the capitalistic West, but communist China. That’s not being racist; it’s just a statement of historical fact. And why it occurred in the People’s Republic of China, and not in a place where capitalism is the dominant economic model is—amongst other things—because of the West’s stricter market controls.

Second, the reason why the virus was not initially contained was because—as Sixty Minutes Australia has now shown—China lied. It wasn’t because places such as the United States were trying to protect their own economies, for they have since taken the unprecedented action of quarantining entire populations, sending their own financial markets into free-fall.

 

This might seem quaint, but over fifty years ago Lyn White tried to argue that it was Christianity which was to blame for the current ecological disaster. No, seriously! This was all because Adam and Eve were told to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). However, as the broader Biblical context shows, this entails preserving rather than destroying the created world.

Since this passage was retrieved from the Old Testament book of Genesis, I’ve always wondered why White didn’t say that Judaism was to blame… anti-Semitism? But then I remembered that there was this one time when Jesus cursed a fig-tree (Mark 11:12-25).

However, if anyone should be pleased with the outcome of the current economic situation then surely it would have to be the progressive Left. I mean, with the grounding of all international air travel, places such as the United Kingdom are well on the way to achieving their target of net-zero emissions!

All of which gives us a prescient preview as to what will happen if we suddenly stop using fossil fuels and there are no economically viable energy resources to use in their place.

[Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash]

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