Greedy Capitalism and Corona Plague – In the introduction to the book Environment and Capitalism, Fred Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster (2017) cite the Imposition Theorem of Herman Daly, who states that the economy cannot possibly grow indefinitely in a limited environment. This theorem departs from the view of the impossibility of expanding the greedy mode of production and consumption of the United States because the world is on the verge of carrying capacity. However, what is happening right now, in both major capitalist countries and peripheral capitalism such as Indonesia, growth has been boosted and resource exploitation increased. The myth of growth is ignored, as if the world is still full of resources for more than seven billion heads today.
It is very difficult to remind again that capitalism which worships production and consumption without limits (not based on needs) and capital accumulation as much as possible is a source of problems in the environment and humans today. Yuval Noah Harari in Homo Deus (2018) reiterated that one of the biggest threats to the human race today is new viruses that are unknown from where they came from. Greedy Capitalism and Corona Plague.
Since the outbreak of acute respiratory syndromes (SARS), bird flu, ebola and swine flu, we have seen this virus become stronger and more globalized makes it easier to spread. All viruses are related to animals. That is, there are interactions between humans and non-humans that should not have happened, like in the days before there was domestication and trade in animals.
Greedy Capitalism and Corona Plague
Nowadays animals do not only interact with humans, but also fight over space with humans. The allocation of natural capital that is supposed to be for wild animals is completely absorbed by the human economy (Zcech and Daly, 2017). As a result, all ecological elements are interconnected. The loss of a chain in the natural cycle of animals due to human intervention creates a gap that eventually hits humans back.
The moment of the global war against the Covid-19 pandemic should be an opportunity for world leaders and us as the human race to pause, humble before nature, not to apply business as usual. The 5,000 or 8,000 people killed are not just statistics. They are victims of the greed of the production systems of capitalism and consumerism are insanely all over the world. It’s time to let go of our arrogance and leave the myth of growth that is misguided.
With such anxieties, word got out that the government was in “lockout” with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to support the acceleration of the implementation of the omnibus law. This universal sweep law is an instrument for accelerating growth, accumulation of industry-based investment, and a quick way to get income for the country. The nature of this regulation is pro-capital and pro-debt, which has direct implications on natural resources. If the omnibus law continues to be implemented, natural resources will be disturbed again and tensions between humans and nature will strengthen again. DominoQQ
From the point of view of disaster studies, this is tantamount to raising threats and increasing vulnerability. Disaster capitalism, as conceived by Naomi Klein in Shock Doctrine (2007), found the right momentum. When everyone’s energy and attention is focused on the corona outbreak, the omnibus law will proceed without correction and disaster will be a reason for capital to enter more swiftly and destroy people from low-class structures and the weakest countries.
Therefore, there are at least four things that must be done after the Covid-19 pandemic is handled. First, the government is determined to stop growth as an economic reference. It is time for Indonesia to practice degrowth or relatively zero growth by optimizing the fulfillment of local-national resource needs in accordance with domestic needs and surpluses as export material. In short, the government implements an economy based on resource sustainability. At the practical level, the government does not force the establishment of omnibus law before there is an adequate multidisciplinary academic study and risk-based mitigation.
Second, the government does more conservation of living natural resources rather than massive exploitation. The whole world is now experiencing a shock. A country that still has a high level of food security and resources has the power to survive. Indonesia has the opportunity to build competitiveness from here without having to base itself on the investment and debt-based extractive industries.
Third, learning from epidemics in China, Vietnam, and Cuba, the key to successfully escaping the crisis is high trust in government, quick action before social unrest occurs, and trust in science to solve problems. Indonesia is expected to improve such a massive risk mitigation system as an institution.
Fourth, this is the last period of Joko Widodo’s leadership. A positive appreciation and image for the leader can be obtained if he is able to take the entire nation out of the crisis and invite to rise on its own strength, not with infrastructure and large state savings but fragile because of foreign debt.
However, if it persists and does not learn from Corona, Indonesia is digging its own grave. Hopefully this nation is protected and kept away from wrong decisions by its leaders.