Following the 2007/08 financial crisis the creation of a less unequal and fairer world appeared to be a major prospect. As is by now all too familiar, after the financial crisis, instead of becoming more progressive, societies turned out to be more unequal, with inequalities and asset-based class divisions becoming more embedded and entrenched, and runaway wealth becoming the signature of the post-crisis world (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0308518X19873673)
The world is now suffering an entirely different kind of emergency, the COVID-19 pandemic. In numerous countries, death rates are soaring, non-essential businesses and workplaces have been shut down, governments have put in place stay-at-home, shelter-in-place and social distancing mandates, millions have lost their jobs or have had their jobs furloughed, and hundreds of thousands of people, mostly those in white-collar professional occupations, are working from home.’
‘Of course, crises do typically widen the horizon of political possibility, but we should not forget how quickly a hoped-for return to Keynesianism was converted into a virulent austerity politics in the aftermath of the 2007-08 financial crisis. But the stakes are even higher this time: if the post-COVID era sees another wave of asset inflation driven by the upscaled quantitative easing and associated policies we are now witnessing from the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank, and if homeownership remains the only realistic way for ordinary people to buy into that logic to some extent, we will see a further deepening of the asset-based inequalities highlighted here.’
Excerpt from Lisa Adkins and Martijn Konings. (2020). ‘COVID Life And The Asset Economy’, (https://www.ppesydney.net/covid-life-and-the-asset-economy/) Progress in Political Economy.
Discuss with reference to the the key dynamics of recurring economic crises, the specific characteristics of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, existing government responses, and policy reforms that could enhance stability and equity in global capitalism. You must critically evaluate the possibilities for – and obstacles to – any reform agenda.
You may focus on one country, several countries, or take a general global perspective. You may choose to focus on up to two of the reform proposals outlined below.
Make it clear in your Essay Introduction which reform proposal/proposals you will be analysing. Some reform proposals to consider include:
A return to Full Employment characteristic of the “golden age” of capitalism in the 1950s and 1960s.
A Green New Deal.
Introduction of a Job Guarantee.
Introduction of a Universal Basic Income.
Extension of Universal Basic Services (Public Services).
Global and National Tax Reform (eg a Tobin tax, changes to the tax mix in different countries).
Further Market Liberalisation.
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