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Opinion | Opinião

Pandeconomics

People are dying. People are fired. People are broke. People are numbers.

The first sentence refers to the pandemic. The other three are day-to-day economics, now stressed by the first one.

I am neither an economist, a capitalist, a communist, a business manager or an union delegate. Therefore I cherished the dream of this intensification of the last three sentences forcing a change to the paradigm of global economy. Reality has another agenda.

On TV the other day an expert said businesses must be competitive or fall. Small and big business managers said there is no margin for a raise on minimum wages. Sacking is mainstream and governments shrug beatifically while giving sermons on not having illusions. The vision on unemployment keeps the same. Are jobs lacking? Too bad. Life goes on to the employed. The others are cast to get in line for social welfare whilst business managers refuse to both paying taxes and keeping jobs. The reason? Businesses must be competitive.

How many businesses are based on offshores and export their job vacancies? How many business headquarters are nothing but post office boxes? How many workers are enslaved on countries with no human rights? Why are these numbers seldom told or not told at all?

Politicians and business managers make haste to discredit such questions by labeling them as extremist, radical and demagogical. The pandemic will not end this. When catastrophe occurs, people in power do not come to their senses. They will only increase their efforts to maintain power.

Pandeconomics means the stressing of people being fired and getting blamed for not working. They will continue to be labelled as parasites by the ones who fired them so that taxes for social welfare are cut. Social classes become only three. Bosses, workers and unemployed. In other words, extremely rich, survivors and extremely poor.

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Opinion | Opinião

Civilization

This word is of extreme importance. Leaders must give it due value in this time of pandemic, of global disease and death. It is the solidity of civilization and the strength of its institutions that will determine how many of us will survive. The amazing capability of humankind to get organized and raising individuals to use their talent for the common good should be the at the heart of both business and politics, instead of the plain accumulation of money. Ambition goes far beyond profit and vanity. It includes vocational fulfillment, a sense of purpose and utility, the idea of having a role in society. Even without knowing or admit it, we all share the goal of becoming civilized or taking the benefits of civilization.

Even the most selfish of individuals, even psychopaths realize that one must be inside the game of being civilized, at least for a while, to avoid being ostracized. Civilization, through ages, developed several shapes, the known pinnacle of which being democracy. What frightens me, and is the reason for the writing of this post, is how fragile civilization is and how common is the mistake of taking it for granted. More, this pandemic is putting civilization to the test and, in spite of the death tolls, thousands of powerful individuals are not taking it seriously. I am afraid of colapse.

This is one of those times when a strong democratic and powerful regulator is needed, if such thing would ever be possible. The only way to imagine such a possibility is with the strict use of fundamental proven laws to the equality of human rights. Instead of giving money and making business with dictators, our democracies should endorse movements to the spreading of democratic secular states. Parliaments should have a scientific council for matters of physical and mental health, education, poverty and the proliferation of job offers. Wealth should be supervised with a non-exploiting and non-impoverishing criteria. In short, laws must be decent and their inspection efficient and effective.

These are my castles in the air. No matter how distinct are civilizations around the world, no matter their languages – all different as a punishment from God, if one is to believe in Babylon -, no matter the selfishness of several of us, I believe a day will come of solid institutions to preserve our rights, justice, and the guarantee of survival, no matter how deadly a pandemic.

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Opinion | Opinião

Politics And Pandemic

People are dying. Small businesses are closing. Riots are emerging. Labs are racing. Multinationals keep on playing. Politicians keep on gambling.

I know nothing of finance, which might the reason for being unable to reckon how can it be possible not to having enough money in each country for a proper confinement and the provision of food, shelter and healthcare for the population. I simply don’t get it. When money is not enough it is somewhere else. The drama for small businesses is having bills and wages to pay. Most bills come from banks and multinationals. Most multinationals or big nationwide businesses own politicians.

To my eyes, the economic drama of the pandemic would be solved if there were food for everybody and bills for no one. Why the hell are water, gas and electricity services still collecting?! How can banks still have the nerve to collect from mortgages, loans and interests?! When will governments understand that a universal dignified income is the only means to put an end to financial havoc? The lack of medical personnel would be solved in an instant. Having guaranteed dignified income, physicians and nurses only had to be called.

But I know nothing about these things. Perhaps the premise of the lack of money on one side meaning the excess on the other is false. I’m a lunatic. An ignorant naïve. Maybe so.

Meanwhile, people are dying and politicians keep on gambling.