Listening to state premiers declare to interstate and overseas visitors, “We don’t want you!” I can’t help think that these bold statements ring with a rare truthfulness in the mouths of these politicians. Parochial Australians have had to grow up embracing tourism in order for their nation’s economy to flourish but deep down I suspect they would rather tell all, “to go and fuck off!” COVID-19 the pandemic has given all and sundry a chance to indulge their xenophobia. Donald Trump called this coronavirus the “Chinese virus” and we all know how well such statements play to his supporters in the United States. Closing borders and states of emergency bring out deep rooted racist attitudes in many citizens, as they seek to blame someone for their troubles. Anxiety breeds panic, just, have a look at the supermarket shelves across Australia. The message really is – COVID-19 we don’t want you!
Governments Attempt to Stretch the Safety Net in Response to Coronavirus
Heightened security by state and federal governments in Australia means more restrictions on public behaviour. The need to lock down activities in a bid to prevent community transfer of the infection is the main focus of health policies designed to curb the spread of the virus. Businesses are going bust and workers are losing their jobs. Governments are madly rushing around trying to put their fingers in the holes appearing in the economy and the fabric of society. People who cannot pay the rent and fear being evicted are in fear for their lives. Homes and businesses are threatened with the economic collapse due to the coronavirus. The attempt to stretch the safety net is hampered by decades of sanctioned neglect of the unemployed in Australia. People are hurting and looking for answers and quick action by governments.
Coronavirus Crisis the Economic Calamity
Economies are, basically, structures, which are supposed to enable the passing of goods, services and currency between people. In the present climate of crisis many of the arms of the economy are not working. Tourism and travel have been grounded by border control and quarantine policies. Tens of thousands of people who work in these industries have been stood down without pay. The hospitality industry has been closed down across the nation, with restaurants, cafes, clubs, cinemas, sporting events, festivals and many shops forcibly shut down. The number of people working in these businesses number in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Schools and universities are in effective shut down, with states and parents keeping their students and kids at home. Child care facilities have, also, been closed down due to social distancing and quarantine requirements.
The capitalist free enterprise economy is no longer functioning. History tells us that we all turn to socialism during times of real crisis. Think about the world wars of the 20C and the government policies nationalising industries in the face of mass threats to populations. So, when the shit really hits the fan, the powers that be instigate total control of their citizens. You cannot beat a global pandemic with Donald Trump’s form of capitalism – promising that this will all be over in a couple of weeks. Economic managers everywhere are murmuring – COVID-19 we don’t want you! The lock down may last between 6 to 12 months, especially if this coronavirus keeps coming back and infecting sections of the community. It may take years before the global economy returns to good health and it may never bounce back in the same shape. This may be a good thing if some of the concern for the wellbeing of human beings continues to take centre stage at the heart of the economy.