Socialist Worker

Workers must not pay for the corona crash

Issue No. 2695

Coronavirus has caused a crash in the global financial markets

Coronavirus has caused a crash in the global financial markets (Pic: AhmadArdity/Wikicommons)


Bosses must not be allowed to make ordinary people pay for coronavirus or the chaos in the financial markets.

Trillions of pounds were wiped from the values of global stocks and shares on Monday in the biggest rout since the global crash of 2008.

In Britain the FTSE 100 group of top companies saw their fifth worst day in history, with their shares plummeting by £125 billion.

And within two minutes of Wall Street opening in New York, buying and selling shares was frozen to stop prices plunging any further.

The next day share prices rose, taking back more than half the losses. That’s because corporations expect governments to come to their aid.

When stock markets crashed in 2008, banks and big business grabbed billion-pound bailouts to keep them afloat.

Then politicians forced through more than a decade of austerity—which continues to hammer living standards.

Some of those who suffered most are already being made to pay the price of coronavirus.

Anyone with flu or cold-like symptoms will be advised to self-isolate for two weeks.

Insecure

But workers in insecure, low-paid jobs—particularly with no sick pay—will not be able to take the hit.

And how is self-isolating possible for people who live in overcrowded, rented accommodation?

The government should be guaranteeing full pay for all those who have to stay away from work.

Workers should not be made to pay for a coronavirus quarantine and workplace shutdowns.

Bosses fear coronavirus’ effects on a global economy with underlying health conditions.

Their worries over the costs of coronavirus shutdowns and a Saudi Arabian price war over oil were behind stock market chaos.

This saw investors sell shares and buy up new ones in companies and commodities that are seen as a safer bet.

Gold—and government bonds that are guaranteed by public money—are seen as less of a risk.

But the jitters are the symptom of a much deeper problem across capitalism.

The global economy didn’t recover fully from the crash of 2008.

Governments and central banks responded by effectively printing money, which gave the illusion of a return to health.

But in any crisis the question is always, who pays?

It’s in the bosses’ interests to make us pay—and it is in our interests to resist any of their attempts to do it.

That means fighting individual attacks, for measures that protect working class people and for public services.

We need a worker-controlled, democratically planned economy geared towards meeting human need, not the profits of the few.


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.