Note to readers: After a pause of several months, Corporations and Health Watch returns to its previous schedule of regular postings and monthly newsletters. A few new features have been added: the web site is modestly re-designed to make it easier to read and navigate. Also, in addition to the usual coverage of the food, alcohol, tobacco, automobile, firearms, and pharmaceutical industries, two new themes have been added. The first, addressed in today’s post, is to explore the intersections between the COVID-19 pandemic, on the one hand, and 21st century capitalism and the health of the public on the other. The second is a deeper exploration of how modern capitalism influences people’s search for well-being and the resistance and alternatives that social movements, health professionals, communities, and others are creating to impact daily lives dominated by corporations. These are topics I examine in my new book At What Cost Modern Capitalism and the Future of Health to be published by Oxford University Press in early 2021.
As the COVID-19 pandemic dominates and disrupts the lives of billions of people around the world, public health professionals and activists need to combine two essential tasks. On the one hand, we need to contain the epidemic, predict its path , and respond to the needs of those affected by the virus. Equally essential, we need to understand the roots of the pandemic in the global political and economic system, its impact on that system, and the opportunities the crisis presents for more fundamental transformations of a world characterized by inequality, ill health and missed potential.To contribute to such analyses, for the next several months, Corporations and Health Watch will take on the limited role of serving as a collecting point for published articles, blog posts, and commentary on the intersections among the COVID-19 epidemic, 21st century capitalism and public health. To begin, I will offer brief comments, aggregate, and post previously published materials that address this intersection. Since many others are aggregating and commenting on new developments in science, resources to assist communities and institutions to respond, and tracking country responses, this site will not duplicate that work. Please send suggestions for posting that address this intersection to email@example.com
Changes in 21st century capitalism are one cause of the rapid spread of COVID-19 around the world. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic is now a cause of additional pressures on capitalism. Understanding these complex reciprocal relationships is an urgent task for both public health professionals who seek to mitigate the adverse consequences of the epidemic and for social movements and activists who seek to advance social justice, equity, and human and planetary health. In this post, I sketch some of these relationships and raise questions that require additional investigation and public conversations.
Continue reading COVID-19, Capitalism and Public Health: What are the connections?