Capitalism Isn't Working Anymore. Here's How The Pandemic Could Change It ForeverHistorians in the News
tags: welfare state, capitalism, COVID-19
This isn't the first time capitalism is in crisis. In the 1950s — America's so-called golden age — there were concerns about automation eliminating jobs and people falling through the cracks of the government's safety net (sound familiar?). And in 2008, corporate greed came under the microscope following the financial crisis.
In modern history, only the Great Depression was more economically devastating than Covid-19. The aftermath of the Great Depression — relief, recovery, and most of all, reform — may once again be necessary to create a better economy for the future, said Larry Glickman, professor of American studies at Cornell.
It will be hard to sweep all of America's economic issues under the rug again when the pandemic is over.
"We are pregnant with change," said MIT economics professor Daron Acemoglu.
Here are three ways the pandemic might change capitalism forever:
A new social safety net
The pandemic exposed the cracks in America's social safety net. Enter the welfare state 2.0, which could be more attuned to workers' needs, experts said.
"We're in a moment where the pendulum is [swinging] towards a more favorable view of what government can do," Glickman said.
Better-designed unemployment benefits, programs to help people back into the workforce and more affordable housing could help ease the burden of this crisis for the weakest members of the economy.
Millions have lost their jobs in the pandemic, but regular unemployment benefits are often not enough to make ends meet, while rents eat up a large chunk of incomes across the country. As the pandemic drags on, hunger is an increasing problem, too.
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