Sunday 10 May 2020

A Break for Science

There have been no articles on this blog since early February this year. Largely, this has been based on my interest in the coronavirus pandemic. Since mid-2019, I had in any case started reading up on biology, prompted by my own health problems, and the pandemic has greatly expanded that interest. I had little formal education in natural sciences, and have only in recent years come to see how fascinating they are, making ‘economics’ look intellectually trivial and pretty dull by comparison.
As for the economic slump engendered by the coronavirus, I think little can usefully be added on this blog to the almost daily, easily available information. (For my more regular comments, see my Twitter account, Stubborn Facts, or the Facebook page, Imperialism Today) Yes, this will be the biggest capitalist crisis possibly ever, at least in terms of collapsing output. But that much is obvious. For readers of this blog, what should also have been obvious is that the already accumulated debts in the system – onto which vast amounts more are being loaded – will make any subsequent recovery very difficult.[1] Capitalism’s troubles have now become more acute, but if/when they are less acute, perhaps in 3-6 months’ time, the chronic problems revealed in debt will become less able to be postponed and more likely to result in conflict. Already there is a stirring of ‘China must pay!’ sentiment in the US.
One purpose of my more recent self-education is to avoid the often wrong virus-capitalism arguments of many writers. While I do not plan now to fill this blog with disquisitions on viruses, in the next week or so I should have completed an article on putting the pandemic into an imperial context.

Tony Norfield, 10 May 2020

[1] Look in the ‘Search this blog’ box at the top right of the page and insert the word ‘debt’ for a series of articles.