A Social Democratic and Welfare State Antidote to the COVID Crisis
Socdem Asia Statement on the Corona-crisis
COVID-19 Pandemic exposes the crises of our healthcare system and economic system. Overwhelmed healthcare hospitals and healthcare facilities and the steep decline in economic output reveal a more troubling diagnosis of the global order. Decades of neoliberal policies has resulted in inequality in health services as manifested in privatized healthcare that offer the best medical treatments and services to those who can afford to pay while overworked and underfunded public health institutions cater to the poorer segments of society. For workers in the informal sectors, urban poor, peasants, and migrant labor, these public health services are their only recourse. Equally troubling is the lack of social security and safety nets for the majority of the working class also endangers not only their health but also their jobs and income. The existing precariousness of workers in highly contractual and irregular work rebranded as the “gig-economy” has fully materialized. Absent the protections of regular work and pay, union membership and unemployment benefits, such workers struggle to cope with the burden brought about by this pandemic. While the virus does not discriminate based on class, religion, sex and race, our societies acceptance and institutionalization of these ensure that the most vulnerable will be the most impacted by the pandemic while the most affluent will survive and flourish.
The Network for Social Democracy in Asia joins the international community in extending our sympathies to those whose lives and families have been adversely affected by this pandemic. We also join the world in paying tribute to all health workers, security personnel and all workers who are working in the front lines and risking their health to slow the pandemic.