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  • Writer's pictureFred Guerin

The Neoliberal System and Negligent Homicide

Updated: May 31, 2020

The present neoliberal system is not designed to respond to the indigent, the sick, the old and the unemployed. If it actually did respond in anything like a responsible, caring manner, it would quickly collapse as a viable political system.

It would be revealed for what it is: a reckless, human exploiting, planet-destroying political and economic system that values profit over anything that lives and breathes. That is why it chooses to bail out the profit-oriented corporate sector, rather than human beings.

While the super-rich are physical distancing on their estates and super-yachts, the poor and working-class living paycheque to paycheque are forced to compromise their health and well-being by continuing to go to work. They will be hit the hardest--first in immediate deaths from exposure to COVID-19, and thereafter from the ravages of economic deprivation debt and destitution brought on by neoliberal disaster capitalism.

The problem is that even though corporations are, legally speaking, 'persons', we cannot charge them or their government lackeys with negligent homicide for aiding and abetting the rapid spread of a deadly virus--first by failing to act in a timely manner, and secondly by not having a system in place that would adequately compensate working people when disaster strikes. The reality is that there are people dead who might be alive today if governments had acted responsibly and were not so busy bailing out the corporate sector.

Noam Chomsky has rightly said that neoliberal governments "...have handed over our fate to corporations, which are unaccountable to the public, in this case, Big Pharma. And for them, making new body creams is more profitable than finding a vaccine that will protect people from total destruction.”

In law, if someone acts in a grossly negligent way--or fails to act in a way that is reasonably likely to cause grievous harm or death, then they are culpable and would be held criminally responsible for their actions or their failure to act. What are some examples? Well, here are just a few...

1. Failing to provide protective masks to employees, 2. Failing to provide ventilators, testing, hospital beds that would meet a pandemic that has been long predicted. 3. Allowing corporations to put the price of ventilators and vaccines out of reach for most people 4. Failing to warn the public or downplaying the virulent nature of COVID-19 and thereby enhancing the chances of the public contracting the virus 5. Putting out information about false cures that result in deaths (Trump's touting of anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine) 6. Not providing free healthcare to everyone but especially to the most vulnerable, 7. Political leaders who claim that they don't want 'the cure to be worse than the disease', 8. Funnelling money to failing oil and gas companies instead of community health services during a pandemic 9. Deregulating wet markets that trade in wildlife and have been linked to outbreaks of zoonotic diseases.

All of the above are instances of criminal negligence causing harm and death. Those involved, whether corporations or governments, who directly or indirectly put human beings at risk of great harm or death should, in fact, face criminal charges.

They never will.

And THAT state of affairs should tell us everything we need to know about the reckless, human exploiting, planet-destroying political and economic system called neoliberalis

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