The coronavirus crisis has caused an unprecedented economic collapse, but it has also highlighted the inequality that exists in our societies and the need for unprecedented responses. It is the message of an editorial from the Financial Times, which, unlike other liberal or conservative media, is committed to ideological solutions far removed from its ideology. In other words, the FT believes that the time has come for “radical reforms” or ideas that until now the newspaper had rejected as “eccentric”:
“Radical reforms – reversing the political direction that has prevailed for the past four decades – should be on the table. Governments will have to accept a more active role in the economy. They must see public services as investments, not burdens, and seek ways to make labor markets less insecure. Redistribution will be debated again; the privileges of the elderly and the wealthiest will be questioned. Policies considered eccentric so far, such as basic income and higher income taxes , they will have to be part of the proposals. “
In the United Kingdom, as in Spain, the authorities’ messages follow one another, arguing that we are all united in this fight, that the coronavirus knows no borders or ideological or class differences. It is not true, and that is something that the editorial also recognizes when saying that “we are not together in this.”
The economic cost is being harder in those most disadvantaged sectors that depend on jobs that have disappeared for now with confinement. Those who work from home are also the ones with the highest wages: “In addition, people with low wages who are still able to work are often risking their lives, as caregivers and health support personnel, but also as replenishers , delivery drivers and cleaners. “
The FT does not hide that some of the most spectacular measures, such as the decisions of central banks to inject public funds into the economy, will help especially those with the greatest assets, in short, the wealthiest.
The ideas in the article are the ones that should be saved for the coming months in some countries. In Spain, the PP has already made it clear that the State must assume the cost while at the same time reducing taxes, both for the wealthiest and for companies, as well as forgetting to change the labor reforms that made the dismissal more flexible. That will make it not take long for the austerity discourse to return, once the state debt increases colossally. For those, like the authors of the FT editorial, who trust in the survival of the current economic system as we know it, that would be a systemic error with unpredictable consequences.