Unjust societies in pandemic times

A new GROWINPRO study found that the adoption of social distancing and the persistent lockdown have been exacerbating pre-existing inequalities

COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the world into the most severe crisis after the Great Depression. While the crisis could have been the opportunity to collectively question the current regime of unjust “rentified capitalism”, “it has so far been used to implement forms of massive social control hardly conceivable in advanced democracies”. “Overall, the spreading of the pandemic is exacerbating a series of old inequalities and vulnerabilities”, states a recently published GROWINPRO working paper.

The research, carried out by Giovanni Dosi, Lucrezia Fanti and Maria Enrica Virgillito, found that the adoption of social distancing and the persistent lockdown of many economic and productive sectors have been exacerbating pre-existing inequalities related to working and living conditions as well as income and wealth distribution in different geographical areas.

After assessing the economic impact of the pandemic, the study presents a series of policy actions to cope with the increasing risk of widespread, collective diseases.

The health-management system needs to be completely reorganised, the authors argue, and alongside this, a complete reorganisation of the model of production and distribution of gains in our societies is also required.

Policy proposals include:

  • The implementation of a progressive wealth taxation scheme.
  • Europe-wide coordinated digital taxation schemes in order to prevent aggressive fiscal elusion adopted by tech-giants.
  • A new set of measures to rebalance labour power by increasing real wages and introducing universal income protections, independent from contractual framework and working status.

“We are facing nowadays a historical bifurcation both in technological trajectories and in the forms of socio-economic organisation”, conclude the authors: “We can head towards some form of techno feudalism with a deeply divided society or we can go towards a society that collectively shares the benefits of technological advances. The taken route largely depends on the kind of policies we design and implement”.

Download here the full research