It is clear that stopping the spread of a virus requires everyone to do their bit. To social distance. To stay home. To get tested. To wear protective gear. But how do you initiate these measures in a purely capitalist society?
In pure capitalism, not everyone can afford to forfeit their income and stay home or buy an “affordable” test.
Which is where social capitalism comes in.
First, a definition:
According to Social Capital Research, social capitalism is a “socially-minded form of capitalism, where the goal is making social improvements, rather than focusing on accumulating of capital in the classic capitalist sense.”
Services like firefighters, policeman, libraries, schools and any other government-owned initiatives that serve the community are a version of social capitalism.
To be clear, social capitalism is not socialism. Socialism is when the government owns and operates the means of production and distribution of goods. A far cry from social capitalism which is simply a way of being nice to your fellow man who’s suffering hardship
In pure capitalism, it’s impossible to eliminate hardship.
Now that I’ve thoroughly clarified the meaning of social capitalism, let me tell you why it works in this COVID-19 crisis.
Universal Healthcare Protects Community Health
Herd immunity is an important factor in reducing the spread of a virus. If more than enough people are vaccinated, those who cannot vaccinate have less chance of contracting it.
But with no vaccine, how do you quash the spreadability of a virus? By testing, isolating and tracing. And that involves everyone having access to healthcare, regardless of economic status.
In the United States, nearly 30 million people have no health insurance. All of these people refrain from seeing doctors — it’s simply what they’re psychologically trained to do. When they feel sick, they get good rest, eat healthily, drink plenty of water and perhaps get some exercise.
But they’re not the only ones skipping health checks.
Because of the exorbitant healthcare costs, most Americans are less likely to visit a doctor at all. Regardless if they have health insurance or not.
It’s almost as if the American people don’t trust their healthcare system. And how can they when doctors are paid more for the quantity of work they do than the quality?
On top of that, health insurance companies work with profit margins, which means that even if you do have health insurance, you may not get covered for every health issue you have. Because spending money on your health issue decreases their likelihood of making a profit.
With all these factors, it’s no wonder the USA is leading the world in COVID-19 infections.
But there is hope, and it’s called Universal Healthcare (AND perhaps some industry regulation, too). With healthcare costs paid for through taxes, sick people — whether insured or not — will be more likely to visit their doctor.
They are more likely to get tested, which means anyone with COVID-19 becomes known and can be isolated quicker. And when they become known, doctors are able to put out health alerts for anyone who may have come into contact with them.
In a viral pandemic such as this, everyone’s health needs to be treated equally. Which means implementing socially capitalist initiatives.
Welfare Affords The Ability To Stay Home
People need to work to survive. They need to pay the rent, put food on the table and drown out the boredom with extracurricular activities. But with so much work put on standby right now, many people are forced to stay home.
And, as the healthcare industry notes, staying home is key to reducing the spread of COVID-19.
So how do you keep people at home for the foreseeable future without crippling them in debt, forcing them onto poor diets or causing possible evictions? And without killing the economy?
Well, with increased government welfare, of course.
The taxes you pay go back into the economy through the people who need it. They spend it on their bills, their food, their way of life, which effectively helps them to stay at home while continuing to drive the economy.
According to The Perspective, “Social insurance, such as unemployment benefits, create a risk-sharing economy in which the threat of potential economic difficulties befalling any one person is protected by the majority. Take the Great Recession as an example, where unemployment rose by record levels, yet the poverty rate only increased by 0.5%.”
Economically, the benefits of increasing welfare during a crisis such as this one far outweigh the benefits of letting the country fend for themselves. Because when you need money, you’ll do what you can to get it.
Which is why welfare relief decreases the likelihood of robbery and theft.
But ultimately, providing welfare to those whose work has depleted affords them the ability to stay home and wait for the storm to pass.
And that helps stop the spread of COVID-19.
Social capitalism provides basic human rights for the community while still affording personal growth and development.
You can offer universal healthcare, paid for by the community through taxes, and still have the ability to become a self-made entrepreneur. You can offer welfare to those who fall into hardship while retaining the option of owning a penthouse apartment in the city.
It’s not one or the other.
Sacrificing a portion of your tax to help others who need it improves the overall society. Most especially in a COVID-19 world.
All you have to do is ask for it.
And vote for the right people.