Kandist Mallett: The Coronavirus Pandemic Demonstrates the Failures of Capitalism

I took a free dance class from Debbie Allen the other day. I also FaceTimed with some childhood friends I hadn’t talked to in a while. Getting laid off during a pandemic isn’t the best thing that could have happened, but I’m coping.

If you lose your job and don’t come from money, there’s an instant fear of how you’ll be able to survive. It’s never really an ideal time to be out of work, but right now, with U.S. economists saying that we are officially in a recession, it’s particularly unnerving. And with a dangerous, highly contagious virus spreading throughout the country, I find myself both without a steady income and without health insurance — great!

This pandemic has brought into sharper relief what some of us have always known to be true: Capitalism, and the culture of hierarchy that props it up, is extremely screwed up. Rich celebrities like Kris Jenner are getting tested for coronavirus without having symptoms, while regular people who do show symptoms have a tough time getting tests. A journalist at a White House press briefing asked President Donald Trump, “How are non-symptomatic professional athletes getting tests while others are waiting in line and can’t get them? Do the well-connected go to the front of the line?” The president responded by saying, “No, I wouldn’t say so. But perhaps that’s been the story of life.”

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