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What we are going to talk about today is death, death on an enormous scale. The great Flemish painter Peter Bruegel painted one of the most amazing paintings of all time, The Triumph of Death. Everyone should go look at it. It's really an amazing study of the human condition.
A FAILURE OF TODAY'S DEMOCRACIES TO AVERT CATASTROPHE IN TERMS OF THE PANDEMIC
Today on planet Earth we have a triumph of death in terms of the public policies of the so-called league of democracies, the league of rich states in the West plus Japan. Whether they really are democracies is questionable, or whether some of them, in particular, America, are really plutocracies dressed up as democracies. But here's what happened. Let's just have a look at the planet. All the experts in the world warned the leaders of the league of democracies for years and years that an epidemic was coming. So they certainly should've been prepared. The same group of experts warned America that being the only country without national health insurance and without national paid sick leave if an epidemic were to occur...this would be a total catastrophe. Well, in 2019 a global epidemic did occur and in the United States it was a total catastrophe, and the British Journal Lancet very specifically states that hundreds of thousands of people were killed solely because of the lack of national health insurance and national paid sick leave. The other hundreds of thousands that got killed and more still are getting killed on a regular basis due to the total incompetence of the government in preparing for this
VACCINES FOR THE RICH
DEATH FOR THE POOR
Now there is some good news. The research that produced results faster than expected did produce some vaccines. That's good news. There's no question about it. So we don't say everything hopeless. But what happened after that is a demonstration of the real world here on planet Earth in terms of global politics as opposed to the lies and the public relations hot air of the league of the rich, so-called league of democracies because what happened is that the vaccine supply has been completely hogged by the rich nations, so that these rich nations have gotten a staggering 87% of the vaccines leaving the billions of the rest of the world to die. So there has been a triumph . There has been a triumph of death. People like Bill Clinton and people like him when they sold us this plutocratic neoliberal world order back in the 90s said it was going to be this happy world where we were going live in this decentralized world and everybody was going to have opportunity. Mr. Tom Friedman, the pop economist, said the world was now flat and so on and so forth. And there's been a lot of economic growth in a lot of countries and that's good. We're not saying it's all bad. A lot of good things have happen since the 1990s and we're not saying it's all bad. But what is bad is how the wealth has been shared. In 2020 and 2021 we have to ask how the death has been shared.
There is a lot of talk that we are "all in it together." We are not in it together. What has happened in 2020 and 2021, particularly in 2021, that's when the vaccines got rolling. This was a moment of truth for our planet where the rich grabbed the vaccines and the poor were left to die. Now all of our progressive friends are into the argument about whether we should or should not force the drug companies to give patent free vaccines, and this is a legitimate point of view. The problem with that argument is the situation is such a mess right now that getting into a debate about that is not helpful. Some people would disagree with us on that but our feeling is the rich countries ought to come up with the cash as soon as possible to get the vaccines into mass production in the poor world and it's also important to understand that the patents are a small part of the total cost of vaccine programs such as the enormous cost of setting up the distribution network to give the vaccines. We believe the issue of patents is a legitimate issue that should be decided before the next epidemic but the position of the Biden Administration in our view is extremely deceitful which is that they stay approved a patent waiver. However that had to be unanimous in the WTO, which of course it isn't, and so it was a basically phony proposal that may have cost a lot of lives in so far as many Third World states that believed, "Oh my goodness this is gonna happen so we better postpone our orders for vaccines."
Vaccines need to be going into mass production now. It really doesn't look like this is gonna happen. There was some happy talk at the G7 and these are some helpful proposals assuming they're legit. Unfortunately so many of these rich nation charity proposals don't end up in the real world, they're completely inadequate.
LARGE POPULATIONS WITH VERY FEW VACCINATIONS
Now we need to take a hard look at what's going on here because some very very large populations have very little vaccinations. We're talking about Nigeria. We're talking about Indonesia. We're talking about Pakistan. We're talking about Bangladesh and in our view it doesn't look like any kind of major vaccine programs are going to be set up there until 2022 and hopefully we're wrong about what we were reading but this doesn't look good. The rich have not learned that we do live on one planet. There is only one earth and epidemics in a interlinked global economy are a superhighway for killing people. Yes they are. So we have seen what the rich countries are all about. We have on a global basis and what this means is growing global turmoil.
VACCINATIONS IN THE WEST ARE BEING FUNDED WITH DEBT
There's just something about hogging vaccines in the middle of a deadly epidemic that could get people shall we say somewhat upset. Now currently everything is such a big mess because of the epidemic. The full political implications of this have yet to bear the economic implications of this have yet to bear because the rich countries are paying for this with a whole mountain of funny money debt and Biden keeps adding more funny money debt on the grounds that that somehow all is going to be safe and hey the Federal Reserve Board will hold down interest rates and live happily ever after. That's not very likely.
A LACK OF ACTION FROM THE LEFT ON THIS GLOBAL CRISIS
What is striking about the situation is the lack of compassion and organization of the so-called progressive movements in Western Europe and particularly America. Other than sloganeering about "let's do something about patents" there's been no coherent plan by the Biden Administration to come up with the kind of money that's needed to make an impact here. There has not. It simply has not happened.
INCOMPETENCE ON THE PART OF THE GLOBAL DEMOCRACIES
So what is coming is more death. Yes and maybe a lot more death. We don't know exactly what this leads to. As we mentioned, potentially great international turmoil and unrest and anger and the growth of politically extreme movements. This is why we urge the rich countries to get their act together and come up with the cash. We're not optimistic. The democracies are very dysfunctional. They just got their ass kicked in Afghanistan after more incompetence there. So we are not very optimistic that's going to happen.
A DAY OF JUDGMENT FOR THE RICH
The lack of concern for the poor by the rich is going to turn into a judgment for them. We live on one planet. Our lives are intertwined and that's why we have fire departments. We don't charge people for fire protection. No, we do not. That's a reality. In particular in America the failure of the Biden Administration to come up with any plan for national health insurance is an enormous moral stain. So we hope that Biden will get his act together and come up with national health insurance immediately and the progressives will wake up and come up with national health insurance immediately and pass it and we hope that they will get serious about funding vaccines for the Third World.
In the meantime the triumph of death rolls on. That's a big success. Death is the winner and the instability that this will cause, particularly in so far as it can lead to political unrest and war, will lead to a further triumph of death. So President Biden says we're back and it's certainly better than having Trump in office. Yes we are back says President Biden. The American imperialist New World order is back. But back for what? If you assume leadership and you produce this you will be held accountable. There's a statement that you have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. There's another statement that you sow the wind and you reap the whirlwind. These are relevant today.