by Harley Schlanger, LaRouche PAC:
With Europe now officially the epicenter of the expanding coronavirus pandemic, most Western nations—with some notable exceptions—are taking drastic actions. France, Spain and Israel, like Italy, have ordered the closing of all non-essential stores, and for the entire population to stay at home other than for work or medical visits, or for necessary shopping for food and medical supplies. The peripatetic Dr. Fauci, perhaps the most trusted adviser to President Donald Trump on these matters, appeared on all five major Sunday talk shows today, saying that a similar shutdown across the U.S. may be necessary.
Yet, the necessary revolutionary transformation required to reverse not only the spread of the pandemic, but, more importantly, the fifty-year-long self-destruction of the productive capacities of the Western nations—which is the root cause of the crisis—has eluded our political leaders.
There are hints in that direction. President Trump brought CEOs from the private sector together to address certain urgent needs under government direction, and has used the Defense Production Act from 1950 to impose production requirements of certain medical equipment companies. French President Emmanuel Macron on March 12 said: “We will have to draw the lessons in the future regarding the model of development our world has become involved with over decades, and which today has revealed its great failures.” He said a public health system “is not a cost, but a precious good, which is indispensable when destiny strikes.” He correctly generalizes that point: “There are goods and services which must be put outside the laws of the marketplace.”
Indeed, this captures the crucial difference between the British System and the American System. Alexander Hamilton created the American System based on the revolutionary premise that a sovereign government must be responsible for assuring the “general welfare” of the population, not by owning the means of production, but by assuring that the people and the entrepreneurs have access to water, power, transportation, education and health care. The 1946 Hill-Burton policy was a classic example of such an American System approach, setting a required standard for the number of beds and trained health professionals per capita in every district of the nation, be they public or private facilities. When this was taken down in the 1970s, while the Glass-Steagall bank separation and fixed-exchange-rate policy was also taken down, the U.S. was rapidly taken over by British “free market” policies which put short-term corporate profit—“stockholder value”—ahead of standards of labor productivity and standards of living. The world is now paying the price, with pandemics, locusts, and financial panic.