Post-Covid-19 Needs-based Economy, Zero Emissions, UBI, Green New Deal & Free University Education

green new deal logo from green party watch e1543147104237

Comprehensive social distancing and economic lockdown measures required to suppress Covid-19 have been associated with rapid socialism-style adoption of a needs-based economy (essential services), a decrease in carbon fuel burning and  air pollution, a widened social safety net, and on-line learning. Post-Covid-19 one envisages a socialist needs-based economy, zero emissions, universal basic income (UBI) , a Green New Deal (GND) and  free university education. Unfortunately neoliberal Australia may well reject this golden opportunity.

Every cloud has a silver lining and the deadly  Covid-19 pandemic is no exception to this aphorism. Because the coronavirus can  infect anyone , from princes to paupers, the  Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a global blooming of altruism,  the notion “we are all in this together”  and concerted action top save lives – a course of emergency action that in a word is “socialism” but which has not been opposed by the One Percenters who in normal circumstances ruthlessly dominate media and the global economy. The big question is whether  this altruism will continue unabated in the post-Covid-19 era or whether the neoliberal One Percenters will restore control with business-as-usual, unsustainable  economic growth,  merciless  austerity and burgeoning inequality. As analyzed below, Australia and like rich countries  committed to greedy and unsustainable  neoliberalism  are likely to ignore this opportunity for a Green New Deal (GND).

The Enlightenment and accompanying Age of Reason and Scientific Revolution that helped  liberate mankind from primitive superstition and fatalism also opened the Pandora’s Box of rationalism and  libertarianism without responsibility. Thus the  Science that enabled the Industrial Revolution and ultimately better standards of living for the masses  also  enabled increasingly high technology weapons of mass murder that were employed in increasingly deadly and genocidal colonial and imperial wars. Science  meant more food and better health care resulting in greatly increased populations. However global overpopulation  has   devastated the biodiversity of the natural world to the extent that scientists now talk of our present era as the Anthropocene Era. Indeed the present animal species extinction rate is 100-1,000 times higher than normal [1-4].

Pre-Covid-19 the world had reached a critical point at which key tipping points were being approached or exceeded in numerous areas  due to man-made climate change through  greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions [1,2,  5- 15]. Unfortunately a detailed analysis  shows that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in all key economic sectors of energy production and non-energy production are increasing whereas the worsening Climate Emergency demands urgently decreasing GHG emissions and ultimately net zero GHG emissions ASAP.  The world is heading in the wrong direction towards disaster [16].

Another way of seeing this disastrous progression is by considering the damage-related cost of carbon pollution (Carbon Price) that has been determined to be about $200 per tonne CO2 [13,   17, 18].  Application of this Carbon Price to historical  global CO2 emissions and annual CO2 emissions reveals that the global carbon economy has run up an inescapable Carbon Debt of $200-250 trillion that is increasing at about $13 trillion each year [13, 17-22]. Just as future generations will have to pay back  the predicted enormous $9 trillion  debt entered into through lockdown  to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic [23, 24], so they will also have to pay back this present accumulated and inescapable Carbon Debt of $200-250 trillion. Unlike conventional financial debt  that can be variously addressed by default, bankruptcy or printing money, Carbon Debt is inescapable e.g.  unless trillions of dollars are spent on sea walls, coastal cities and arable land will be inundated.

As a scientist I am endlessly optimistic but have been forced to the conclusion that a plus 1.5C temperature rise will be realized within the next decade, and that resolute global inaction [16]  means that a plus temperature rise is  effectively   unavoidable.  Others have come to the same conclusion [25, 26]. Presently about 1 million people die from climate change each year, but  the worsening climate emergency   means a worsening Climate Genocide en route to a sustainable population of only about 0.5 – 1.0 billion in 2100 [27]. Earth and paleoclimate scientist Dr Andrew Glikson (2020): “Further to NASA’s reported mean land-ocean temperature rise of +18°C in March 2020, relative to the 1951-1980 baseline, large parts of the continents, including central Asia, west Africa eastern South America and Australia are warming toward mean temperatures of +2°C and higher… Given the abrupt shift in state of the atmosphere-ocean-cryosphere-land system, the current trend signifies an abrupt shift in state of the atmosphere, accelerating since the mid-20th century. Terms such as climate change and global warming no longer reflect the extreme nature of the climate events consequent on this shift, amounting to a climate catastrophe on a geological scale” [28].

Eminent physicist and cosmologist Professor Stephen Hawking has succinctly summarized the parlous position of Humanity thus (2018):  “We see great peril if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change” [29].

Humanity is in this dreadful pass because of neoliberal greed. Enlightenment libertarianism without responsibility  plus reason-based science and technology led to the unbridled capitalism of the Industrial Revolution resulting in  gross worker exploitation at home and  genocidal subjugation abroad of subject peoples of European empires [30-43]. Worker resistance and activism led to some domestic amelioration, but what Hannah Arendt described as “the alliance between the mob and capital” generated jingoism, nationalism and fascism,  suppression of workers at home,  and jingoistic support for colonialism,  imperialism and awful high technology industrial wars [44-46]. The post-WW2 welfare state adoption was eventually corroded by the now dominant neoliberalism and compounding globalisation. Post-WW2 decolonization and self-determination was compromised by neo-colonialism and horrendous high technology wars for resources and hegemony by the US and its allies.

The currently dominant neoliberalism seeks to maximize the freedom of the smart and advantaged to exploit human and natural resources for private profit. In contrast,   social humanism (socialism, democratic socialism, eco-socialism, the welfare state) seeks to sustainably maximize human happiness, opportunity and dignity through evolving, culturally-cognizant intra-national and inter-national social contracts [47-53]. Neoliberalism has resulted in huge and growing wealth inequality that endangers democracy (Big Money buys public perception of reality and votes) and endangers the economy (the poor cannot afford the goods and services they produce), this impasse leading to demands for imposition of wealth taxes  [54-60]. Thus Oxfam reports (2020): “The wealthiest 1 per cent of people in the world have more than double the wealth of 6.9 billion people [90% of Humanity]” [61]. Poverty kills, and  each year an  estimated 15 million people die avoidably from deprivation and deprivation-exacerbated disease in the Developing World (minus China) in an ongoing Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust [38].

The Covid-19 pandemic has variously (depending upon the country) led to extraordinary emergency measures for the general good e.g. free testing for Covid-19 infection, free emergency medical treatment, a safety net for the unemployed, on-line  teaching and learning, and even emergency housing in 4 star hotels for the homeless. The big question is whether (1) the end of the Covid-19 in capitalist economies will see a “snap-back” to rampant neoliberalism and brutal austerity imposed on the poor to pay for the Covid-19-related debt (socialism for the rich) or  (2) the world seizes the opportunity created by Covid-19-related altruism to emplace a just and sustainable   Green New Deal for all of Humanity. Some features of this global Green New Deal are set out below together with a realistic assessment  of how rich Australia – that together with New Zealand (Aotearoa)  is among world leaders in hugely minimizing deaths from Covid-19 – is likely post-Covid-19 to revert to deadly,  business as usual, merciless and unsustainable neoliberal socialism for the rich.

(1). Needs based economy – food, shelter, health, education and culture versus the unnecessary, damaging and deadly  (e.g. smoking, alcohol, and speciescide -, pollution-, warming- , obesity-, ignorance-  and violence-promotion).

A remarkable feature of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the associated huge economic shut-down due to the need for social distancing,  was rapid introduction  of permitted “essential services”  that included health services, security and emergency services, public transport, key utilities, education (at home or on-line)  and production, distribution and sale of food, pharmaceuticals and other vital commodities . All other “add ons” were closed such as sport, beaches, places of worship, playgrounds, gyms, hairdressers, book shops, other specialist shops, art galleries, concerts,  coffee shops, restaurants,  bars,   tourism and even non-urgent, elective surgery for people in pain with bad joints and hips.    The concept of “essential services”  represents a silver lining in the Covoid-19 cloud that points to the need for a sustainable, rational, needs-based economy.

Recent reports collectively endorsed by thousands of expert scientists have warned the world that time is running out to save Humanity and the Biosphere from further catastrophic climate change and further massive biodiversity loss [1, 2, 5, 6 ]. Massive harm has already occurred due to continuing carbon pollution, population growth and economic growth,  and it is clear that zero growth in these areas is insufficient to halt and reverse this worsening disaster.  There must be negative carbon pollution (atmospheric CO2 draw-down to a safe and sustainable 300 parts per million CO2 from the present damaging  415 ppm CO2), negative population growth (population decline by about 50%), and negative economic growth (economic degrowth by about 50% with the burden largely borne by rich countries of the global North to permit countries of the global South to achieve a modest increase in standard of living) [59].

This “big picture” macroeconomic shopping list of major desired actions can be complemented by the microeconomic details of things we should not be doing and should be trying to prevent.  Thus, for example,    each year 1.7 million Americans die preventably from “lifestyle choices” and “political choices”, the breakdown (with some overlaps) including  (annual preventable deaths in brackets) (1) smoking (443,000), (2) adverse hospital events (440,000), (3) obesity (300,000), (4) air pollution (200,000), (5) alcohol (75,000), (6) lack of medical insurance (45,000), (7) illicit drugs (38,000) , (8) vehicle crashes (33,000), (9) guns (31,000), (10) suicide (30,000, 7,000 being US veterans), (11) avoidable under-5 year old US infant deaths (21,000), (12) homicide (15,000), and (13) jihadi terrorism (a mere 4) [62, 63]. Inspection of this shocking list  suggests that in a post-Covid-19 Green New Deal America and other countries should revert to a needs-based economy and specifically (1) ban smoking,  (2) better fund hospitals,  (3) ban high sugar processed foods and soft drinks, (4) curb private cars and stop all carbon fuel burning, (5) ban alcohol (6),  adopt free universal  medical care, (7) sensibly control illicit drugs, (8) ban private vehicles,  (9) ban guns, (10) massively address mental health and related socio-economic deficits, notably for veterans, (11) stop all avoidable under-5 year old US infant deaths by free  universal health care, (12) ban guns to cut homicide, and (13) educate the public through accessible ethical reportage so they realize that guns kill about 8,000 times more Americans each year in America than do jihadi non-state terrorists.

Professor Dabo Guan  (School of International Development, University of East Anglia, UK) (2016) has commented thus on inescapable limits to growth:  “For everyone in the world to have an American lifestyle, we would need seven planets, and three to live as Europeans” [64]. The US (population 331 million ) with 4.3% of the world’s population of  7,800 million consumes about 25% of the world’s resources. If  China (population 1,409 million) with 18.4 % of the world ‘s population aspired to a US-style share of global resources it would consume 100% of presently exploited  resources.  Further, the world economy needs to halve for sustainability [59] i.e. China alone with a US standard of living would require 2 planets.

Australia. Australia (population 25.5 million) , like New Zealand (Aotearoa; population4.9 million), has been remarkably successful in suppressing the Covid-19 outbreak. As of 3 May 2020,  there were 6,779 detected cases and 95 deaths (Australia), 1,487 detected cases and 20 deaths (New Zealand), 56,714 detected cases and 3,566 deaths (Canada), 182,260 detected cases and 28,131 deaths (the UK),    1,160,838 detected cases and 67,448 deaths (the US), and 3,484,632 detected cases and 244,791 deaths (the World) [65, 66]. So much for  the Anglosphere  5-eyes Intelligence-sharing Club (the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) that shares vital intelligence – surely nothing less “vital” than intelligence on how to save nearly 100,000 Anglosphere lives to date,  and perhaps as many as 200,000 Anglosphere lives by the time the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

Critically, the anti-science, anti-environment, pro-fossil fuels and climate criminal  Australian Coalition Government that has resolutely rejected scientific advice on climate change for decades, evidently became alarmed over the escalation of  Covid-19 deaths (and its future political implications) and in reverse of its steadfast anti-science position decided to be guided by the expert medical advice of the State and Federal chief medical officers over Covid-19. That single key decision- a no-brainer for sane Australians –  may have saved about 20,000 Australian lives and greatly boosted PM Scott Morrison’s electoral popularity. However utterly ignored by largely US-owned, US-beholden and US-dominated  Australian Mainstream media  is the horrible reality that the pro-fossil fuels and  climate criminal   Coalition is complicit in an annual carnage of 10,000 Australian deaths from air pollution and about 500 deaths from heat stress [67-69].

The Australian Government that criminally failed to impress on  its American friends how to avoid the present  American Holocaust of Covid-19 deaths, is nevertheless happy as a cowardly US lackey to back American state terrorist and mass murderer of Americans,  Donald Trump, in his attacks on China and the WHO over the Covid-19 pandemic, and his calls for an “independent inquiry” into the coronavirus outbreak. China is Australia’s biggest trading partner, and the Chinese have responded to this latest US lackey Australian China-bashing by suggesting that offended Chinese may decide not to send their children to Australian universities and not to  buy Australian food and wine (not to mention coal and iron ore) [70]. This latest Australian Government idiocy in concert with Trump American China-bashing idiocy may have a big impact on Australia’s post-Covid-19 economic recovery – another instance of what former Coalition PM Malcolm Fraser has described thus: “Slavish devotion to the US a  foreign policy folly for Australia” [71].

In relation to this “international inquiry” demand and criticism of the WHO by the US Alliance including Australia, the timeline of the responses of China, the WHO and Australia to Covid-19 is instructive (Australian events in bold): 1 December 2019 (first confirmed case of Covid-19 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China; 27 December 2019 (genetic testing identified the agent as a SARS-like coronavirus); 31 December 2019 (Chinese public and the (WHO notified of the coronavirus outbreak);  20 January 2020 (China notified the Chinese public and the world via the WHO of human-to-human  transmission of the virus); 23 January 2020 (China announced total economy-impacting and travel lockdown of Wuhan and thence extended this to 15 cities involving 57 million people); 25 January 2020 (first Australian case of being positive for Covid-19,  a traveller  from Wuhan); 26 January 2020 (China announced further strong health and quarantine measures for China including closure of universities and schools and extension of the Spring Festival holiday); 30 January 2020 (WHO declared the coronavirus  outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern); 1 February 2020 (Australia banned entry of foreign nationals from China, Australian travellers from China to self-quarantine for 14 days );   1 March 2020 (Australian travel ban on Iran); 5 March (Australian travel  ban on South Korea); 11 March 2020 (WHO declared a Covid-19 pandemic); 11 March 2020 (Australian travel ban on Italy); 20 March 2020 ( Australian ban on entry of all non-residents); 21 March 2020 (Australia introduced  strong social distancing rules that severely impacted the economy but refused to support closure of schools [72-74],  and indeed is presently threatening  dire financial penalties for private schools who don’t re- open) [75].

The lockdown and other key measures adopted by the Australian Coalition Government on expert medical advice have kept Australian deaths to an astonishing 95 (as of 3 May 2020) but Hong Kong (population 7.5 million),  that included a school closures policy, has done even better with only 4 deaths so far ) [76]. The lockdown is estimated to cost the world $9 trillion over 2 years or $1,1 25 billion per quarter [77, 78] and Covid-19 deaths in the February-April quarter-year  period have been re-assessed upwards to 318,000  [79]. The pandemic is estimated to have cost Australia 22% of its GDP [80]  i.e.  0.22 x US$1,434 billion = 0.22 x A$2,242 billion = US$315 billion = A$492 billion plus an increase in gross national debt from A$600 billion to about A$800 billion by about government spending of A$200 billion (US$128 billion)) on unemployment relief and other measures (a debt to be repaid by the poor, disadvantaged and future generations) i.e. a total cost of  A$692 billion or US$443 billion.

The seriousness of the pandemic can be measured in deaths (Deaths)  and the  cost of action (Action Cost) is measured in US dollars trying to prevent these deaths [77]. The Action Cost/Deaths ratio is $443 billion/200 deaths = $2.2 billion   spent per death for Australia  (assuming a total of 200 Australian deaths) as compared to $1,125 billion/318,000 = $1,125,000 million/ 0.318 million deaths = $3.5 million spent  per death for the World, or about 630 times less than that spent by Australia. Since the coronavirus does not discriminate between rich and poor, One Percenter-dominated Australia was prepared to spend 630 times more per realized Covid-19 death than the rest of the World.

Australia suffers 85,000 preventable deaths each year due to “lifestyle choices” and “political choices”, the breakdown (with some overlaps) including   (1) 26,000 (adverse hospital events), (2) 17,000 (obesity),  (3) 15,500 (smoking),  (4) 10,000 (pollutants from carbon fuel burning),  (5) 4,000 avoidable Indigenous Australian deaths),  (6). 5,600 (alcohol), (7) 2,900 (suicides with circa 80 being veterans) , (8) 1,400 (road deaths), (9) 1,900 (illicit opioids with 570 linked  to US restoration of the Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry), (10) 500 (heat stress), (11) 300 (homicides with about 80 being of women killed domestically), and (12) 4 (from  jihadi non-state terrorism in Australia)  [81-89].    While Australia has committed about A$700 billion to tackling the Covid-19 crisis that has so far  killed 95 people, and has spent about A$200 billion since 9-11 addressing 4 deaths due to jihadi terrorism in Australia,  it resolutely refuses to take requisitely massive effective action on these other vastly more deadly and annually recurrent matters.

The neoliberal Australian Coalition Government is very likely to  institute a post-Covid-19 “snap-back” to business as usual with re-instatement of neoliberal “socialism for the rich” to encourage business re-investment,  and to ensure that  the young, poor and disadvantaged  under a heavy “austerity” regime pay for the hugely increased national debt. Indeed The Australia Coalition Government is likely to retract the unemployment relief payment that it doubled during the Covid-19 crisis (this payment  had not increased for 25 years,  during which time Australia had a record period of uninterrupted  economic growth). And , as outlined below, Australia will almost certainly continue as one of the world’s worst per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) polluters and environmental  vandals.

(2). Zero emissions, nuclear weapons ban, negative GHG emissions, 300 ppm CO2 for a safe planet, and Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against climate criminal countries.

Humanity is acutely and existentially threatened by nuclear weapons and climate change [91]. Stephen Hawking has put our dilemma most succinctly: “ “We see great peril if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change” [29].  Humanity needs to urgently  ban nuclear weapons and cease greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution  [92]. Indeed cessation of GHG pollution is not enough – for a safe and sustainable planet for all peoples and all species we must have negative GHG emissions by drawing down atmospheric CO2 to about 300 parts per million carbon dioxide (300 ppm CO2) from the present damaging and dangerous  415 ppm CO2 [90, 91]. Assisting in that process will be renewable energy, renewable energy-powered public transport, re-afforestation, needs-based economies , economic de-growth and a long-term project of reducing global population.

Australia.    Australia is among world leaders in 16 areas of climate criminality, specifically  (1) annual per capita greenhouse gas pollution, (2) live methanogenic livestock exports,  (3) natural gas exports, (4) recoverable shale gas reserves that can be accessed by hydraulic fracturing (fracking), (5) coal exports, (6) land clearing, deforestation and ecocide, (7) speciescide or species extinction, (8) coral reef destruction, (9) whale killing  and extinction threat through global warming impacting on krill stocks, (10) terminal carbon pollution budget exceedance,   (11) per capita Carbon Debt, (12) ultimately GHG generating iron ore exports, (13) climate change inaction, (14) climate genocide and approach towards omnicide and terracide, (15) increasing GHG pollution despite Paris commitments to lower GHG pollution, and (16) complicity in 9 million annual air pollution deaths from burning carbon fuels, Australia’s share being 75,000  such deaths overseas and 10,000 deaths  Domestically   [ 89, 93-99]. The pro-fossil fuels, anti-science, climate criminal  Australian Coalition Government is substantially outright climate change denialist,  and 100% effective climate change denialist by rejecting substantial action on climate change.

Australia has only  0.3% of the world’s population but it is responsible for  4.5% of  global greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution (with its Exported GHG pollution included )[89, 93].Critically, Australia is resolutely committed to neoliberal economics,  endless greed, endless expansion and massive environmental vandalism. Just over  50% of the adult Australian population give “2 party preferred”  support to the present Coalition Government in Australia’s compulsory and preferential voting system (that adds second preferences to the primary vote  if no candidate gains 50% of the primary vote). There is presently just under 50% of such “2 party preferred” support for the Opposition Labor Party. However while Labor  recognizes the climate action imperative and supports 100% renewable energy, it  blindly supports the climate criminal Coalition Government’s position of unlimited coal, gas and methanogenically-derived meat exports. Only the Australian Greens (10% primary electoral support with most Greens “second preferences” going to Labor) wants  a cessation of Australia’s huge Domestic and Exported GHG pollution.

The only thing that realistically will change the racist, greedy, dog-in-the-manger, and climate criminal position of neoliberal Australia and like climate criminal countries  will be resolute global action by Green Tariffs, International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutions, International Court of Justice (ICJ)  litigations, and comprehensive Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against people, politicians, parties, collectives, corporations and countries disproportionately involved in deadly climate criminality. War is the penultimate in racism and genocide the ultimate in racism. Wars are about resources and Australia and other resolutely climate criminal countries are engaged in a greed-driven War on Terra (War on the Planet, War on Humanity and the Biosphere) associated with a worsening Climate Genocide en route to a sustainable  human population of only 0.5-1.0 billion in 2100 [27].

(3). Universal Basic Income (UBI), a Green New Deal and elimination of poverty.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been associated with massive economic lockdown and massive unemployment that is variously about  10-20%. Rich   Western countries variously have social safety nets involving disability pensions, aged pensions and unemployment benefits. People in the working age group of  15-64 represent about 65% of the population in ageing Western countries but  many in this group are not working e.g.  because they are full-time students, doing home  duties or  people variously incapacitated  and disabled. Pre-Covid-19 about 50% of the citizens of rich Western were working with unemployment rates of about 5% , but economic lockdown has resulted in huge increases in unemployment to circa 20%. Thus the proportion of people not in work and variously supported by savings, families, charities  or the state in these rich countries has increased from about 5% pre-Covid-19 to about 60%. Now.

A silver lining in the tragic dark cloud of the Covid-19 pandemic is massive societal altruism and support for the circa 60% people not in work. From this remarkable altruism it is but a small step to return to the tribal circumstances of our forebears prior to the Agrarian Revolution 10,000 years ago and societal support for 100% of the people of the tribe. Of course all members of the tribe were expected to make some contribution within their means to the welfare of the tribe. Indeed given the relatively slow rate of evolution of Homo sapiens, one supposes that this mutual altruism in tribal groups his innate in us all. Altruism has evolved genetically through selection of favourably mutated genes (DNA) or through societal selection of favourable behaviours (memes) [100].

Universal basic income (UBI) (aka basic income, citizen’s income, citizen’s basic income, basic income guarantee, basic living stipend, guaranteed annual income, or universal demogrant) describes this system of a state-supported basic survival income for everyone regardless of means or indeed of any work contribution requirement [101].

British writer William Gerhardie in his remarkable  book “God’s Fifth Column” [102, 103] concludes his analysis of the origins of the catastrophic WW1 (that was followed by  the influenza pandemic that killed up to 100 million people) with a vision of peaceful and just  future involving a Universal Basic Income: “God’s Fifth Column, sabotaging all inconclusive formations, works towards the building of a human society resting upon the only foundation acceptable to God. Having considered the self-satisfied physiognomy of the Age during the last 5 decades, foaming at the mouth in the present sixth, the question naturally poses itself: Do you want to go back to it? The answer will probably be that, in so far as the preceding five decades have caused the explosion of the 1940s, they may not be repeated. Everyone, save the people living deceptively on their memories, wants a new world. What kind of world is it to be? We want a world in which the gold standard is replaced by the human standard, the dollar unit by the human unit. We want a world in which every adult human being receives as his birthright, in universal currency, say, one dollar a day, that dollar being a regulated in relation to world-market prices as to form the irreducible standard of his daily subsistence, the inducement to work springing, not from abject necessity but from the common human wish to augment his comfort and embellish his existence …we want scientific world control on the one hand, and personal liberty on the other… We want the League of Nations palace to expand into a World Academy of scientists and economists instructed so to balance the housekeeping accounts of the planet as to encourage, within an adjustable framework of world control, the free play for private initiative. We want them to do precisely that which made Goethe wonder why so comparatively easy an equation should have been beyond the wit of man to work out and maintain: the balancing of an automatic system whereby the violent swinging of the pendulum, whether of politics or economics, is perpetually neutralised, and the defeat of liberty by oligarchy perpetually obviated. The demand is for stability ensuring mobility; uniformity of educational prestige ensuring individual diversity; the economic revolution of universal endowment ensuring a contented conservatism; the pooling of national sovereignties in a supranational order accentuating, far from obliterating, the true cultural development of individual nations. We want the common people to come into their legacy of leisure and culture in order to shed their commonness and become uncommon. We want the meek to inherit the earth. We want our nations to inherit and cherish their cultures” (pages 341-343, [1]).

As the world comes out of the devastating Covid-19 pandemic, all decent people will want “a new world” of sustainability and economic fairness and a UBI could be a key element of such a Green New Deal [104-107]. In short,  under a UBI scenario all people  would have a basic, non-means-tested income that would cover basic liveability and would be complemented by state guarantees of housing, medical care and education from critical infant care to life-long learning. Rather than a society being based (as at present) on maximal freedom for an advantaged minority to exploit natural and human resources for personal profit, society would be organized along Social Humanist (Socialist, Eco-Socialist, Welfare State) lines to sustainably maximize happiness, dignity and opportunity for everyone through evolving , culturally-sensitive intra-national and inter-national social contracts [49, 50].

People vary in their abilities and drive but one imagines that there would be a general social expectation for everyone to at least modestly contribute to society. Caring and other voluntary work, casual employment, part-time employment, home work coupled with child care, State limitation of maximum working hours, and the demonstrable needs to halve population and economic output (economic de-growth)  are all examples of how citizen contribution to a UBI society could be quite modest. Indeed a significant subset of society doing no work would be significantly contributing  to the desired goal of environmental  sustainability. One further notes that caring work to assist  the young and elderly is arguably  among the most valuable work in present society, requires the least training and is the most poorly remunerated.

Australia. Australia has a population of 25.5 million of which 16.7 million are of working age (15-64 years old) (65.5% of the total population ), 13.0 million are employed or under-employed (51.0%), 0.7 million are unemployed (but seeking work) (2.7%), 3.0 million are of working age but unable to work from circumstances (11.8%), and 8.8 million are too young or too old to work (34.5%) [109]. Thus roughly half the population was employed prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. However the economic lockdown measures  taken to contain Covid-19 disaster has meant a huge increase in unemployment to a predicted 20% and hence about 60% of the population reliant on savings, charity or state support. Thus the Covid-19 pandemic has produced an incomplete and variable version of UBI in Australia,  but will this survive the predicted “snap-back” from “lockdown”? I fear not.

The neoliberal Australian Coalition Government rules one of the richest  countries in the world (per capita GDP $54,000) [110] but has a very strong –  if deliberately not directly articulated –  sense of Them and Us that is a left-over from its genocidally racist and British imperial past. Thus under both Coalition and Labor governments, the unemployment relief had effectively remained the same for 25 years with consequent mass poverty (3 million Australians, including 1 million children,  live in poverty) and the Coalition describing the  unemployed as “leaners” not “lifters”. However instant mass unemployment  due to Covid-19-related lockdown meant that about 1 million so-called “lifters” became unemployed and the Coalition Government immediately doubled the “Job Seeker” relief rate from an unliveable  circa  A$250 per week to circa A$510 per week [111]. To minimize huge public queues of the unemployed and to halve the actual unemployment rate of circa 20% down to a better Public Relations (PR)-cognizant  10%, the Government introduced a Job Keeper payment of $750 per week  to be paid to recently sacked employees via their former employer (but excluding many casual workers) [112]. Indeed this Covid-19 pandemic-inspired altruism does not extend  to a large body of refugees, migrant workers and international students who will get A$0 per week to live on.

The US-Versus -Them-ism (UVTI or in a word, Apartheid) of the neoliberal Australian Coalition Government denies the Covid-19 pandemic mantra of “we are all in this together” – some are evidently more in this than others. Indeed Australia’s eminent and much-admired former Human Rights Commissioner, Professor  Gillian Triggs, accurately declared that the Coalition “was ideologically opposed to human rights” [113]. The most fundamental human right is the right to life but this is significantly denied Indigenous Australians for whom there is a circa 10 year lower life expectancy as compared to non-Indigenous Australians. On a global comparative basis, annual  avoidable deaths from deprivation and deprivation-exacerbated disease total about 4,200 as compared to zero (0) for non-Indigenous Australians. Annual avoidable deaths as a percentage of population is 0.0 % (for non-Indigenous Australians), 0.02% (for Australians as a whole),  and 0.6% (Indigenous Australians) as compared to 0.4% for impoverished South Asians and 1.0% for even more impoverished sub-Saharan Africans [38] – and yet Australia is one of the world’s  richest countries (per capita GDP $54,000) [110].

In August 2016 the Chair of the Australian Coalition Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council, Warren Mundine, told the ABC  Q&A TV program that A$30 billion is spent every year on 500,000 Indigenous people in Australia. However careful analysis revealed that only A$5.6 billion of this was Indigenous-specific expenditure. Thus in 2020 there are about 700,000 Indigenous Australians and one can estimate that collectively they receive A$5.6 billion x 700,000/500,000 = A$7.8 billion maximum spent on addressing 4,200 Indigenous  avoidable deaths from deprivation or A$1.9 million per death. In stark contrast,  assuming Australia’s deaths in a year-long Covid-19 crisis total only 200, Australia would have spent US$443 billion [80, 114] addressing a 200-death crisis or $2.2 billion per death i.e. 1,000 times more. Why this huge, 1,000-fold  disparity in annual Australian expenditure  on saving White lives in the once-off Covid-19 crisis   as compared to a miserable  annual Australian expenditure  on saving Black lives in the ongoing Aboriginal Genocide? The answer is glaringly obvious – to politically correct (PC racist) White Australia, White lives matter 1,000 times more than Black lives.

Indeed this week the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Victoria, Dr Annaliese van Diemen, tweeted the following accurate and pointed remark: “Sudden arrival of an invader from another land, decimating populations, creating terror. Forces the population to make enormous sacrifices & completely change how they live in order to survive. COVID19 or Cook 1770?” Enraged, stupid and ignorant Coalition MPs, including the PM, falsely attacked her statement as false with some demanding her resignation or dismissal [115]. However Dr Annaliese van Diemen was correct. Captain James Cook, a great cartographer but also a racist, imperialist and continental-scale thief, stepped ashore and claimed an asserted  “terra nullius” Australia for Britain on 29 April 1770.  About 8 years later, on Invasion Day, 26 January 1788,  the full-blown British invasion commenced and with it the Aboriginal  Genocide that was qualitatively the worst genocidal atrocity in all of human history. In the following century the Indigenous population decreased from about 1 million to 0.1 million through violence, dispossession, deprivation and introduced disease. In 1788 there were 350-700 distinct Indigenous languages and dialects of which only 150 survive today and all but 20 are endangered. There is an ongoing Aboriginal Ethnocide promoted by government racism,  opposition to bilingual education,  opposition to  remote communities on tribal lands inhabited for up to 65,000 years by the world’s oldest continuous cultures, removal of Indigenous children from their mothers at record levels, and dire socio-economic conditions for Indigenous Australians [116].

Of course it is not just Indigenous Australians and those living in dire poverty who are treated as “untermenschen”, “subhumans”, “unpeople”, “useless people” or “leaners” by the machinery of state. Thus each year 85,000 Australians die preventably  from “lifestyle choices” or “political choices” and these include 22,000 dying from  smoking (15,500), alcohol (5,600) and drugs (about 2,000) [81-89].  However Australian Governments will not violate neoliberal freedom by banning deadly agents such as tobacco and alcohol. Further, with a extraordinary  total of only about 100 Covid-19  deaths in Australia [117], and many states or territories now registering zero (0) new Covid-19 cases [65], there is a big move to lift the social distancing-based lockdown (“lives” versus “livelihoods”) , with the first beneficiaries already being bars,  restaurants and other social venues that are inevitably associated with licit drugs such as alcohol and nicotine and much less deadly illicit drugs. Indeed the Northern Territory that has a disproportionately big licit and illicit drug problem and a large Indigenous population that is negatively impacted by these scourges, has been the first Australian jurisdiction to substantially lift lockdown constraints.

Post-Covid-19 Indigenous Australians living in one of the world’s richest countries  will continue to suffer avoidable deaths from deprivation at a rate between that of impoverished South Asia and even more impoverished sub-Saharan Africa – racist passive mass murder by a politically correct racist (PC racist) White Australia. And given this national commitment to committing and ignoring  passive mass murder of Indigenous people one supposes that post-Covid-19 there will be a general rapid return to neoliberal enrichment of  the rich at the expense of the poor, even greater austerity, and continued climate criminality but with a now greatly increased national debt to be borne by future generations.  Pro-coal, pro-gas and pro-oil Australia is among world leaders in 16 areas of climate criminality [89, 93-99] and as Australia comes out of lockdown with gigantic debt and massive  unemployment there will unfortunately be little political stomach among the  Mainstream-dominating political Lib-Labs (the Liberal Party-National Party Coalition and the Labor Party) for requisite massive  action on climate change.

(4). Free university education, free life-long learning, public education, Mainstream truth-telling  and an informed electorate.

Even if the post-Covid-19 world adopts a Green New Deal, UBI and a poverty-eliminating social humanist  safety net, human greed remains   and the problem of political dominance by wealthy individuals  or corporations remains. Indeed in his seminal book ”Social Humanism. A New Metaphysics”,  Professor Brian Ellis referred to this system of political perversion by Big Money as “Corporatocracy” [49, 50]. Indeed Western democracies can be seen to have become Kleptocracies, Plutocracies, Murdochracies, Lobbyocracies, Dollarocracies and Corporatocracies in which Big Money purchases people, politicians, parties, policies, public perception of reality , votes, more political power and thence more private profit. As proposed by Thomas Piketty, annual wealth taxes can  partially address wealth inequality-enabling Corporatocracy,  but another partial solution lies in truth-telling alternatives to the lying by commission and lying by omission of mendacious, One Percenter-dominated Mainstream media [117-119],  and free education and free university education in particular for an informed electorate. Indeed education is a basic human right,  and all education can and should be free from infant education to life-long learning [120-122].

In short, every country needs a big, well-funded  cohort of science, engineering, medical and other scholarly experts for various economic, health , security and prestige reasons  – but why should impoverished students have to pay for it? Indeed some 25 countries  already make university education free. Whatever  the name –  Accredited Remote Learning (ARL), Reading Only Tertiary Education (ROTE),  Distance Education –  accredited, top quality,  off-campus,  on-line teaching and learning for lecture-based courses can be provided for circa 1%  of the present outrageous cost of ostensible on-campus tertiary education.  Indeed the Covid-19 crisis and closure of campuses for social distancing reasons has required and demonstrated the utility  of off-campus online education  [120-122]. Top quality, accredited, and free tertiary education – and indeed top quality free education from infant schooling to life-long learning – should be a key part of the post-Covid-19 Green New Deal.

The Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated the need for an informed public in order to get urgent and correct political action in a deadly crisis. Thus inspection of the global Covid -19 deaths data (3 May 2020)  for medically sophisticated countries reveals astonishing national differences (Covid-19 deaths and deaths per million (/M) of population  in brackets): Taiwan (6, 0.3/M), Hong Kong (4, 0.5/M), Singapore (17, 3/M),  China (4,663, 3/M), Australia (95, 4/M), New Zealand (20, 4/M), Japan (474, 4/M), South Korea (250, 5/M), Cuba (66, 6/M), Russia (1,222, 8/M) … World (244,760, 31.4/M)… Germany (6,812, 81/M), Canada (3,566, 94/M), US (67,444, 204/M), Ireland (1,286, 260/M), Sweden (2,669, 264/M),  France (24,760, 379/M), UK (28,131, 414/M), Italy (28,710, 475/M), Spain (25,100, 537/M) [65, 66].

Thus Taiwan (6, 0.3/M), rapidly implemented travel bans, lockdown, testing and tracing but kept schools open but with temperature checks,  spatial separation of students and dividers on desks to separate students [123]. Hong Kong  had a similarly rapid and strong lockdown and closed schools and universities [124]. In contrast Australia (95, 4/M) is 8 times worse than Hong Kong but waited until mid-March to ban foreign visitors, with the Coalition Federal Government opposing school closure but Victoria still supporting school closure [125]. China (4,663, 3/M) also achieved a good outcome with rapid and tough lockdown,  contrary to the dishonest badmouthing from Donald Trump  whose ignorance and idiocy  has resulted in a disaster for the US (67,444 deaths, 204/M). Russia (1,222, 8/M) has kept in touch with the pack of East Asian and Australasian best performers.  The shocking results in Western Europe evidently resulted from tardy and insufficient responses. Thus the UK apparently toyed with  the idea of inaction to permit a speculated “herd immunity” to develop. However the release of a paper by expert UK epidemiologists in mid-March prompted firm UK action including closure of schools and universities – but it came too late with the UK result (28,131 deaths, 414/M) being 100 times worse than that of fellow 5-Eyes Club Anglosphere democracies Australia (95, 4/M) and New Zealand (20, 4/M) [126-128].

Ignorance can be deadly in a virus pandemic. Compounding ignorance is deliberate falsehood and political spin. Thus Trump America and its allies (notably US lackey Australia) are calling for an “international inquiry” into the coronavirus source whereas there is already a huge international scientific effort (with a massive contributions from China) to sequence thousands of coronavirus variants and hence to attempt to establish exactly that [129]. Further, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has extraordinarily cut off funding for US-China research into how coronavirus spread from bats to humans [130]. In response to outrageous US anti-China “fake news” alleging Chinese weaponizing of coronavirus, Andersen et al in a detailed paper in the prestigious Nature Medicine state that: “SARS-CoV-2 is the seventh coronavirus known to infect humans; SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 can cause severe disease, whereas HKU1, NL63, OC43 and 229E are associated with mild symptoms. Here we review what can be deduced about the origin of SARS-CoV-2 from comparative analysis of genomic data. We offer a perspective on the notable features of the SARS-CoV-2 genome and discuss scenarios by which they could have arisen. Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus” [131].

Australia.  Pre-Covid-19 Australia had a A$32 billion Education Export industry based on offering education from schools to universities to a pre-Covid-19  overseas student body totalling 0.4 million. An  Australian Government Parliamentary Library analysis: “The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that, in 2017–18, international education was worth $32.4 billion to the Australian economy, up from $28.1 billion in 2016–17… Higher education accounted for 68.5 per cent ($22.2 billion) of international education export income in 2017–18, and 45.6 per cent of all overseas student enrolments in 2018… [In 2018] there were 398,563 higher education enrolments by people in Australia on student visas” [132]. These students pay for food, accommodation and other services and also contribute hugely to the Australian economy as casual workers. However the Covid-19 pandemic and the need to transfer to on-line delivery for safety reasons exposed the sheer fraudulence of the Australian Education Export industry and indeed the whole system of non-free, full fee-paying  university education in Australia.

The English reading skill for overseas students is much greater than their understanding of spoken English with an Australian accent. Further, on-campus teaching typically involves downloading lecture notes and other teaching materials so most overseas and Australian students are actually effectively doing off-campus on-line learning but are being charged tens of thousands of Australian dollars per course unit for de facto  fictional on-campus tuition. In short, the Australian Education Export industry is a gigantic scam that has now been exposed by the Covid-19 crisis. Australian universities, scientists, artists and intellectuals are hated by the Stupid, Ignorant and Egregiously Greedy (SIEG) Coalition Government and have taken a big hit in the Covid-19 crisis,  but the after the crisis passes the fraudulent treatment of Australian and overseas students will continue. And of course endlessly mendacious Mainstream media, politician, academic and  commentariat presstitutes will resolutely keep on ignoring the gigantic scam. The extremely bad treatment of overseas students by the Australian Government during the Covid-19 crisis (notably excluding them from unemployment relief) may well kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

The Australian Federal Coalition Government and the Australian State and Territory Governments are under considerable pressure to start relaxing tough social distancing measures. There has been a big debate between those supporting school closure and those opposed [125]. This has now caused a clear rift between the Coalition Federal Government that is adamant that schools should remain open and the Victorian State Government  that, guided by the Victorian Chief Medical Officer, is insistent that schools must remain closed (except for children with special needs or with parents working in key essential services). However a large study conducted by German virology experts has concluded that children were just as likely to spread the virus as adults and that schools should remain closed [133], the abstract of their paper stating : “Data on viral load, as estimated by real-time RT-PCR threshold cycle values from 3,712COVID-19 patients were analysed to examine the relationship between patient age andSARS-CoV-2 viral load. Analysis of variance of viral loads in patients of different age categories found no significant difference between any pair of age categories including children. In particular, these data indicate that viral loads in the very young do not differ significantly from those of adults. Based on these results, we have to caution against an unlimited re-opening of schools and kindergartens in the present situation. Children may be as infectious as adults” [134]. Free education for all increases the probability that the voters and the politicians will listen to the scientific experts.

Final comments.

UK humanitarian writer George Monbiot has called for a post-Covid-19 Green New Deal (1 May 2020): “In other words, let’s have what many people were calling for long before this disaster hit: a green new deal. But please let’s stop describing it as a stimulus package. We have stimulated consumption too much over the past century, which is why we face environmental disaster. Let us call it a survival package, whose purpose is to provide incomes, distribute wealth and avoid catastrophe, without stoking perpetual economic growth. Bail out the people, not the corporations. Bail out the living world, not its destroyers. Let’s not waste our second chance.” [107].

Similarly acclaimed Indian writer and humanitarian activist Arundhati Roy has urged a post-Covid-19 transformation (4 April 2020): “Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could… Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it” [135].

Decent Humanity must resolutely demand a humane, equitable  and sustainable New Deal, a Green New Deal, for all of Humanity in the post-Covid-19 World.


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[114].  Neville Spencer, “Covid-19 debt crisis: is Modern Monetary Theory a solution?”, Green Left Weekly, 28 April 2020: .


[115]. “Victorian Deputy Chief Medical Officer sparks Opposition outrage by comparing coronavirus to arrival of Captain Cook”, ABC News,  30 April 2020: .

[116].  “Aboriginal Genocide”: .

[117]. “Mainstream media censorship”:  ;

[118]. “Mainstream media lying”:  ;

[119]. Gideon Polya, “Mainstream media fake news through lying by omission”., MWC News, 1 April 2017: .

[120]. “Free university education”: .

[121].Gideon Polya, “Free university education”, MWC News, 2 February 2016: .

[122]. Gideon Polya, “50 Reasons For Free University Education As We Bequeath The Young A Dying Planet”, Countercurrents, 19 March 2017: .

[123]. Faris Mokhtar and Sybilla Gross, “Should schools close to fight virus? These places say no”, Bloomberg, 28 March 2020: .


[124]. Elizabeth Gibney, “Whose coronavirus strategy worked best? Scientists hunt most effective strategies”, Nature , 27 April 2020: .

[125]. Gideon Polya, “COVID-19 Pandemic & Coronavirus Suppression – Should Australian Schools Close? ”, Countercurrents, 22 March 2020: .

[126]. Neil M. Ferguson and 30 colleagues. “Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID-19 mortality and health care demand”, Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team, 16 March 2020:

[127]. Chelsea Bruce-Lockhart, John Burn-Murdoch and Alex Barker, “The shocking coronavirus study that rocked the UK and US”, Financial Times, 19 March 2020: .

[128]. Gideon Polya, “UK-Australia COVID-19 deaths, deprivation deaths in Developing Countries, Indigenous avoidable deaths”, Global Research, 8 April 2020: .

[129]. Jonathan Corum and Carl Zimmer, “How coronavirus mutates and spreads”, New York Times, 30 April 2020: .

[130].Meredith Wadman and Jon Cohen, “NIH’s sudden axing of bat coronavirus grant a “horrible precedent ” and might break rules, critics say ”, Science, 30 April 2020:  .  


[131]. Andersen et al , “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2”, Nature Medicine, volume 26, pages 450–452, 2020: .

[132]. Hazel Ferguson and Henry Sherrell, “Overseas students in Australian higher education: a quick guide”, Parliament of Australia, 20 June 2019: .

[133]. Kate Connolly and Kim Willsher, “European schools get ready to reopen despite concern about pupils spreading Covid-19”, Guardian, 2 May 2020: .


[134]. Christian Drosten et al., “An analysis of SARS-CoV-2 viral load by patient age”,  2020: .


[135]. Arundhati Roy, “The epidemic is a portal”, Financial Times, 4 April 2020: .


Dr Gideon Polya taught science students at a major Australian university for 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text “Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds” (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London , 2003). He has published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: ); see also his contributions “Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality” in “Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics” (edited by Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007:   ) and “Ongoing Palestinian Genocide” in “The Plight of the Palestinians (edited by William Cook, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2010: ). He has published a revised and updated 2008 version of his 1998 book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” (see:  ) as biofuel-, globalization- and climate-driven global food price increases threaten a greater famine catastrophe than the man-made famine in British-ruled India that killed 6-7 million Indians in the “forgotten” World War 2 Bengal Famine (see recent BBC broadcast involving Dr Polya, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and others:  ;  Gideon Polya:  ; Gideon Polya Writing: ; Gideon Polya, Wikipedia: ) . When words fail one can say it in pictures – for images of Gideon Polya’s huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see: and  .




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