Covid-19 Makes the Rich Richer, the Poor Poorer: That is Capitalism


“When the laws undertake to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of the society have a right to complain of the injustice to their government.” — President Andrew Jackson

P B Shelly invoked an injunction from the Bible to explain the effect of capitalism in widening the gap between haves and have-nots. “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer,” said the British poet, borrowing an aphorism from the Gospel of Mathews, which says: To him that hath, more shall be given; and from him that hath not, the little that he hath shall be taken away. The Covid-19 proved it.

Virus of Inequality

The worst impact of the Corona is that it has widened the gap between the already existing huge class-inequality: rich got richer, poor became poorer. The Pandemic has already claimed over 2 million lives after having attacked 100 million so far. No known past catastrophes, Great Wars and Crusades included, caused such human loss.

In the US alone, 40 million lower echelon people lost their jobs in the past year as a result of the Corona. On the other hand, the rich increased their fortune by more than $600 billion. Jeff Bezos of Amazon saw his worth increased by nearly $50 billion, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer earned $16 billion, Elon Musk and Sheldon Adelson of the Casino world together made $23 billion, while the Zoom owner netted $2.5 billion, just to name a few.

Globally, the Oxfam calculates the gain of the wealthy at nearly $4 trillion in 10 months of the Pandemic plague between March and December 2020.  But it will take decades for the poor to bail themselves, if they at all do, out of the plight they suffered from the scourge of the Corona.

According to an Oxfam survey, 87% of the nearly 300 economists from 79 countries believe that the pandemic will create an increase in income inequality. They also think that racial inequality will rise as a result of the pandemic. 67% of them think their governments do not have an adequate plan that can tackle inequalities. [1]

“COVID makes the rich even richer–and takes away from workers,” writes Chris Tomlinson in the Houston Chronicle on December 29, 2020.[2]

Situation in South Asia is rather pathetic. “Millions had risen out of Poverty. Coronavirus Is pulling them back,” writes journalist Maria Abi-Habib, based in New Delhi, referring to the sufferings of the poor in the region. [3]

The Oxfam calls it “The virus of inequality.” The US would have seen 22,000 lesser victims among the poor, largely Blacks and Latinos, if they could afford or had improved treatment facilities as did the Whites. Could a black come out of his Corona bed within two days as did Donald Trump? Or the Johnson? Or the Trudeau? Or the (Tom) Hanks?

The Covid-19 brought the most affected categories to their knees. If jobs were equally divided between genders, there would be 112 million fewer women to risk losing it, asserts Oxfam. It also says that the Pandemic will go down in history because the “inequality will continue to increase in almost all countries of the world.”

The scenario will continue when governments disproportionately give more to help the rich and large corporations. Again, the irony is when the stock market rebounds, the rich has the money to invest and profit, while the lower classed do not.  Additionally, the rich-friendly tax system keeps the billionaires at the top.    

To fix this economic anomaly, Oxfam urges the governments to invest more in public services and the richest individuals and corporations to pay fair share of their tax”

US President Andrew Jackson (1829-1832) wrote while giving Veto on an economic bill, “When the laws undertake to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of the society have a right to complain of the injustice to their government.”

R Chowdhury is a former soldier and a decorated freedom fighter in the war of liberation of Bangladesh. Enjoys retired life in reading, writing and gardening. Writes on contemporary issues of Bangladesh; published a few books so far.






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