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  • John Spritzler

WHAT'S THE EGALITARIAN WAY OF MITIGATING AN EPIDEMIC?

Updated: Mar 16

Mitigating the epidemic (i.e., slowing down its spread) by closing enterprises and having people stay at home and work from home when possible (passenger jet pilots and flight attendants and mechanics cannot "work from home") is medically effective and necessary. But in our money-based economic system of class inequality this mitigation, by shutting down many economic enterprises, deprives working people of the income they need if, as is often the case, they don't get paid for not working. Wait staff in restaurants certainly don't get the tips they need when the restaurants are ordered to serve only "take out," as happened in Boston recently. Presently, our ruling class is making some very modest gestures to mitigate the economic hardship caused by the mitigation of the Coronavirus epidemic (because it fears the loss of legitimacy it would incur if it didn't do this.) But it's too little too late for many people. The problem is that our money-based economic system of class inequality is an obstacle--the MAJOR obstacle--to doing the right thing.

THE MORALLY RIGHT WAY TO DO CORONAVIRUS MITIGATION IS THE EGALITARIAN WAY The morally right way to handle the economic aspect of this Coronavirus epidemic mitigation is to apply the egalitarian economic principle: "From each according to reasonable ability, to each according to need or reasonable desire with scarce things equitably rationed according to need." What would this mean? For starters, it would mean that people whose job is required to be done away from home (such as health care providers and people who make food and shelter available as needed) and who are not at too high a personal risk from working at it would still work, and be able to take for free what they need or reasonably desire with scarce things equitably rationed according to need.


Also, people who continue to work their regular job from home according to reasonable ability would be able to take for free what they need or reasonably desire with scarce things equitably rationed according to need. It would mean that people whose regular jobs are not among those that are required and who would not be at too great a personal health risk would--if and when there is a need for it--be asked to help out if they have the appropriate skills in providing health care or making food or shelter available. People who help out this way according to reasonable ability--or who just make it clear that they are *willing* to help out this way if called upon to do so--would also be able to take for free what they need or reasonably desire with scarce things equitably rationed according to need. Additionally, it would mean that people whose reasonable ability to contribute is zero (such as children, people who for whatever reason are unable to contribute) and people who are taking care of others, and people who are above the retirement age and who contributed reasonably when younger would also be able to take for free what they need or reasonably desire with scarce things equitably rationed according to need.


And finally, it would mean that freeloaders--people who could but who refuse to contribute reasonably according to ability--would NOT be able to take for free what they need or reasonably desire with scarce things equitably rationed according to need. They could barter for things if they wished, but that's all.

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