Choosing between people or the economy has become a persistent theme in political debates as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. Politicians in the UK are rejecting a free school meals plan because it would “destroy” the economy and increase “dependency”. The South African President cited “fiscal challenges” as “dictating” the government’s ability to extend its COVID-19 income support grant. The Colombian Vice-President has said that no State can afford to cover people’s basic needs.
These false “people vs the economy” dichotomies overlook a fundamental truth: people are the economy. There is no healthy economy without a healthy population where everyone can enjoy their socioeconomic rights – such as to housing, food, education and decent work. They also shine a spotlight on the fundamental injustice at the core of our current economic model—a model that results in scarcity and precarity for the many, and unimaginable wealth and privilege for the few.
Read this new report from CESR and Christian Aid