According to the International Labour Organization, “1.6 billion informal economy workers (representing the most vulnerable in the labour market), out of a worldwide total of 2 billion and a global workforce of 3.3 billion, have suffered massive damage to their capacity to earn a living. This is due to lockdown measures and/or because they work in the hardest-hit sectors.” According to the World Food Programme, a quarter of a billion additional people will be pushed to hunger and 300,000 could die every day. These, too, are pandemics that are killing people. Killing cannot be a prescription for saving lives.
Health is about life and living systems. There is no “life” in the paradigm of health that Bill Gates and his ilk are promoting and imposing on the entire world. Gates has created global alliances to impose top-down analysis and prescriptions for health problems. He gives money to define the problems, and then he uses his influence and money to impose the solutions. And in the process, he gets richer. His “funding” results in an erasure of democracy and biodiversity, of nature and culture. His “philanthropy” is not just philanthrocapitalism. It is philanthroimperialism.
The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown have revealed even more clearly how we are being reduced to objects to be controlled, with our bodies and minds as the new colonies to be invaded. Empires create colonies, colonies enclose the commons of the indigenous living communities and turn them into sources of raw material to be extracted for profits. This linear, extractive logic is unable to see the intimate relations that sustain life in the natural world. It is blind to diversity, cycles of renewal, values of giving and sharing, and the power and potential of self-organizing and mutuality. It is blind to the waste it creates and to the violence it unleashes. The extended coronavirus lockdown has been a lab experiment for a future without humanity.
On March 26, at a peak of the coronavirus pandemic and in the midst of the lockdown, Microsoft was granted a patent by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Patent WO 060606 declares that “Human Body Activity associated with a task provided to a user may be used in a mining process of a cryptocurrency system….”