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Monday, February 15, 2021


by Joe Crocker

Graphic source: Geopolitical Intelligence Services.

The pandemic continues to widen income and wealth inequalities worldwide. The world’s richest five billionaires enjoyed a 59% increase in their combined wealth between March and September 202022 at a time of higher global levels of unemployment, poverty, and debt.16 Around 435 million women and girls will be living on less than $1.90 (£1.40; €1.60) a day in 2021, with 47 million in poverty as a result of covid-19. … These increases in private wealth have corresponded to decreases in social wage (the goods, services, and payments that the state provides to all residents as a basic right). Combined with the commodification of food, land, seeds, and essential services, austerity policies that have reduced social protection measures have had a devastating effect on vulnerable groups and, during the pandemic, increasingly on the middle class. Social protection measures introduced during the pandemic, such as tax relief, cash transfers, unemployment benefits, and food and nutrition assistance, have mostly been inadequate as they have excluded or been inaccessible to those who need them the most, such as informal workers, migrants, young people, and displaced and indigenous populations. An 82% increase in hunger levels is predicted as a result of the pandemic, and the number of people facing acute food insecurity is expected to double, especially in countries affected by conflict, climate change, and economic crisis. —The British Medical Journal, January 29, 2021

I wonder what the fuss is all about.
As far as I can see, not much has changed.
The paper comes each morning and, no doubt,
I’ll read it. But it’s groundhog day again.
My shares are on the up, my trousers tight
Mummy’s with us now. We sold her house.
It fetched enough to more than see her right.
The dog still gets his walk. And I get out.
The cleaner comes and does. We chat a while.
A sweetie. Molly? Mandy? I must ask.
Her eyes look oddly tired these days; her smile
a little less sincere behind her mask.
I spend the afternoons upon my arse.
I am retired and upper middle class.

Joe Crocker is retired and middle class and feeling guilty. Lockdown re-awakened his interest in poetry, and he has been published in Snakeskin