Capitalism and inequality

Biden pledges to continue Trump’s campaign to open schools and businesses

By Andre Damon, 19 January 2021

While Biden has claimed that he would “listen to the science” in the COVID-19 pandemic, he has in reality pledged to continue the Trump administration’s drive to prematurely open schools and businesses.

Ukraine begs Europe for coronavirus vaccine

By Jason Melanovski, 19 January 2021

While still providing military backing to the Kiev government in its ongoing civil war with Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, US and European imperialism have refused to provide even minimal vaccine assistance to the poorest country in Europe.

Navalny arrested in Russia as Biden nominates Victoria Nuland for top State Department position

By Clara Weiss, 19 January 2021

Navalny’s return to Russia and his arrest have unfolded in the context of growing geopolitical tensions and the staggering political crisis in the United States.

Tunisian regime deploys army as protests spread 10 years after Arab Spring

By Alex Lantier, 19 January 2021

Ten years after revolutionary uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, explosive anger is building in working-class districts across North Africa amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The global COVID vaccination distribution debacle is mirrored in the US

By Benjamin Mateus, 19 January 2021

The global vaccination distribution has been characterized as a “catastrophic moral failure” by the WHO’s director-general. Despite the US predominance in access to these life-saving vaccines, its national vaccine initiative has been a dismal disaster.

Migrant caravan attacked by Guatemalan troops as Biden team accommodates anti-immigrant right

By Andrea Lobo, 19 January 2021

Two months after hurricanes Eta and Iota devastated the region and as the pandemic crisis continues, caravan members are escaping conditions of absolute destitution.

Massive rise in unemployment in Germany during the pandemic

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 18 January 2021

The German employment agency published the official unemployment figures for December 2020, reporting an increase to 2.7 million unemployed, 480,000 more than in the same month last year.

Biden “recovery” plan will fail to relieve social misery or stop pandemic death

By Jacob Crosse, 16 January 2021

The package, which falls woefully short in meeting the current crisis for millions of workers and their families, will be further watered down as the Democrats seek “bipartisan” support from Republicans.

As COVID cases surge: Sharp rise in new US unemployment claims

By Shannon Jones, 15 January 2021

The adjusted number of new jobless claims rose to 965,000 for the week ending January 9 as the US Federal Reserve reports 20 percent of low-income workers are unemployed.

Poorest UK schoolchildren sent meagre pandemic food parcels, as contractors reap massive profits

By Robert Stevens, 14 January 2021

Many expressed disgust and denounced the profiteering from poverty during the school closures necessitated by the pandemic

New data shows that nearly 1400 kids in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula have caught COVID-19

By James Vega, Debra Watson and Eboni Davis, 14 January 2021

Since mid-October more than 13,500 people in the U.P. contracted the virus, a three-fold increase since the pandemic began in March.

Warning that Wall Street bubble may burst

By Nick Beams, 14 January 2021

Concerns are starting to be voiced that the orgy of speculation, literally feeding off the death and destruction of the pandemic because of the actions of the Fed, could end in a major crash.

Global food prices rise could spark social unrest, UN warns

By Jean Shaoul, 13 January 2021

Such is the anarchy of the market and the indifference of the financial oligarchs to anything other than their own interests that governments that have been able to do so have been shoring up their food supplies, setting in motion a ferocious national competition, adding to demand and fuelling price rises.

Staggering growth of super-rich in China

By Fu Hong, 13 January 2021

Some of China’s wealthiest capitalist entrepreneurs are members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), have been delegates to the National People’s Congress, or are members of the associated People's Political Consultative Conference.

Report documents education inequality in Australia

By Carolyn Kennett, 12 January 2021

The data points to the long-term impacts on young people of a two-tiered system of education that perpetuates inequality.

UK government figures hide £800 billion hoarded by super-rich

By Margot Miller, 11 January 2021

The wealthiest one percent owns 23 percent, almost one quarter of the country’s aggregate wealth, rather than 18 percent stated by the government.

Elon Musk becomes world’s richest person as pandemic death toll breaks records

By Jessica Goldstein and Tom Hall, 11 January 2021

Perhaps more than anyone else, Musk personifies the parasitic character of the corporate-financial oligarchy which dominates society.

US lost 140,000 jobs in December

By Tom Hall, 9 January 2021

The disastrous Labor Department report did not halt the speculative orgy on Wall Street, where the run-up in share values is driven by an endless flow of free money from the Federal Reserve.

New weekly jobless claims at 797,000 amid signs of US economic slowdown

By Shannon Jones, 8 January 2021

Weekly unemployment claims remained steady at just under 790,000 for the week ending January 2, as economic data pointed to a net loss of jobs in December after months of gains.

Janet Yellen, Biden’s treasury nominee, received millions from Wall Street

By Nick Beams, 8 January 2021

The main source was in speaking fees, particularly from Wall Street banks, including $992,000 which Yellen received from the Citi investment bank for nine appearances.

Australian report documents “Blue Harvest” wage theft of international backpackers

By Virginia Browne, 8 January 2021

Illegal labour hire practises, severe underpayment and brutal exploitation of international backpackers are endemic in Australia.

Landslide in Papua New Guinea kills 15 gold miners, children

By Patrick O’Connor, 7 January 2021

For tens of thousands of people, the desperate search for flecks of gold provides the only means of survival.

World Bank report warns of extended downturn in global growth

By Nick Beams, 7 January 2021

Even on the World Bank’s most optimistic scenario, the level of global gross domestic product in 2021 is expected to be 5.3 percent below pre-pandemic projection, equivalent to a loss of output of $4.7 trillion.

Hundreds of thousands in UK spend Christmas and New Year homeless as pandemic worsens

By Barry Mason, 7 January 2021

A third lockdown is now underway and the Conservative government has committed no more funding to deal with the homeless crisis and consigned its Everyone In scheme to the scrapheap.

Turkish government sets minimum wage at hunger level

By Ozan Özgür, 6 January 2021

While big business rakes in billions in profits during the pandemic, the Erdoğan government has slashed living standards, with millions left unemployed.

Seattle, Washington area homeless face police, coronavirus and lack of shelter

By David Fitzgerald, 6 January 2021

As the social crisis worsens and eviction orders proceed in the new year,  local and state Democratic officials respond to the homeless population in Seattle and surrounding area with police repression and criminally inadequate resources.

Australian government slashes minimal pandemic subsidies for workers and unemployed

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 January 2021

The cuts form part of a broader austerity offensive being enforced by Labor and Liberal governments at the state and federal levels, the trade unions and the largest corporations.

Bitcoin hits new record as Wall Street mania continues

By Nick Beams, 5 January 2021

The latest rise in bitcoin has been fuelled, at least in part, by the fact that it is becoming more integrated into the global financial system amid rampant speculation that has lifted all financial assets.

Tens of thousands face eviction after Chinese rental company collapses

By Lily Zhao, 31 December 2020

Danke’s failure provides an insight into the far broader housing crisis in China confronting workers and young people, and exposes the profiteering and parasitic character of layers of capitalists in China.

Spain to cut pensions as billions go to super-rich in EU pandemic bailout

By Alice Summers, 31 December 2020

While handing out €140 billion in COVID-19 bailouts to the banks, the “left populist” Podemos party is moving to slash workers’ pensions.

The class dynamic of the massive Wall Street speculation

By Nick Beams, 30 December 2020

The year is ending amid the greatest economic contraction since the Great Depression of the 1930s, but Wall Street is finishing the year at a record high.

Two Detroit children dead in Christmas morning house fire

By James Brewer, 30 December 2020

With no central heating and no smoke detectors, a Detroit family suffered an unspeakable disaster on the holiday.

Nine months after devastating flooding, Central Michigan residents are left abandoned

By Luke Galvin, 30 December 2020

After flooding caused by dam failures in May inundated large sections of Midland County, residents face economic and ecological disaster at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bezos Earth Fund and the charity of the oligarchs

By Shuvu Batta and Tom Carter, 30 December 2020

Without extreme levels of social inequality, it would not be necessary to rely on the largesse of the billionaires to “donate” the funds necessary to meet critical social needs.

Pandemic profiteers: Forbes adds 50 health care moguls to its list of global billionaires

By Genevieve Leigh, 29 December 2020

In a new survey released just before Christmas, Forbes magazine reported that at least 50 health care capitalists had entered the ranks of the world’s billionaires in 2020.

Housing crisis fuels poverty and inequality in New Zealand

By Tom Peters, 29 December 2020

Two workers living in Porirua, where the median rent is $595 a week, told the WSWS that the Labour Party government had done nothing to improve living standards.

As Wall Street hits record high

Millions in US face weeks without income due to delay in paltry “relief” bill

By Jacob Crosse, 29 December 2020

The bipartisan measure signed into law by Trump Sunday night provides a mere pittance for the unemployed and millions of others devastated by the pandemic.

As temperatures plummet and pandemic rages, homelessness in Michigan poised to explode

By James Brookfield, 24 December 2020

Homelessness has been rising across the state of Michigan and is expected to explode in 2021 as the end of the a national eviction moratorium nears and pandemic-related job losses and wage cuts mount.

US Federal Reserve backstops rising corporate debt mountain

By Nick Beams, 24 December 2020

US companies have borrowed a record $2.5 trillion in the bond market this year, taking debt leverage for investment grade companies to new record highs.

COVID-19 bill that stiffed workers full of handouts to big business

By Jacob Crosse, 24 December 2020

The bill includes generous tax breaks for the billionaire owners of NASCAR and international liquor distributors.

Australian government hires private debt collectors to hound welfare recipients

By Martin Scott, 23 December 2020

New tender documents reveal a stepped-up assault on the country’s most vulnerable as hundreds of thousands still await restitution for the unlawful “robodebt” scheme.

Hunger in the Philippines reaches all-time highs

By Robert Campion, 23 December 2020

Combining this year’s quarterly hunger surveys, which hit a staggering 30.7 percent in September, the average hunger rate for Filipino families reached an historic high of 21.1 percent in 2020.

Dire warning from CDC on US life expectancy: “A drop of two to three years for 2020 isn’t out of the question”

By Kate Randall, 23 December 2020

The US has not seen a decline in life expectancy of this magnitude since 1943, when World War II pushed the metric down by 2.9 years. The year 2020 is on track to be the deadliest year in US history, with deaths topping three million for the first time.

Congress to America’s workers: “Let them eat cake”

By Niles Niemuth, 23 December 2020

While the government spends money like water to prop up big business and the Federal Reserve funnels trillions into the stock market, nothing is being done to spare the working class.

As the oligarchs make trillions, Congress offers a pittance for the jobless

By Patrick Martin, 22 December 2020

The most important fact about the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill, which was moving through the US Congress Monday night, is that it is grossly inadequate to meet the vast social needs exposed by the pandemic.

COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates Sri Lanka’s high child poverty rate

By Yasara Sooriyanayaka, 22 December 2020

A UNICEF report reveals that most Sri Lankan families do not have adequate incomes and confront many hardships in raising their children.

CDC reports a record 81,000 drug overdose deaths in the US in a 12-month period

By Alex Findijs, 22 December 2020

Drug overdoses have been rising for decades, but data collected by the CDC shows that overdose deaths accelerated significantly in the first months of the pandemic.

Newly released wage data documents 40-year wealth redistribution to top 0.1 percent

By George Kirby and Shannon Jones, 22 December 2020

Social Security Administration data analyzed by the Economic Policy Institute shows the steady upward redistribution of wealth from the working class to the highest tier of income earners over the past 40 years, a trend that continued in 2019.

Germany: Coronavirus pandemic exacerbates social inequality

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 21 December 2020

An Economic and Social Science Institute (WSI) report by the trade union-sponsored Hans Böckler Foundation sheds light on the income losses workers have suffered in recent months.

Fed gives banks green light to resume share buybacks

By Nick Beams, 21 December 2020

The decision is another expression of how the financial system operates as an institutionalised mechanism for siphoning wealth to the upper strata in the midst of the worst economic recession in the past-war period.

The global surge in COVID cases and deaths requires an immediate international response

By Benjamin Mateus, 19 December 2020

The present surge across the globe is a byproduct of lifting restrictions on commerce by every major nation whose economy faces stagnation. According to the World Bank, “the pandemic and global recession may cause over 1.4 percent of the world’s population to fall into extreme poverty.”

The World Socialist Web Site and the crises of 2020

By David North, 19 December 2020

The Pandemic of 2020 has revealed before the entire world the irreconcilable economic, social and moral chasm that divides the capitalist drive for profit from the most essential needs of the overwhelming majority of mankind.

Canada’s pandemic wage subsidy: A slush fund for wealthy shareholders and corporate executives

By Omar Ali and Roger Jordan, 19 December 2020

The companies cited in the media exposés are not the corner stores, restaurants and other small businesses touted by the government as the beneficiaries of the wage subsidy during its rollout, but large, well-known corporations with huge revenues.

Congress dithers over token relief bill as 4.8 million more Americans face poverty in January

By Jacob Crosse, 19 December 2020

The bipartisan bill being thrashed out in Congress lacks any significant aid to highly indebted state, local and tribal governments, setting the stage for mass layoffs of educators, transit workers, firefighters and other public service workers, as well as school closures and cuts in social programs.

Unprecedented US job losses continue while Congress dithers over shrinking “relief” bill

By Jacob Crosse, 18 December 2020

Combined state and federal new unemployment claims exceeded 1.3 million last week, the highest since September, even as Congress looked to pass another giveaway to the super-rich.

What is the impact of $37,000 of student debt on a worker’s life?

By Emily Ochai, 18 December 2020

Under the current conditions, in which millions of people are unemployed due to the pandemic, student debt becomes even more debilitating for young people in the United States.

Over 800,000 workers fall off payrolls, as poverty rockets in Britain

By Julia Callaghan, 18 December 2020

Several recent reports have exposed the shocking scale of poverty in the UK, as years of austerity and attacks on workers’ living standards are being compounded by the coronavirus pandemic.

Eight million plunged into poverty since US coronavirus aid ended

By Patrick Martin, 17 December 2020

American workers have suffered the largest increase in poverty ever recorded as a result of the termination of supplementary federal unemployment benefits July 31.

UK: Pandemic hits working class hardest due to deep social inequality

By Robert Stevens, 17 December 2020

The “COVID-19 Marmot Review” substantiates a growing body of analysis that the disease impacts most severely on the working class.

“I’ve lost all faith that any kind of help is coming”

American small business owners speak on the devastating impact of the pandemic

By Gabriel Black, 16 December 2020

Many small business owners are on the brink, laying off employees, taking on massive debts, with no hope for new aid from the government.

Bipartisan congressional group reveals threadbare stimulus plan

By Jacob Crosse, 15 December 2020

The Democratic leadership previously endorsed the $908 billion framework released at the beginning of the month; the newest split package proposal leaves out stimulus checks and caps rental assistance, while refilling the Paycheck Protection Program

US retail giants shut off pandemic hazard pay to workforce while funneling billions into share buybacks

By Ray Coleman, 14 December 2020

The Brookings Institution found that over a dozen of the US’s most profitable retailers could have quadrupled their hazard pay to workers and still made a handsome profit during the pandemic.

Hundreds protest in Columbus, Ohio to demand justice for Casey Goodson, victim of police shooting

By Isaac Finn, 14 December 2020

More than 200 protesters gathered in front of the state capitol on Saturday to demand justice for the 23-year-old African-American man gunned down by a sheriff’s deputy on December 4.

Met Opera locks out stagehands while New York Philharmonic musicians take major pay cuts

By Fred Mazelis, 12 December 2020

Two of the best known musical organizations in the US and worldwide have stepped up their efforts to make the musicians and staff pay for the unprecedented crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

European Central Bank increases stimulus but markets want more

By Nick Beams, 12 December 2020

ECB President Christine Lagarde told a press conference the economic weakness resulting from the pandemic was more protracted than previously envisaged.

EU Summit: billions for the banks, nothing for workers

By Peter Schwarz, 12 December 2020

The EU summit on December 10–11 resembled a besieged fortress, held in the midst of the European Union’s deepest social and economic crisis since its foundation.

Hospital capacity in the US severely strained as coronavirus infections continue to surge

By Benjamin Mateus, 12 December 2020

A recent report by the US Department of Health and Human Services showed that as many as 200 hospitals had reached full capacity last week. One-third of all hospitals reported their ICU occupancy was above 90 percent.

US jobless claims spike to 853,000 while Congress stalls further aid

By Jacob Crosse, 11 December 2020

Unprecedented job losses coupled with deliberate congressional indifference spell misery and hunger for up to 50 million people.

Sri Lankan president calls on companies to exploit pandemic for cost-cutting

By Saman Gunadasa, 11 December 2020

Rajapakse’s speech underscores the necessity for the working class to undertake a political fight on a socialist program against this big business government.

Tens of millions of Americans require aid as USDA food box program nears expiration

By Alex Findijs, 11 December 2020

Hunger in the US has risen considerably during the pandemic. In 2019, an estimated 34 million people suffered from food insecurity. That number is expected to rise to 54 million by the end of the year.

How Tyson Foods chairman John Tyson made $600 million by exposing meatpacking workers to coronavirus

By Cordell Gascoigne, 10 December 2020

Tyson has not merely been a passive beneficiary of the policies of Trump and the political establishment. He has directly intervened to ensure the maintenance of production.

Democratic mayor green lights police assault on protesters opposing family’s eviction in Portland, Oregon

By Kayla Costa, 10 December 2020

The police are preparing a brutal crackdown on hundreds of protesters who have occupied the area in front of the home of the Kinney family in opposition to their eviction.

Brexit negotiations: Johnson in eleventh-hour discussion with von der Leyen

By Thomas Scripps, 9 December 2020

In attempting to avoid a “no deal”, both the UK and the European Union are balancing their predatory interests against volatile domestic and international situations.

European Central Bank set to provide further market boost

By Nick Beams, 9 December 2020

Stimulus measures by the ECB are a vital component of the trillions of dollars poured into financial markets by the world’s central banks that have resulted in stock prices soaring to record highs.

Poverty in Germany reaches a new record high

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 8 December 2020

More than 13 million people in Germany were afflicted by poverty in 2019, pushing the poverty rate to 15.9 percent, the highest since reunification thirty years ago.

Tens of millions of Americans struggle to pay rent as unemployment benefits and eviction moratorium near expiration

By Alex Findijs, 8 December 2020

According to Moody’s Analytics, 12 million renters will owe an average of $5,850 in back rent and utility payments by January 1.

Washington D.C. transit system proposes unprecedented cuts in response to severe budget shortfall

By Harvey Simpkins, 7 December 2020

The transit system’s proposal would slash nearly a third of all jobs in its workforce and eliminate weekend rail service completely.

Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank announce new round of job cuts

By Elisabeth Zimmerman, 7 December 2020

At a time when the German DAX index approaches a historic high of over 13,000 points with shareholders swimming in money, tens of thousands of white-collar and blue-collar workers are paying the price for this orgy of enrichment with their jobs and livelihoods.

Food prices, waste rise as food insecurity affects tens of millions in the US

By Alex Findijs, 7 December 2020

Supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic have forced farmers to destroy food and prices to rise while tens of millions of people struggle to put enough food on the table.

Thirteen thousand jobs threatened at UK’s Arcadia Group

By Jean Shaoul, 7 December 2020

Twenty-five thousand jobs are threatened with the collapse of Arcadia, which operates 500 retail chain stores and Debenhams which runs 124 stores.

As US stocks set record highs

November jobs report shows collapse of economic growth

By Jacob Crosse, 5 December 2020

As daily infections, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 continued to explode, Friday’s US employment report showed a disastrous drop in new jobs and a dramatic increase in long-term unemployment. Wall Street celebrated with record highs on all major stock indexes.

New US unemployment claims top 712,000 as mass layoffs continue

By Jacob Crosse, 4 December 2020

Historic job losses coupled with the out-of-control spread of COVID-19 have left millions of workers on the brink while Wall Street continues to set record highs

Wife of UK chancellor richer than the Queen: Rishi Sunak and the rule of the oligarchy

By Jean Shaoul, 4 December 2020

Sunak occupies, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself, the most important position in UK politics in determining public policy choices to favour the super-rich, at the expense of the vast majority

Bipartisan $908 billion “emergency relief framework” receives support from Democratic congressional leadership

By Jacob Crosse, 3 December 2020

Limited details reveal a proposal that includes generous handouts and protections to corporations while excluding another round of stimulus checks and reducing unemployment funds for workers as the pandemic enters its deadliest phase.

The science behind COVID-19 vaccines

By Benjamin Mateus, 3 December 2020

Both Pfizer, a pharmaceutical giant, and the start-up firm Moderna have used essentially the same biochemical process, involving messenger RNA (mRNA) to develop a new vaccine against coronavirus.

The coronavirus pandemic and the case for expropriating the financial oligarchy

By Eric London, 2 December 2020

As the deaths pile up in every country, the ruling class is taking advantage of the pandemic to orchestrate an unprecedented transfer of wealth from the working class to the rich.

Young people speak out about the unprecedented collapse in their living conditions since the pandemic began

By Noah Ryan and Nick Barrickman, 1 December 2020

Over half of all people between the ages of 18 and 29 in the United States have been forced to move in with relatives or friends since the pandemic began in March.

Evictions caused nearly 11,000 excess COVID-19 deaths in six months in the US

By Jacob Crosse, 1 December 2020

Data compiled by researchers at five major US universities illustrates the deadly consequences of throwing workers and their families out of their homes during the pandemic.

Rent debt “bomb” points to depth of social crisis in Australia

By Mike Head, 1 December 2020

Hundreds of thousands of working-class households could face eviction as temporary COVID-19 pandemic moratoriums end.

Private sector and Conservative Party cronies reap over £17 billion in government contracts during pandemic

By Robert Stevens, 30 November 2020

At least 15 companies handed contracts without tendering or oversight had connections to the Conservative government in what is being described as a “chumocracy”.

Spain’s Podemos to oversee distribution of EU bailout funds to the super-rich

By Alejandro López, 30 November 2020

The integration of Podemos in European Union bailout mechanisms testifies to the bankruptcy of its middle-class and anti-Marxist “Left Populist” politics.

“We are not criminals”

ICE detainees in New Jersey stage hunger strike over coronavirus threat

By Erik Schreiber, 30 November 2020

Nine immigrants held at Bergen County Jail in Hackensack are demanding release from the rat-infested facility where social distancing is not possible.

Trade unions stage scattered protests on Amazon’s Black Friday

By Kayla Costa, 30 November 2020

With opposition by Amazon workers growing against brutal work conditions and the lack of protection from the pandemic, the unions and their pseudo-left supporters are trying to contain resistance within the confines of corporate-controlled political parties and the capitalist system.

New IRS rule will push many US small businesses to the brink

By Jessica Goldstein, 28 November 2020

A new ruling by the Treasury Department will affect millions of small businesses that received a portion of the total $717 billion in relief funds from the US Small Business Administration through the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

California Highway Patrol evicts homeless families on Thanksgiving eve

By Jacob Crosse, 28 November 2020

Citing COVID-19 state mandated shelter-in-place orders, families and activists with Reclaim and Rebuild our Community attempted to take up residence in vacant publicly owned homes.

Iraq’s economic and political crisis threatens to ignite new upheavals

By Jean Shaoul, 26 November 2020

Iraq has become a key political battleground in US imperialism’s militaristic confrontation with Iran, further exacerbating its crisis.

UK Chancellor launches austerity offensive: “Our economic emergency has only just begun.”

By Robert Stevens, 26 November 2020

The cost of this unprecedented economic collapse will be paid in its entirety by the working class.

US jobless claims and hunger spike as Congress goes on vacation

By Jacob Crosse, 26 November 2020

Amid historic levels of unemployment, disorganized partial lockdowns without stimulus are leaving workers and small businesses without protection from the coronavirus or social support.

What the rich are thankful for

By Andre Damon, 26 November 2020

Amid mass unemployment, hunger and death, America’s financial oligarchy is celebrating a bumper year.

Thanksgiving in America: Massive food lines and evictions as benefits expire

By Kate Randall, 23 November 2020

As the rise of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths continues unabated, working-class families across the US are facing hunger and poverty on a scale not seen since the Great Depression.