Who wins and who pays? Rentier power and the Covid crisis

The massive expansion of state intervention in response to the Covid-19 pandemic – in particular, to underwrite wages for workers and loans for small and medium-sized businesses – may at first sight seem to be progressive. However, whether this is really the case depends on how these interventions ultimately affect the balance of wealth and power in the economy. The analysis suggests that in fact the crisis will exacerbate inequalities between the working poor and the asset-owning wealthy. Without a drastic change of approach, the crisis is likely to significantly exacerbate existing structural inequalities – insulating creditors and asset-owners from the worst effects of the pandemic while driving many of the most financially vulnerable deeper into debt. The economic risks and costs of the shutdown should be shared fairly across society.