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Monday, March 23, 2020

Capitalism: A Great Weapon against the Wuhan Virus

As the Wuhan virus wreaks havoc across the world and here in the U.S., Americans would do well to remember one of the biggest reasons why we will most likely weather this storm better than any other nation. After our faith in the One who made us and in His great wisdom, mercy and love, perhaps the greatest weapon in the world against the Wuhan virus is American capitalism.

Whether or not you agree that the concern—or panic—over the Wuhan virus is real or manufactured, there is little doubt that we are in unprecedented times. In my 50 years of life, I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve seen our nation scared over health concerns, national security concerns, and the like, but never to the point of shutting down churches, schools, entertainment, businesses, and so on, on the scale that we are now witnessing.

There’s no doubt that such a shut-down will drastically impact our lives and our economy. In fact, as dire as the health consequences from the Wuhan virus might be, the economic consequences of this pandemic could be even worse. However, we will make it through this—even the vast majority who contract the virus will recover—and hopefully most of us will be no worse for the wear. If this is indeed the case, Americans will owe a great deal to American capitalism and the businesses and corporations that our economic system created.

Last week, while announcing a national emergency over the Wuhan virus, President Trump surrounded himself with the leaders of several U.S. corporations including Walmart, Target, and CVS. Part of the Trump administration’s goal in enlisting pharmacies and retailers is to provide Wuhan virus testing in “critical locations,” as determined by healthcare professionals.

Also, prior to announcing the national emergency, as reported by CNBC,
Trump hosted executives from Gilead Sciences, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Moderna, GlaxcoSmithKline, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi to discuss efforts to create a vaccine and therapeutics.

“Today, we are meeting with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies — the biggest in the world, most prestigious, the ones that get down to the bottom line very quickly,” Trump declared at the meeting’s onset.
In addition, prior to announcing the national emergency, in order to “help beat back falsehoods and use artificial intelligence to glean new insights into the fast-spreading virus,” the Trump administration met with technology giants Amazon, Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Twitter, and the like. Fox Business reported that after meeting with “big tech,” the same day the Trump administration also met with big banks in order to “discuss not only combating coronavirus but likely also the extreme market swings that have dominated the past few weeks.”

Deborah Birx, Trump’s Wuhan virus coordinator, recently declared:
Seeing the spread of the virus around the globe, the president realized that our current approach to testing was inadequate to meet the needs of the American public. He asked for an entire overhaul of the testing approach. He immediately called the private sector laboratories to the White House, as noted, and charged them with developing a high-throughput quality platform that can meet the needs of the American public.
As vast numbers of Americans are now having to spend most of their time at home, online shopping and home deliveries of various products have skyrocketed. So much so that Amazon recently announced significant pay raises for hourly workers along with plans to hire 100,000 new workers. Thanks to the efforts of companies like Amazon, Walmart, Kroger, Instacart, DoorDash, Netflix, Hulu, Home Depot, Best Buy, Macy’s, and so on, Americans can get everything from groceries to medicine, clothing, furniture, electronics, entertainment, ready-to-eat meals, and the like, delivered right to their front doors.

All of this is possible because of the vast internet network created and run by thousands of U.S. internet providers. America has more internet providers—about 7,000—than the rest of the world combined (approximately 5,000). What’s more, this network—along with large numbers of Americans owning or having access to a computer—has made it much easier to do home school.

Whether at the K-12 or college/university level, the numbers of Americans doing school from home continues to grow. Of course, with most traditional American schools now temporarily shut down, millions more American students are now getting to experience home school. This is only possible because of what U.S. technology companies have built and the services they provide.

As I note in The Miracle and Magnificence of America, technology companies are now the world’s most valuable corporations. The world’s top five most valuable technology companies—Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet (Google), and Facebook—are all American companies. Additionally, eight of the world’s top ten most valuable brands are American. Many of these have been and will continue to be very valuable in our fight against the Wuhan virus.

Many companies are smartly and quickly adjusting their products and services in order to better serve homebound Americans. Along with the technology that allows millions of Americans to work, shop, or do school from home, the food industry is stepping up as well. Restaurants are offering expanded, as well as better, take-out opportunities along with home meal deliveries. In order to help independently owned restaurants, Uber Eats is waiving delivery fees for such businesses. Moe’s, KFC, Chipotle, and others are offering some version of free delivery during this crisis.

Since our founding, millions of Americans have done foolish and awful things with their God-given freedoms. However, the liberty enjoyed in America has also produced the most prosperous and generous nation in the history of humanity. Millions of Americans have been lifted out of poverty and now enjoy a standard of living that is the envy of the world. This is because, the founders of America knew well that, since the creation of the world, the “natural” state of mankind has been “clearly seen.” As Scripture reveals at the Garden of Eden, Natural Law begat liberty. In other words, our natural state is to be free. We were created that way. With God’s laws as the foundation for our government, with God’s law written on the hearts of so many Americans, and with a thirst for liberty, a free-market capitalistic society was simply the logical and right direction for the United States of America.

It was wise for President Trump to enlist the resources, knowledge, and might of American corporations and businesses in our battle against the Wuhan virus. I hope he continues to rely on America’s free markets in this fight. In times like these, we should be especially thankful for all that American capitalism has made possible. 

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America

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