CONSIDERATIONS OF THE IMPACT OF COVID-19

*The Philosopher in Meditation– Rembrandt (1632). Philosopher in meditation state on the left, an old woman trying to light up the fire on the right. In the middle, a spiral staircase meaning a spiritual evolution. Rembrandt expresses how the warm house and the domestic love enhance the spiritual growth of the philosopher.

-By Francesco Anastasi

  • Introduction

The economic impact of the Covid-19 on our society is rapidly increasing.

The lockdown, variously graduated by each government, will seriously prove the economic systems of the European countries.

It has been calculated that the EU economic system will decrease and lose the 7% of its GDP[1].

In Italy, the cost of the lockdown it has been calculated about 47 billions of euro per month[2] (GDP Lose per month – GLM).

It should be considered also that social distancing measure would last at least all the 2020 having a significant residual cost for the society.

The total cost of the measures (lockdown included) would be for the Italian economic system about the 6/8% of the GDP (Total GDP Lose – TGL).

This is clearly an unbearable cost.

  • The economic cost of the social distancing measures

But let’s skip to the datas.

The Italian Health Department has reported that the average age of people death by covid-19 is 81, and the average age of people infected by coronavirus is 63[3].

The average annual costs incurred by the national health service for chronic patients increase progressively with increasing age, reaching the peak in the age groups 80-84 years (1,129 euros) and 75-79 years (1,115 euros)[4]. This means that a loss of population in the group of population between 75-84 will grant less expenses to the National Healthcare System at least of 1.122 euros[5].

This part of the population is also the less productive, it just receives money from the Social Security Institute without any sort of production on new goods or services[6]. Of course there is a precise role, in our society, for old people, but actually, from and utilitaristic point of view they don’t give any concrete, significant or relevant contribution the production of good or service that can be measurable by our economic indexes.

To complete the scenario, it must be underlined that the average monthly cost of the retirement is 1.196,98 euro.

It has also been calculated that without any lockdown measure, in Italy the death cost of the Covid-19 would be of 280.000 units.

Hence, let’s make some mathematical calculation. In the worst scenario Italy would lose 280.000 units of population with an average age of 81. It means that, we would have less social cost (due to saving in retirement pays and cost for the National Healthcare system) equal to 280000*(1196,98*12)+(280.000*1122,00)= 4.332.720.000 (yearly saving – YS).

Therefore, the direct impact of the Covid-19, in Italy, for year 2020 would be a saving of 4,3 billion euros. There is also an in-direct impact that it is not so easily calculable and refers to the redistribution of wealth and inheritance among the population left by the deaths (in-direct enrichment impact –IEI).

The total cost of the lockdown measures it is clearly the sum of TGL+YS+IEI(which is not numerable). The economic system because of the social distancing measures would lose 143,6 billion euros just in the 2020.

This is the social cost of saving human life.

  • The cost of human life

Therefore, we can focus on the real question of this brief paper: how much is worth a human life.

Or, with different words how the human being could be reduced to an economic value.

It seems to me that some countries decided that they could bear a certain amount a death among the life that are not worthy to survive. A XXI century edition of the social Darwinism.

It should be noted that the phrase “life unworthy of life” (in German: “Lebensunwertes Leben”) was a Nazi designation for the segments of the population which, according to the Nazi regime of the time had no right to live[7]. Those individuals were targeted to be euthanized by the state, usually through the compulsion or deception of their caretakers. During the execution of the Final Solution to the Jewish Question the Nazis leadership individuated a precise cost to the human life: an x of food and water would give to the strongest the energy to work for an x on months in order to produce a total of x[8].

We should ask ourselves where we are heading, and consider what does it means to let people die just because they are a cost for they society.

Which one of us, would give away is life in exchange of a 0,0000001% less of Public Debit?

Which one of us, would give away is life in exchange of a 0,0000001% more or less of GPD?

Which is he cost of a life, the cost of a human being is an answer that the capitalistic system ruled by the oligarchy of the Multinational corporation is ready to give. In its anxiety for creating new wealth, for the obsessive production of useless goods make us lose the true value and the true scopes of our existences which go beyond the monthly income, the production and the revenues.

This makes even more clear the risks that the future dominated by capitalistic needs would have no rules, no ideas, no principles.

The future controlled by the capitalistic oligarchy will always try to transform every single human being in a good, in a value.


[1] https://www.euronews.com/2020/04/30/coronavirus-downturn-france-and-italy-in-recession-as-spain-sees-record-gdp-decline

[2] https://tg24.sky.it/economia/2020/04/09/coronavirus-lockdown-costo-italia-svimez

[3] Caratteristiche dei pazienti deceduti positivi all’infezione da SARS-CoV-2 in Italia, available on https://www.epicentro.iss.it/coronavirus/sars-cov-2-decessi-italia

[4] Cfr. L’Italia invecchia, male: l’80% della spesa sanitaria è per malattie croniche available on https://www.repubblica.it/salute/medicina-e-ricerca/2019/05/15/news/l_italia_invecchia_male_l_80_della_spesa_sanitaria_per_malattie_croniche-226323449/;

[5] Actually the pro capite Health care system expense it is 2.326 euro, but it has been considered just the overcost of the cronical patients considering that the total cost would be redistributed among the residual population cfr L’Italia ha davvero uno dei sistemi sanitari migliori in Ue e nel mondo?https://www.agi.it/fact-checking/news/2020-02-27/coronavirus-sistema-nazionale-ssn-7243927/.

[6] Cfr. Dal Ferro G., Produttività sociale delle persone anziane e mature, in Ministero della pubblica istruzione, Terza età e scuola: forme innovative di risposta ai diritti, ai bisogni e alle attese degli operatori scolastici in pensione, convegno Padova 17-19 aprile 1988, Liviana, Padova, 1988, pp. 131-146

[7] Stuart D. Stein, “Life Unworthy of Life” and other Medical Killing Programmes, University of the West of England

[8] Hayes, Peter; Roth, John K. (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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