The Profits of August

From World Socialist Website:

The profits of August

2 September 2020

Over 30,000 people died in the US last month from the COVID-19 pandemic, while corporations carried out mass layoffs amid soaring unemployment, hunger and poverty.

At the same time, the US stock market recorded its biggest increase for the month since 1986. All three major American stock indexes have risen for five consecutive months since plunging in mid-March. The benchmark S&P 500 index has risen 65 percent, its biggest five-month gain since 1938.

Last month saw the wealth of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos climb to $200 billion. Tesla became the world’s biggest car company by share value, as its market capitalization rose to $465 billion, taking the personal fortune of its chief executive, Elon Musk, to more than $100 billion. Apple became the first company in the world with a market capitalization of more than $2 trillion.

Since the Federal Reserve’s bailout of major corporations in March, Apple’s stock has more than doubled, while Tesla’s stock has risen more than six-fold.

These figures underscore the nature of the Wall Street bonanza. It is taking the form of what has been called a “K-shaped recovery,” in which a group of corporate giants enjoy massive profits, driven by the run-up in stock prices, while most of the economy stagnates.

In 1914, the rolling out of the guns of August at the outbreak of World War I marked the start of a process that saw arms manufacturers rake in millions in profits amid death and destruction, the like of which had never been seen.

Likewise, the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought devastation to the working masses in the US and around the world, has served as the occasion for all arms of the capitalist state to be mobilised to organise the greatest-ever redistribution of wealth to the heights of society.

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