VANGUARD - Expressing the viewpoint of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
For National Independence and Socialism • www.cpaml.org
The Covid-19 Virus is impacting on the capitalist economies in different ways. There is the near complete shutdown of some industries such as hospitality and restaurants in some parts of the country, especially Victoria at the moment. However, there are also examples of capitalism's continued revolutionizing of the way things are made and the way that services are delivered.
For example, the spotlight has shone on the danger of the spread of Covid-19 in confined spaces used by people, such as elevators in office buildings and residential hotels and also concern about air conditioning systems in these buildings. This is contributing to the reluctance of city office building tenants to bring their staff back to the office from working at home. It is also a contributing factor of the reason why office workers are reluctant to return to the office and also contributing to low residential hotel bookings in capital cities.
Large property owners like Charter Hall have city building occupancy rates as low as 18% in Victoria and only 44% in Brisbane where Covid-19 is temporarily at least under control.
Capital city residential hotel revenue in June was down 60% on last year.
Seizing the opportunity to make more dollars, elevator companies Kone, Otis and Schindler are selling property owners destination-dispatch systems which require people using the lifts to get to their work floor or to their hotel room to select their floor from a touch point in the ground floor lobby or from an App on their phone. This restricts numbers in the lift and pools people going to the same floor reducing the time they are in the lift and hence reducing the time spent in a confined space,
Some property owners are also taking up the option for elevators and air conditioning systems to be upgraded with a system which bombards recirculated air with ultra-violet light to destroy air borne viruses.
However, the changes to take place at airports regarding when and how you go to the toilet when nature calls beats the elevator story for innovation. The privatized airports of our capital cities plan to introduce an App which is to be used by people to indicate they need to use the toilet, developing a virtual queue. The App tells you when it is you next to enter the cubicle. Only you won't have to touch the door or latch it closed when inside. The doors will be automatic open and close to reduce transmission of Covid-19 and future viruses through people touching the same touch points.
The capitalist companies designing, producing and implementing these services will be making plenty.
These innovations are only occurring now because the big capitalists see Covid-19 not as a threat to human health but a threat to their overall profit-making system. Along the way, there are winners and losers among the diverse range of industries that capitalism gives rise to.