[Briefing Paper] Rising to the challenge

The case for permanent progressive policies to tackle Asia's coronavirus and inequality crisis

Paper author: 
Emma Seery
Paper publication date: 
Thursday, January 13, 2022

COVID-19 has unleashed a health and economic crisis that is exposing and exacerbating high levels of economic inequality in Asia. While rich elites are able to protect their health and wealth, the poorest people and minorities face a greater risk of illness, death and destitution.
As the Delta and Omicron variants push up case numbers and death rates across the region, and continue to hamper economic recovery, governments must rise to the challenge. They must reject a neoliberal agenda that lines the pockets of the few, and choose a progressive regime that taxes the wealthiest to invest in a better future for the many.

Crises shape history, and coronavirus offers a once-in-a-generation chance for Asia to choose a progressive regime that put the needs of the many before the profit and wealth of the few. Change is possible. 

An inclusive, green and equitable future for Asia must include:

  1. Increased taxation of rich individuals and corporations, including taxes on wealth and profits.
  2. Greater investment in public services and vaccines for all, and in social protection and care work.
  3. Decent work, living wages and robust labour rights for everyone.
  4. National and regional plans to reduce economic and social inequalities, and ensure a feminist future, a green recovery and a more responsible private sector.