Taylor Swift’s Copyright Case: Can the Jury Easily “Shake it Off”?


1. Introduction

In 2018, the United States District Court for the Central District of California, decided in favour of Taylor Swift (by allowing her request for a summary judgement) in a musical copyright infringement case brought against her. The plaintiffs in the case had alleged that the chorus in the song “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift had copied their hit song titled “Playas Gon’ Play” released in 2001. It was alleged that Swift illegally copied a six-word phrase and a four-part lyrical sequence. The concerned lyrics were “players gonna play” and “haters gonna hate”, as seen in the chorus part of the song “Shake It Off”. More specifically, it was alleged that Swift’s lyrics in “Shake It Off” (“Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play / And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”) infringe on their song’s lyrics (“Playas, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate”). The district court dismissed the case for a lack of originality of the six-word phrase and four-part lyrical sequence. Such a lack of originality results to a lack of copyright protection to the concerned lyrics in the song “Playas Gon’ Play”. The Ninth Circuit (upon appeal from the district court) however, reversed and remanded the case. Now, a federal judge in December, 2021 denied Taylor Swift’s request to throw out the copyright infringement suit at summary judgement itself and thus, the case could go to trial.

Copyright protection is only provided to those expressions that hold originality. Originality is a sine qua non for copyright protection. The requirement of “originality” refers to those works that are independently created by the authors and it possesses a minimal degree of creativity. This was decided in the case of Fiest Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co. (1991). But, a clarification that the court provided was that “originality does not signify novelty; a work may be original even though it closely resembles other works so long as the similarity is fortuitous, not the result of copying.” To further clarify this point, the court stated that “to illustrate, assume that two poets, each ignorant of the other, compose identical poems. Neither work is novel, yet both are original and, hence, copyrightable.”

There is another way to understand the difference between the usage of the words “originality” and “novelty”. In copyright disputes “originality” of the work is observed but in case of patent disputes “novelty” of the invention is observed. Thus, for an invention to be patentable, it must be “novel” but, for a (musical) work to be copyrightable, the work need not be “novel”, but only “original”. Thus, the threshold for “novelty” is higher than that for “originality”.

Therefore, the use of the words “playas gon’ play” and “haters gon’ hate” in the song “Playas’ Gon Play” must hold originality to be copyrightable and to bring a claim against Taylor Swift’s song “Shake It Off” which uses those six-word phrase in the chorus. It should be noted that not all lyrics can be original, even though the song has been provided with a copyright. There is no “presumption of originality” of all the musical elements just because the overall work (song) has been provided with a copyright. The district court, while finding a lack of originality, (in the original judgement) cited the case of Satava v. Lowry (2003) which stated that “any copyrighted expression must be ‘original.’ Although the amount of creative input . . . required to meet the originality standard is low, it is not negligible.”

However, the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded the original judgement by the district court as it found that the absence of originality was not established on the face of the complaint or through the judicially noticed matters. Here, it is to be noted that the Ninth Circuit did not say that the lyrics at issue were original. It was only concerned with the process of finding the absence of originality by the district court. It has also not stated if any copyright violation has taken place. It merely remanded the case due to the deficiency in finding the absence of originality.

In the original judgement by the district court, it was stated that “in the early 2000s, popular culture was adequately suffused with the concepts of players and haters to render the phrases ‘playas… gonna play’ or ‘haters… gonna hate’, standing on their own, no more creative than ‘runners gonna run’; ‘drummers gonna drum’; or ‘swimmers gonna swim…” The judgement further read, “in sum, the lyrics at issue… are too brief, unoriginal, and uncreative to warrant protection under the Copyright Act.”

However, after being remanded back, Judge Fitzgerald has decided that “even though there are some noticeable differences between the works, there are also significant similarities in word usage and sequence/structure.” He further added, “the court cannot presently determine that no reasonable juror could find substantial similarity of lyrical phrasing, word arrangement, or poetic structure between the two works.” Here, Judge Fitzgerald has only denied a request for summary judgement by Taylor Swift. Here, a final decision as to copyright violation has not been provided, as the case is still to go to trial.

Firstly, what is observed from Judge Fitzgerald’s judgement (after remand) is that the suit cannot be “shaken off” at summary judgement itself. Summary judgement is granted to the defendant (i.e. Taylor Swift, in the case at hand) when the works are so dissimilar that an infringement claim would be without merit.1 Further, it can only be provided (in favour of the defendant) in cases where mere copying of facts or copying of expressions which are obviously dissimilar has occurred.2 (Here, it is to be noted that facts are unoriginal, and thus cannot be copyright protected.) In the case of Narell v. Freeman, it was decided that “…summary judgment is appropriate … [in favour of the non-moving party (defendant) if]…no reasonable juror could find substantial similarity of ideas and expression.” As already stated, Judge Fitzgerald decided that “even though there are some noticeable differences between the works, there are also significant similarities in word usage and sequence/structure”. He further decided that “the court cannot presently determine that no reasonable juror could find substantial similarity of lyrical phrasing, word arrangement, or poetic structure between the two works.” Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that the suit cannot be “shaken off” at summary judgement itself.

Here, it would be pertinent to note that the use of summary judgement on the issue of substantial similarity is said to be unusual.3 The question as to substantial similarity is a question of fact. However, summary judgement limits itself to the extrinsic test which only deals with the legal aspect of copyright dispute.4 It is for this reason that summary judgements are rare. Therefore, the district court’s decision to reject the plea for summary judgement by Taylor Swift is reasonable.

Now, this piece will analyse if the issue of copyright infringement in the case can be easily “shaken off” or not by the jury (in trial).

Swift’s Attorney, Peter Anderson has criticised the judgement (after remand) by Judge Fitzgerald stating that the judgement has ignored the extrinsic test wherein the protected and unprotected elements of musical works are distinguished. Further, he stated that, “both works use versions of two short public domain phrases — ‘players gonna play’ and ‘haters gonna hate’ — that are free for everyone to use.” It has been previously observed that western music and litigation on it suffers from difficulty in differentiating plaintiff’s work from the music in the public domain.5 Similar issue is said to have repeated in the case.

( In my recent article, I have discussed the various tests undertaken by the Ninth Circuit to determine copyright infringement, in detail. I discuss concepts like the extrinsic test, the intrinsic test, the inverse ratio rule (now abrogated by the Ninth Circuit), summary judgement, sub-conscious copying, borrowing from the past, etc. In this piece, I shall only deal with the second criticism by Swift’s attorney which concerns the “public domain” argument. For this purpose, I will refer to the concepts of “creativity and originality”. For a discussion as to the first criticism (i.e. the lack of extrinsic test by Judge Fitzgerald), reference can be made to my recent article. )

3. Creativity and Originality

As already discussed above, the original judgement by the district court decided that the phrases “players gonna play” and “haters gonna hate” as seen in the plaintiff’s musical composition were unoriginal to be provided with copyright protection. Next, even if the summary judgement has been denied by the district court, Judge Fitzgerald has acknowledged that Swift’s experts made a strong and persuasive arguments but failed to establish why the case should not go to trial.

While the present case deals with originality of the concerned lyrics, and does not concern itself with the tempo and melody, a reference can be made to musical harmonies to understand the requirement of originality. Basic musical harmonies are too unoriginal to provide them with copyright protection.6 Some musical notes form the basis of musical compositions and cannot be copyright protected as it would restrict future musical compositions. They are unoriginal as they form the basis of musical compositions. For example, in the case of Newton v. Diamond, the Ninth Circuit decided that “C-D[b]–C, over a held C note…, lacked sufficient originality to merit copyright protection.” Criticising the judgement by Judge Fitzgerald, Anderson (who represented Taylor Swift) has said “plaintiffs could sue everyone who writes, sings, or publicly says ‘players gonna play’ and ‘haters gonna hate’ alone with other tautologies. To permit that is unprecedented and ‘cheat[s] the public domain.'”

In the original judgement, the court had cited thirteen different earlier songs that used similar phrases in the lyrics. The district court’s judgement (after remand) features an argument made by the plaintiff’s legal team which stated that “…there are at least seven elements in the selection and arrangement of the four-part lyrical sequence at issue that the chorus of ‘Shake’ copies from ‘Playas,’ including, for example: 1) Shake’s combination of tautological phrases; 2) parallel lyrics; and 3) grammatical model ‘Xers gonna X.’” However, as already mentioned, the original judgement stated how the lyrics at issue are no more creative than terms like “runners gonna run” and “swimmers gonna swim”. I agree with the district court’s original judgement in this regard, which suggests that a simple “Xers gonna X” lyric cannot fulfil the originality requirement. I also agree with Anderson (who represented Taylor Swift) that the plaintiffs cannot be allowed to sue anyone who uses “players gonna play”, “haters gonna hate” alone with other tautologies. Such lyrics should not be privatised as privatisation of such lyrics that are not original would hamper its socialistic (public) use. A similar issue can be observed in copyright infringement cases brought against Katy Perry (concerning her song “Dark Horse”) and Robin Thicke (concerning his song “Blurred lines”), where the courts privatised (in favour of the plaintiffs) such elements of musical works that should not have been privatised. The judgements have been highly criticized in the legal and the musical world. In my opinion, similar issue has repeated in Swift’s case where privatisation has been sought of such lyrics that does not hold enough originality. Further, it should be noted that if copyright protection is provided to such lyrics, it will further add to the unwanted but yet ongoing issue of “hits bring writs”. Additionally, reference can be made to a decision by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, wherein it was decided that the use of the common lyric “party and bullshit” cannot amount to copyright infringement as the concerned lyric was a not a protectable expression. It is for these reasons that the concerned lyrics in the song “Playas Gon’ Play” does not fulfil the requirement of “originality” and thus, no copyright infringement can be established. However, this is not to say that a summary judgement should have been provided to Taylor Swift, as the threshold for providing a summary judgement in favour of a defendant has not been met.

4. Conclusion

The judgement denying summary judgement is reasonable, as the judgement complies with the existing jurisprudence regarding summary judgement. Further, since summary judgements are a rarity, Judge Fitzgerlad’s decision denying a request for summary judgement is reasonable. Next, it has to be accepted that it is difficult to establish exactly where lyrics and melodies becomes original and entitled to copyright protection.7 However, from the arguments that have already been observed in the ongoing dispute (including those observed in the original judgement and those observed as criticisms to the latest judgement by Judge Fitzgerald), I am of the opinion that there has not been any copyright infringement as the lyrics are too unoriginal to be provided with copyright protection. Therefore, while the suit could not be “shaken off” at the stage of summary judgement itself, it should be “shaken off” easily during the trial, as the lyrics at issue are unoriginal and are not copyright protected. Now, it remains to be observed what the jury will decide during the trial.

*Sankalpa is a founding editor at NepScholaris. He is a B.A. / LL.B. (Hons.) candidate at Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, India.

(This article has been prepared for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information contained is not intended to create a lawyer-client relationship. The views expressed in the article does not reflect the the official position of the institutions to which the authors are affiliated. Readers should not act upon this without seeking advice from professional advisers.)

1 Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp v MCA Inc 715 F 2d 1327, 1330 (9th Cir 1983)

2 Montgomery Frankel, ‘From Krofft to Shaw, and Beyond – The Shifting Test for Copyright Infringement in the Ninth Circuit’ (1990-1991) 40 Copyright L Symp 429

3 T-Peg Inc v Vermont Timber Works Inc 459 F 3d 97, 112 (1st Cir 2006); Berkic v Crichton 761 F 2d 1289, 1292 (9th Cir 1985); Shaw v Lindheim 919 F 2d 1353, 1355 (9th Cir 1990)

4 Seth Swirsky v Mariah Carey 376 F 3d 841, 845 (9th Cir 2004); Brown Bag Software v Symantec Corp 960 F 2d 1465, 1477 (9th Cir 1992)

5 Margit Livingston and Joseph Urbinato, ‘Copyright Infringement of Music: Determining Whether What Sounds Alike Is Alike’ (2013) 15 Vand J Ent & Tech L 227

6 Sergiu Gherman, ‘Harmony and Its Functionality: A Gloss on the Substantial Similarity Test in Music Copyrights’ (2009) 19 Fordham Intell Prop Media & Ent L J 483

7 Ridhima Bhardwaj and Sankalpa Koirala, ‘Halfway on the “Stairway to Heaven”: An Analysis Of Copyright Protection For Musical Works In The Ninth Circuit’ (2022) 5 (1) Journal of Intellectual Property Studies 72 < https://journalofipstudies.files.wordpress.com/2022/01/halfway-on-the-stairway-to-heaven-an-analysis-of-copyright-protection-for-musical-works-in-the-ninth-circuit.pdf > accessed 16 January 2022

Asking the Woman Question: Should the “Tampon Tax” be Exempted?

Image by: The Kathmandu Post


1. Introduction

Nepal currently levies 13% Value Added Tax (VAT) on sanitary napkins and other similar feminine articles (collectively called “tampon tax”) under the category of luxury goods.1 There exists a 15% import duty on sanitary napkins, while the import duty on essential raw materials for production of sanitary napkins like cotton and pinewood pulp aerate is at 5% for domestic producers of sanitary napkins.2 The result of higher import duties and VAT is an increase in the market price of menstrual products and thus, affordability becomes a bigger issue than availability. It has been observed that due to such affordability-availability issues, a large percentage of menstruating Nepalese women use unhygienic alternatives to sanitary napkins,3 which adds to the unhygienic menstrual practices (taboos) in Nepal. Additionally, the unjustified tampon tax adds to the legal, social, and economic inferiority of women in the country.4

Period poverty is an important area of concern in the Nepalese context. Be it the affordability of sanitary products at the individual and family level, or the accessibility to sanitary products, toilets, hand washing facilities along with menstrual hygiene education at home, schools, or workplaces, women during their menstrual days face great challenges. Further, menstrual issues have been one of the main reasons for school absenteeism among female students in Nepal.5 There have been many efforts by various organisations to address this issue of “period poverty” and school absenteeism by ensuring free accessibility to sanitary napkins. The government allocated NPR 1.8 Billion (approximately USD 16 Million) in FY 2076-2077, for the free distribution of sanitary napkins in government-aided schools6 but, there were a lot of shortcomings in its application.7 Therefore, a potential solution that the government has largely ignored, could be a simple change in the legislation by removing such sanitary napkins from the category of luxury goods, which, however slightly, would lessen the burden on the consumers.

2. Asking the Woman Question

Questioning is a means to “valid knowing”.8 However, historically, feminist questions on taxation had largely remained ignored.9 Women’s historic absence from legislative bodies has paved the way to the gender-biased tax system that we see today.10 While most of the taxation laws are gender-neutral, what can be seen is the presence of “gender blindness” because the reality that is present is that, when it comes to tax exemptions in necessary goods, gender has a centre-stage but has been ignored.11 For example, in some states of the US, one can observe that tax exemption was provided on non-essential goods but not on menstrual goods.12 Such “red tax” has been read with a much broader concept of “pink tax”, where it has been observed that feminine products were taxed more than their male equivalents.13 Only by asking the woman question can justifications and rationalisation be demanded and the discrimination and disabilities caused by such taxation, be removed.14 The woman question(s) while addressing the issue of suffrage were; why women should not vote and why should women vote.15 On similar lines, the questions this article addresses are; is tampon tax discriminatory, thus violating the constitution and, if there is any justification for such discriminatory tampon tax in Nepal. The objective of asking the woman question is to identify the gender implication of the laws that apparently seem gender-neutral or objective. In the legal field, asking the woman question means to examine how the law fails to take into account the experiences and values that are more typical of women than of men.16 Similarly, there also exists the critical tax theory, which asks why tax laws are the way they are and their impact on divisions of society like race, colour, sex, gender, etc.,17 which has been addressed below.

3. Fundamental Right and Human Right Violation

3.1. Violation of International Human Rights

The tax hurdle on the path to menstrual hygiene violates the AAAQ framework i.e. availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality framework of the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).18 Furthermore, such discriminatory taxation violates Article 12 and Article 14 (2) (h) of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).19 While Nepal has ratified these international conventions, it has largely failed in its application.20 Tampon taxation is another such instance of violation of the aforementioned international conventions.

3.2. Is the Tampon Tax Discriminatory?

(While the tampon tax might violate many provisions of the constitution, the article is only concerned with such taxation being discriminatory.)

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has recognised discriminatory tax treatment on the basis of sex. For instance, in the case of Van Raatle v. the Netherlands,21 the ECtHR found it to be discriminatory to exempt unmarried and childless women above 45 years of age from taxation (as under the General Childcare Benefits Act) without such exemption being provided to men who fulfil the same criteria. Similarly, the court has found it discriminatory to provide Widow’s Bereavement Allowance (tax benefit) to widows but not to widowers, as such tax benefit lacked a legitimate aim.22 Similarly, in lack of legitimate justification and objective, the court found a tax regime to be discriminatory in another case as well, wherein, the widow would have been provided with the tax benefit, had she been in the same circumstances as the widower. However, the widower was not provided with such tax benefit.23 (Lack of legitimate justification and objective of tampon tax in case of Nepal has been discussed below in 3.2.1.)

However, in regard to the violation of the right to equality, the first question that arises is; is the tampon tax discriminatory? For instance, as a critique of feminist jurisprudence, there arose an argument that there cannot arise discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy simply because a man cannot get pregnant but a woman can.24 A similar reasoning can be seen in the case of Geduldig v. Aiello.25 So, is a similar argument applicable here? Can it be argued that there cannot arise tax discrimination simply because menstruation is a natural phenomenon only seen in females, and not in males? This can be answered by looking into the case of Bray v. Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic wherein it was decided that “a tax on wearing yarmulkes is a tax on Jews”.26 On this basis, it has been argued that taxing sanitary napkins as luxury goods is analogous to taxing yarmulkes as luxury goods, and thus is discriminatory.27 The question is not to be answered on the grounds of biological differences between the sexes but on the fact that one’s essential commodity is taxed more in comparison to the others’ essential commodity. For instance, authors have taken the example of spermicidal contraceptives and erectile-dysfunction medicines being tax-free, as a ground to justify why women’s menstrual products should also be tax-free.28 Further, it has been rightly argued that Gedulgid (a decision which has been largely criticised) while poses a challenge to the argument that tampon tax should be considered as a sex-based discrimination, cannot be implemented in case of discriminatory tampon taxation. Observing the Indian Case of Nargesh Meerza,29 wherein it was decided that penalising pregnancy amounts to sex-based discrimination even if a man cannot get pregnant, it can be concluded that biological differences in sex do not prevent discrimination from being established. A sex-based tax is discriminatory even if members of the other sex occasionally are the purchasers of the product.30 Therefore, it is on these grounds that tampon taxation violates the right to equality.31

3.2.1. Is there any Justification for the Discrimination?

There are tax differences between the two sexes that are not discriminatory because of the presence of a legitimate objective that the law aims to achieve. For example, the difference in taxation between the two sexes in the case of land registration.32 However, is there any similar justification for the presence of tampon tax in Nepal?

It has been argued that one of the reasons to keep the tampon tax is that it contributes to the state’s budget.33 However, given that a very less portion of women use sanitary napkins, the argument fails in the Nepalese context. Further, the argument fails because, given the practice of welfare state, the government instead is spending money to make the products available for free of costs. Therefore, revenue does not seem to be the reason to keep the tampon tax. Further, even if it did contribute substantially to the state’s budget, it cannot justify the discriminatory measure.34 Next, economists argue that inelastic goods need to be taxed for revenue generation. However, this argument is defeated by the reasons provided above against the budget contribution argument. Further, given the presence of alternative products (although unhygienic) in Nepal, sanitary napkins are somewhat elastic products, even if they might be inelastic in developed nations.35 Case Where Sanitary Napkins is Produced by Domestic Manufacturers.

The next argument on why the tampon tax should exist, can be understood by taking a recent example from India. Finance Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman, while dealing with Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) on COVID-19 relief materials and services, stated that a tax exemption would increase the manufacturing costs, as the tax credit obtained upon purchase of input goods cannot be deducted against the final output GST liability. The input tax credit gets blocked and thus, the price will be raised by the producers bringing back the situation that existed while the tax was imposed.36 Now, this argument that price will increase in case of exemption assumes that the role of the state is absent. The solution to this input tax blockage (in case of tax exemption) is that the state can bear the cost of the blocked input tax credit. The state can also put a cap on the increase in price (profiteering) that can be done by the producers. For instance, the Black Marketing Act, 2032 (1975) puts a cap of 20% on profiteering.37 It is within this 20% that the producers can increase their profit margin to recover the blocked input tax.

Now, the reasonable solution, instead of VAT exemption, is to classify sanitary napkins as zero-rated goods.38 (Further discussed below). Adding sanitary napkins to zero-rated goods as listed under Schedule-II of the Value Added Tax Act, 2052 (1996) should be done. When it comes to zero-rated goods, there can be no tax on input supplies or the input tax can be credited, despite the final product not being taxed. However, in context of Nepal, firstly, there is no system for exemption on input tax in as under the “zero-rated classification”. Thus, the only option is that the input tax is credited despite the output not being taxed, thus refunding the input tax.39 While zero-rated goods are mostly in regard to exports, there is a need to recognise sanitary napkins (along with other necessary goods) as zero-rated goods despite them not being exported.

VAT exemption may instead be detrimental to the aim of removing period poverty, and enlisting sanitary napkins as a zero-rated good seems to be the way forward. An observation made in the case of India, observed that the price increases due to exemption.40 (See the figure below). Now, while the government can take the burden of removing input tax blockage (in case of exemptions), it can also lessen the price burden by lessening the import duty on the materials required for production in the first place.

Therefore, it can be concluded (from 3.2.1 and that there does not appear to be any reasonable justification to the discriminatory tampon tax in Nepal and, thus, it should be removed with the product being enlisted as a zero-rated good, while also decreasing the import duties.

Figure 1: Impact of GST Exemption on Sanitary Napkins.
Source: Saral Designs.

(However, while classifying necessary goods as zero-rated goods is more efficient, it should be noted that, generally, in practice, exemption is provided on necessary goods instead of enlisting them as a zero-rated good. A plain reading of Schedule-II of the VAT Act concludes that only those goods and services that are exported outside of Nepal are provided with “zero-rated privilege”. Therefore, in practice, sanitary napkins made for domestic consumption will not fall under Schedule-II. Next, while exemption can be useful, as the final 13% of tax is not applied, but it does not ensure that selling price will decrease, as the producers can increase the price of the product since their input tax is not being credited.) In case of Import of Sanitary Napkins

Tax exemption might be effective only in case where the sanitary napkins are being imported. Currently, there is no exemption on sanitary napkins. Thus, upon import, custom duty, excise duty, and VAT are applicable, which raises the price. Finally, again, output tax is applicable along with a profit margin which again adds to the price.

Once exemption as under Schedule-I of the VAT Act is provided, there is no presence VAT or “input tax” upon import (unlike that in the case of manufacturing). Thus, there is no issue of blockage of input tax due to exemption (since input tax does not exist). Thus, a VAT exemption on the output tax can be effective here in case of imports, due to the absence of input tax blockage. However, what should be understood is that, while there is no issue of input tax blockage, the initial cost (cost of production or rather, cost of import) itself is very high (due to high custom duty and excise) in case of import as compared to the case of manufacturers, and thus, the selling price is still high as was in the case of manufacturers being provided with exemption.

In the case of Nepal, sanitary napkins are largely imported and an alternative to make such products more accessible with the government’s involvement would be to make the nation self-sufficient in regard to such products. Thus, manufacturing such products is important. However, as already noted, in the case of manufacture, tax exemption is not effective. Thus, it can be concluded that tax exemption in the case of manufacturing and tax exemption in the case of import, both are ineffective as price would still be high. Thus, the reasonable solution is to make the nation self-sufficient with enough manufacturers and enlisting the product as zero-rated good.

4. Conclusion

The concept of human flourishing is important to be understood. The theory provides that necessities like food, shelter, etc., including necessities like education, medical supplies, etc. should be accessible without any taxation.41 The income tax of Nepal follows progressive taxation, while indirect tax, although equal for all, is regressive in nature because the lower-income class spend more percentage of their income on indirect tax than those belonging to the high-income class. Tampon tax adds to such regressive nature of indirect taxation, disproportionately affecting females.42 It is to prevent such regressive taxation that countries provide exemption (or enlist them as a zero-rated good) when it comes to essential goods. We can thus conclude that zero-rated products benefit the lower-income consumers,43 which should be the aim of a welfare state. However, such practice has not been observed when it comes to sanitary napkins.

One can observe that courts (in the US) have interpreted menstrual products to fall within the definition of “medical necessities” to provide such articles with a tax exemption.44 However, the position was not so in the past. It was only achieved after the “woman question” was asked and addressed. The reasonable solution lies on the individual states; their legislature and the courts to address the problem.45 A writ has been filed before the Supreme Court for removal of such taxation. Therefore, the court should recognise these grounds and direct removal of luxury tax from products that fall within the classification of medical necessity. It is true that “exemption” or “zero-rated classification” of sanitary napkins might not affect the issue of period poverty substantially. Rather than taxation, the issue with affordability is due to poverty and price itself, of which, the tampon tax forms a lesser percentage. However, the court should be more concerned with what is wrong and what is right rather than the degree of influence of the removal of such taxation, and establish that the tampon tax is discriminatory.

(The article attempts to highlight why VAT exemption might not be as effective as intended. It might help to reduce the price but it might not achieve this end. What is more effective is enlisting the good as a zero rated good, which absolutely helps in reducing the price for the consumers by removing the VAT.)

(Further, although the article uses the term “sanitary napkins”, the arguments and suggestions can be used in regard to other sanitary products as well.)

*Sharad Prasad Koirala is a Founding Partner at Learned and Lawyers, Kathmandu. He specialises in Nepalese Taxation Law. He has been assisted by Sankalpa Koirala for the purpose of this article.

(The editorial board is thankful towards CA Durga Prasad Gnawali, Partner at NBSM, for his advice.)

(This article has been prepared for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information contained is not intended to create a lawyer-client relationship. The views expressed in the article does not reflect the the official position of the institutions to which the authors are affiliated. Readers should not act upon this without seeking advice from professional advisers.)

1 Value Added Tax Act 1996, s 7.

2 Shuvangi Khadka, ‘Making sanitary pads cheaper or free?’ (Econ-ity, 15 April 2021) <https://econitynepal.com/making-sanitary-pads-cheaper-or-free/ > accessed 14 August 2021

3 Samantha Friborg, ‘How 1 Education Focused Program Tackles Period Poverty in Nepal’ Brogen Magazine (Seattle, 4 October 2020) <https://www.borgenmagazine.com/period-poverty-in-nepal/ > accessed 14 August 2021

4 United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515, 516 (1996)

5 Niroj Bhattarai, Alexandra Bernasek and Anita Alves Pena, ‘Factors Affecting School Attendance and Implications for Student Achievement by Gender in Nepal’ (2020) Review of Political Economy < https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09538259.2020.1769296?journalCode=crpe20 > accessed 14 August 2021; Bridget J. Crawford, ‘Tampon Taxes, Discrimination and Human Rights’ (2017) Wisconsin Law Review 491<https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2068&context=lawfaculty > accessed 12 August 2021

6 Editorial, ‘1.3 million girls in Nepal to receive free menstrual supplies’ (Reliefweb, 3 September 2020) <https://reliefweb.int/report/nepal/13-million-girls-nepal-receive-free-menstrual-supplies > accessed 13 August 2021

7 Editorial, ‘Sanitary pad: Ahile nisulka, pachi k hola’ BBC News Nepali (Kathmandu, 15 February 2020) <https://www.bbc.com/nepali/news-51030781> accessed 13 August 2021

8 Cochac Elkayam-Levy, ‘A Path to Transformation: Asking “the Woman Question” in International Law’ (2021) 42 (3) Michigan Journal of International Law 429 < https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3543189> accessed 13 August 2021

9 Lawrence Zelenak, ‘Taking Critical Tax Theory Seriously’ (1998) 76 North Carolina Law Review 1521 <https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1535&context=faculty_scholarship > accessed 12 August 2021

10 Maya Rhoden, ‘President Obama Doesn’t Understand the ‘Tampon Tax’ Either’ TIME (15 January 2016) <http://time.com/4183108/obama-tampon-tax-sanitary/&gt; accessed 14 August 2021

11 Hailaire Barnett, Introduction to Feminist Jurisprudence (Cavendish Publishing 1998) 22

12 Bridget J. Crawford and Emily Gold Waldman, ‘The Unconstitutional Tampon Tax’ (2018) 53 University of Richmond Law Review 439 <https://lawreview.richmond.edu/files/2019/02/CrawfordWaldman-532.pdf> accessed 14 August 2021

13 Suzanne Herman, ‘A Blood-Red-Herring: Why Revenue Concerns Are Overestimated in the Fight to End the “Tampon Tax”‘ (2021) 48 Fordham Urb LJ 595 < https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2835&context=ulj > accessed 14 August 2021

14 Hailaire Barnett (n 11).

15 Carolyn Hardesty, ‘The Woman Question Today’ (1987) 272 (3) The North American Review 89 < https://www.jstor.org/stable/25124890 > accessed 14 August 2021

16 Katherine T. Barlett, ‘Feminist Legal Methods’ (1990) 103 Harvard Law Review 829 <https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1119&context=faculty_scholarship> accessed 14 August 2021

17 Anthony C. Infanti and Bridget J. Crawford, Critical Tax Theory: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press 2009) 11

18 International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (adopted 16 December 1966, entered into force 3 January 1976) 993 UNTS 3 (ICESCR) art 12; Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, ‘CESCR General Comment No. 14: The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health’ (Art. 12)’ (E/C.12/2000/4)

19 International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, arts 12 and 14 (2) (h).; Bridget Crawford ‘Tampon Tax be Gone: What the US Can Learn from India’s #LahuKaLagaan Repeal (Part II/II)’ (National Law School of India Review, 25 December 2018) <https://nlsir.com/tampon-tax-be-gone-what-the-us-can-learn-from-indias-lahukalagaan-repeal-part-ii-ii/ > accessed 12 August 2021

20 Dagan Omwesiga, ‘Tax Regime in Nepal – Implications on Human Rights’ (2018) 6 Kathmandu Sch L Rev 68 < https://kslreview.org/index.php/kslr/article/view/949> accessed 12 August 2021

21 Van Raalte v Netherlands App no 20060/92 (ECtHR, 1997)

22 Hobbs v United Kingdom App no 29750/09 (ECtHR, 2007)

23 Willis v United Kingdom App no 36042/97 (ECtHR, 2002)

24 Katherine T. Barlett, ‘Feminist Legal Methods’ (n 16) 841-842.

25 Geduldig v. Aiello, 417 U.S. 484 (1974)

26 Bray v. Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic, 506 U.S. 263, 270 (1993)

27 İlayda Eskitaşçıoğlu, ‘Access to Menstrual Products is a Constitutional Right. Period.’ (Verfassungsblog, 5 December 2019) <https://verfassungsblog.de/access-to-menstrual-products-is-a-constitutional-right-period/&gt; accessed 14 August 2021

28 Bridget J. Crawford and Emily Gold Waldman, ‘The Unconstitutional Tampon Tax’ (n 12) 439.

29 Air India v. Nargesh Meerza, 1981 AIR 1829

30 Victoria Hartman, ‘End the Bloody Taxation: Seeing Red on the Unconstitutional Tax on Tampons’ (2017) 112 Nw U L Rev 313 < https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/nulr/vol112/iss2/4/ > accessed 14 August 2021

31 Constitution of Nepal 2015, art 18.

32 Dagan Omwesiga, ‘Tax Regime in Nepal – Implications on Human Rights’ (n 20).

33 Suzanne Herman, ‘A Blood-Red-Herring: Why Revenue Concerns Are Overestimated in the Fight to End the “Tampon Tax”‘(n 13) 620.

34 Christopher Cotropia and Kyle Rozema, ‘Who Benefits from Repealing Tampon Taxes: Empirical Evidence from New Jersey’ (2018) 15 J Empirical Legal Stud 620 <https://scholarship.richmond.edu/law-faculty-publications/1503/&gt; accessed 14 August 2021

35 ibid 627.

36 Deepak Joshi, ‘India’s Taxation Policy is Behind the COVID Curve’ The WIRE (New Delhi, 19 May 2021) <https://thewire.in/government/india-gst-covid-19-relief-materials-solutions > accessed 14 August 2021

37 Black Marketing Act 1975, s 3.

38 Deepak Joshi, ‘India’s Taxation Policy is Behind the COVID Curve’ (n 36).

39 Seena Twayana, ‘What is the difference between NO VAT and ZERO VAT’ Kaagmandu Magazine (Kathmandu, 3 September 2019) <https://www.kmagz.com/what-is-the-difference-between-no-vat-and-zero-vat/ > accessed 14 August 2021

40 Editorial, ‘1 year later: Impact of GST exemption on Sanitary Napkins’ (Saral Designs) <https://saraldesigns.in/1-year-later-impact-of-gst-exemption-on-sanitary-napkins/> accessed 14 August 2021

41 Tsilly Dagan, ‘The Currency of Taxation’ (2016) 84 Fordham L Rev 2537 < https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/flr/vol84/iss6/7/> accessed 14 August 2021

42 Jorene Ooi, ‘Bleeding Women Dry: Tampon Taxes and Menstrual Inequity’ (2018) 113 Nw U L Rev 109 < https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/nulr/vol113/iss1/3/ > accessed 14 August 2021

43 Suzanne Herman, ‘A Blood-Red-Herring: Why Revenue Concerns Are Overestimated in the Fight to End the “Tampon Tax”‘(n 13).

44 Bridget J. Crawford, ‘Tampon Taxes, Discrimination and Human Rights’ (n 5) 531-534.

45 ibid 512-513.

The Rise and Fall of the Rana Regime: A Machiavellian Analysis


1. Introduction

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (1469-1527),  was an Italian writer, best known for his scholarships on politics, based on pessimistic realism.[1] He intended to replace the ancient Christian thoughts with revolutionary doctrines of his own.[2] For Machiavelli, Christian ethics were used by “vile” men to interpret the religion according to ozio (laziness) rather than according to virtù (virtue).[3] His 500-year-old works still hold contemporary relevance, as they work as a guidance to leaders of all fields and not just of politics.[4] As per Machiavelli, for a leader, moving away from Christian values; immorality, cruelness and dishonesty are sometimes important as against morality, humbleness and honesty.[5]  He moved away from moralistic theory of politics.[6] However, Machiavelli didn’t endorse tyranny; instead, his works have been interpreted, showing him to be a republican or a democratic political theorist,[7] even if Stalin read him as a prophet of totalitarianism.[8]  Machiavelli favoured a republic rather than a principality.[9] Nevertheless, the Rana regime (1846-1951) in Nepal, although being a tyrannical regime, displayed a “machiavellian personality” to some extent, by their display of ruthlessness. While the regime did not entirely follow Machiavelli’s advice to a leader, as Machiavelli didn’t support a tyrannical regime, we can observe that Junga Bahadur Rana’s (1817-1877) choice of violence to instigate a reform in Nepali political system during late 1840s, shows some elements of Machiavelli’s advice to a leader.

2. Initiation of Ranarchy

Junga Bahadur Rana was a ruthless strategic thinker, who thought for the survival of a weakened Gorkha (Shah) Regime of Nepal. His “espionage mission” to England in 1850, with the intent to learn about Britain’s military might, so as to calculate the risk in trying to regain the lost territory of 1816[10] reflects some elements of a virtuous leader, in the eyes of Machiavelli as Machiavelli advocated for “manipulating strategies and techniques”,[11] especially, during diplomacy.[12] For him, “prudence” is being able to deceit. Prudence is not to be gauged with morality.[13]  England’s military strength made Junga Bahadur to ally with them. Thus, Nepal was able to be a sovereign nation, unlike semi-autonomous princely states in India.[14] Machiavelli saw a city (or state) to be a living organism which can grow and strengthen, through its expansion — and through expansion, one can gain “Roman greatness”: the highest greatness.[15] Junga Bahadur Rana, seems to be prudent in his undertakings and also seems to comply with Machiavelli’s idea of “greatness”, as he did think about expanding Nepali territory by getting back the land lost in 1816, but he was equally prudent so as to not create enmity with the Britishers, and thus didn’t try to regain the lost territory.

Machiavelli provided that love, religion and politics are languages of war, and religion: the art of peace.[16] From his writing of Mandragola, one can observe that “love” and “deceit” have been used for personal gains.[17] Machiavelli, in the Discourses, has even praised Numa Pompilius for faking a marriage for political purposes.[18] Junga Bahadur had also formed powerful alliances through matrimonial relations. His eldest son Jagat Jang was married to the eldest daughter of the monarch. Similarly, Junga Bahadur’s second son was married to another daughter of the monarch, while he himself had married the sister of Fateh Jang Cautariya, Hiranyagarbha Kumari. His daughters were married to prince Trailokya and other people who wielded political power. These matrimonial alliances later served as a factor, that forced King Surendra Bikram Shah to sign a Lal Mohar, which delegated a lot of essential powers to the Rana family.[19] Here too, one can observe Junga Bahadur’s compliance with Machiavelli’s opinion on love and political power.

2.1. The Parvas (Massacres) (1846-1847)

The Palace was filled with conspiracies after the assassination of Mathwar Singh Thapa, the then prime minister and after some time, the murder of Gagan Singh Thapa. Queen Rajya Laxmi summoned all courtiers to a Kot, wherein at the command of Junga Bahadur Rana, 55 courtiers were killed (Kot massacre). Junga Bahadur was then vested with civil, military and judicial powers and became the commander-in-chief. Initially, even the queen favoured Junga Bahadur Rana, so as to make her sons, the heir to the throne instead of her step-sons. However, Junga Bahadur later refused to kill Prince Surendra (step-son) at the queen’s command. The queen then plotted to poison and kill Junga Bahadur and appoint Bir Dhoj as the Mukhtyar.  However, already well known to the queen’s intent, Junga Bhadaur instead killed Bir Dhoj Basnet (Bhandarkhal massacre). King Rajendra issued a firman, deciding him and his family to go on a pilgrimage. A proclamation was also made, stating that the acts of Junga Bahadur was a consequence of the act of the queen-regent plotting against the crown prince, and that he was pardoned for the offences. The administration was left to Junga Bahadur. The queen was exiled and kith and kin of those who died in the kot massacre were prevented from entering the country, even at the request of the royal family. Regent Surendra also promised that in the name of God Pashupati and Goddesss Guyeshwari that the king would not harm the minister’s person and property. Further, the prime-minister (Junga Bahadur Rana) and his family were not subject to punishment. The prime-minister was delegated a lot of power and liberty. The loyal prince Surendra was made the King, after attempts of assassination on Junga Bahadur was made by the king and the queen from Varanasi. (Ex) King Rajendra wanted his throne back, while in Varanasi. Supporters of King Rajendra entered through Sugauli, looted the government treasury and stayed at Alau. However, he was caught trying to escape from the troops sent by Junga Bahadur Rana (Alau parva). Now, Junga Bahadur made King Surendra make a proclamation, citing Junga Bahadur’s loyalty to the crown; his foreign relations with East-India Company and the Chinese; his military capability; and declared that the position of prime-minister would always belong to his family. Thus began the hereditary family dictatorship of the Ranas.[20]

2.2. Through the Eyes of Machiavelli

The problems and disputes between and within the Shahs, Pandes, Thapas and Basnyats[21] caused the Ranas to come into power. Surrender of sovereign power by King Rajendra Bikram to Queen Rajya Laxmi, on January 5, 1845, weakened the throne. Machiavelli had provided that use of normal diligence is enough for a leader to retain his power, until and unless an extraordinary and extreme force deprives him of it. However, the leader is said to regain it when adversity strikes the usurper.[22]  In this scenario, one can observe how the monarchs; Rajendra, Surendra and even the Queen Rajya Laxmi, were not able to exercise their diligence to maintain or to retain their power from the Ranas.

Machiavelli largely worked on “conspiracies” and their role in the political playground. He mentioned in Discourses, that conspiracies are the utmost danger that a prince or subjects can face. His study of history showed that many princes have lost their lives and their states to conspiracies than to wars.[23] The Shah dynasty faced the same fate. The conspiracies in the palace eventually collapsed the throne. Machiavelli also provided how conspiracies can be useful. He gave the example of Oliverotto da Fermo, who had acquired a principate through crime of mass murder, which aligns with the act of Junga Bahadur Rana in the Kot massacre.[24] Agathocles, who committed mass murder at a gathering, is said by some authors to be fully virtuous in the eyes of Machiavelli.[25] A leader should be a step ahead of everyone to prevent any deceit from people around him,[26] which can also be seen on the part of Junga Bahadur, who escaped multiple assassination attempts.

While the idea of “virtue” in Machiavelli’s scholarships are not clear, it is clear that his definition of virtue was an explicit rejection that being good, in Christian sense, is the same as being virtuous.[27]  However, it is important to note that betrayal, killings, lack of compassion and belief is not exactly virtue, taking again, the example of Agathocles. Therefore, what is virtuous for Machiavelli is highly debatable.[28] For Machiavelli, man and god are separate actors.[29] Thus meaning that a man, or say a prince, should not be expected to act as morally as a god. There exists an inherent difference between how men “live” and how they “ought to live”. “There are two kinds of combat, one with laws, the other with force. The first is proper to man, the second to beasts; but because the first is often not enough, one must have recourse to the second.”[30] A good person will be destroyed by people around him who are not good.[31] He provides a realist’s point of view and suggests leaders to be stringent, complying with the reality while not being distracted by what “ought to be”. Junga Bahadur Rana, during the rise of the Rana regime, had done precisely this. Even if his acts were based on selfish motives, one can observe how his acts aligned with a realistic view of the political scenario of that time. Herein, the rise of power of Junga Bahadur, was a result of skill rather than of fortune. Just like in the case of Moses, Cyrus and Romulus, fortune granted nothing more than an opportunity.[32] The incompetence of the crown was an opportunity but the series of events show skill or rather virtue of Junga Bahadur Rana. Once such virtuous leaders establish themselves in power, it is rather easy for them to maintain such power. Leaders who came into power due to good fortune are said to wither away, in the first unfavourable weather. The reign of the Rana regime for more than a century shows “skill” (or virtue) rather than mere “fortune” of Junga Bahadur Rana and his successors.

“A prudent prince should not believe his enemies have forgiven him, neither should he believe everyone is his enemy.” [33]

As provided by Machiavelli, a successful prince should not rely on capricious fortune but should rely on his virtue to retain his powers,[34] which Junga Bahadur Rana did even after he had gotten more power than the King.[35]  Machiavelli further provided that, with new power comes new enemies. However, Junga Bahadur Rana had dealt with such enemies by removing them from the country. Nevertheless, he maintained alliance with Britishers towards the south. Through his diplomacy, Junga Bahadur had complied with the suggestion and warnings of Machiavelli, as he provides that even for democratic nations, self-sufficiency is not possible and diplomacy is important.[36]

Machiavelli’s prince can only acquire and maintain his principality based on beliefs and opinion of the people, rather than solely by the use of force. [37] “Belief”, as used by Machiavelli in his writings, was of religious nature. However, Nepal, having a large linkage with Hinduism, considered its monarchs to have divine power and to be an avatar of Lord Vishnu.[38]  Thus, belief in monarchy is not entirely a political belief but also a religious one. Junga Bahadur had here as well complied with the suggestion of Machiavelli and did not completely remove the system of monarchy but instead complied with the beliefs. The monarch had delegated its power, made the position of prime-minister a “family post”, pardoned Junga Bahadur for the massacres, etc. and remained vestigial in the functioning of the state rather than being non-existent. Therefore, belief of the people (in monarchy) was also complied with, during the rise of the regime.

3. Downfall of the Regime / Conclusion

Machiavelli provides that there exist two kinds of “humours”: a set of people who do not want to be controlled or oppressed and a set of people who want to command and oppress. Neither can be satisfied except at the expense of the other.[39] For a leader, it is better to be feared than to be loved.

Love is held by a chain of obligation, which, because men are wicked, is broken at every opportunity for their own utility, but fear is held by a dread of punishment that never forsakes you.”[40]

Analysing the Rana regime, it is seen that Machiavelli’s advice have been followed only during the rise of the Rana regime, by Junga Bahadur. Machiavelli says that a state can use whatever means, without the question of justice or injustice, kindness or cruelty, or to its praiseworthiness or ignominiousness. However, such means should be for a particular end i.e. liberty and freedom of a state and its citizens. When possible, a prince should act morally. Thus, being moral is a general rule and brutality should never be a norm. To be able to “not to do good” must depend on necessity.[41]  For Machiavelli, the ends determine the means and not the reverse.[42] Therefore, where the end is tyranny, the means is already a wrong. Brutality as a norm during the Rana regime was wrong in the view of Machiavelli. Further, the Rana regime’s isolationism policy delayed Nepal’s economic development. Closed-door policy by the Ranas in the fear of British expansionism,  was against Machiavelli’s idea of greatness of a state.[43]

If one considers everything well, one will find something appears to be virtue, which if pursued would be one’s ruin, and something else appears to be vice, which if pursued results in one’s security and well-being.[44]

Reserving the traditional notion of good and bad, the virtue, he recommends is a mixture of good and bad.[45] During the century-long Rana regime, the regime was more tilted towards his idea of “vice” which eventually lead to its downfall. Machiavelli’s virtuous leader avoids arousing hatred among his people.[46]  Therefore, Junga Bahadur Rana during the rise of the Rana regime, was a prudent and virtuous Machiavellian prince but was not so after he gained such power. Machiavelli suggested that a prudent prince should be cautious in believing in his subjects, however, he should also not take everyone to be his enemy.[47] Therefore, the regime’s intent not to provide the populace with education, as a preventive measure,[48] was against Machiavelli’s suggestion to a prince. While strategies and conspiracies were well used during the rise of the regime, “vice” of the regime led to its inevitable downfall. Therefore, while compliance with Machiavelli’s suggestions led to victory of Junga Bahadur over the Shahs, the regime’s latter non-compliance with virtues of a Machiavellian leader led to its eventual downfall.

* The author is a third year B.A./LL.B. (Hons.) student at Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab, India.

[1] Mark Jurdjevic, ‘Virtue, Fortune, and Blame in Machiavelli’s Life and The Prince‘ (2014) 81(1) Social Research, Machiavelli’s The Prince 500 Years Later < https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/26549600 > accessed 15 January 2021

[2] ‘Niccolo Machiavelli’ (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 13 September 2005) < https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/machiavelli/#Biog > accessed 14 January 2021; Rasoul Namazi, ‘The Question of Esoteric Writing in Machiavelli’s Work’ (2017) 40 (2)  Renaissance and Reformation < https://www.jstor.org/stable/26398554 > accessed 15 January 2021

[3] Gregory Murry, ‘The Best Possible Use of Christianity: The Rhetorical Stance of Machiavelli’s Christian Passages’ (2015) 36 (2) History of Political Thought < https://www.jstor.org/stable/26228599 > accessed 15 January 2021

[4] Michael Jackson and Damian Grace, ‘Machiavelli’s Shadows in Management, Social Psychology and Primatology’ (2015) 62 (142) A Journal of Social and Political Theory < https://www.jstor.org/stable/24719952 > accessed 13 January 2021

[5] ibid.

[6] ‘Niccolo Machiavelli’ (n 2).

[7] Catherine H. Zuckert, ‘Machiavelli’s “Prince” ­– Five Hundred Years Later’ (2013) 75 (4) The Review of Politics < https://www.jstor.org/stable/43670903 > accessed 13 January 2021

[8] Mark Jurdjevic, ‘Virtue, Fortune, and Blame in Machiavelli’s Life and The Prince’ (n 1).

[9] Nikola Regent, ‘Machiavelli: Empire, “Virtue” and the Final Downfall’ (2011) 32 (5) History of Political Thought < https://www.jstor.org/stable/26225726 > accessed 13 January 2021; Giovanni Giorgini, ‘The Place of the Tyrant in Machiavelli’s Political Thought and the Literary Genre of the Prince’ (2008) 29 (2) History of Political Thought < https://www.jstor.org/stable/26224004 > accessed 14 January 2021

[10] Kunda Dixit, ‘Inside Story of Nepal’s Rana Dynasty’ Nepali Times (Kathmandu, 5 September 2020) < https://www.nepalitimes.com/here-now/inside-story-of-nepals-rana-dynasty/ > accessed 9 January 2021

[11] Michael Jackson and Damian Grace, ‘Machiavelli’s Shadows in Management, Social Psychology and Primatology’ (n 4).

[12] Rasoul Namazi, ‘The Question of Esoteric Writing in Machiavelli’s Work’ (n 2).

[13] Euguence Garver, ‘After “Virtue”: Rhetoric, Prudence and Moral Pluralism in Machiavelli’ (1996) 17 (2) History of Political Thought < https://www.jstor.org/stable/26217064> accessed 13 January 2021

[14] Kunda Dixit, ‘Inside Story of Nepal’s Rana Dynasty’ (n 10).

[15] Euguence Garver, ‘After “Virtue”: Rhetoric, Prudence and Moral Pluralism in Machiavelli’ (n 13).

[16] ibid.

[17]‘Mandragola’<http://galileo.rice.edu/lib/student_work/florence96/catcher/mandragola.html#:~:text=Written%20in%201518%2C%20Mandragola%20is,wishes%20to%20become%20her%20lover> accessed 14 January 2020

[18] Gregory Murry, ‘The Best Possible Use of Christianity: The Rhetorical Stance of Machiavelli’s Christian Passages’ (n 3).

[19] Chandra Prakash Singh, ‘Rise and Growth of Anti-Rana Movement in Nepal’ (2004) 65 Proceedings of the Indian History Congress < https://www.jstor.org/stable/44144808 > accessed 9 January 2021

[20] Madhav Raj Pandey, ‘How Jang Bahadur Established Rana Rule in Nepal’

[21] Kunda Dixit, ‘Inside Story of Nepal’s Rana Dynasty’ (n 10).

[22] James B. Atkinson (trs), Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince (The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc 2008) 99

[23] James Martel, ‘Machiavelli’s Public Conspiracies’ (2009) 2 (1) Media Tropes eJournal 60

[24] Rasoul Namazi, ‘The Question of Esoteric Writing in Machiavelli’s Work’ (n 2).

[25] John P. McCormick, ‘The Enduring Ambiguity of Machiavellian Virtue’ (2014) 81 (1) Social Research, Machiavelli’s The Prince 500 Years Later < https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/26549605 > accessed 13 January 2021

[26] Stephen H. Wirls and Steven H. Wirls, ‘Machiavelli ad Neustadat on Virtue and the Civil Prince’ (1994) 24 (3) Presidential Studies Quarterly < https://www.jstor.org/stable/27551278 > accessed 13 January 2021

[27] Michelle T. Clarke, ‘The Virtues of Republican Citizenship in Machiavelli Discourses on Livy’ (2013) 75 (2) The Journal of Politics < https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1017/s0022381613000030 > accessed 13 January 2021;  Gregory Murry, ‘The Best Possible Use of Christianity: The Rhetorical Stance of Machiavelli’s Christian Passages’ (n 3).

[28] John P. McCormick, ‘Machiavelli’s Inglorious Tyrants: Agathocles, Scipio and Unmerited Glory’ (2015) 36 (1) History of Political Thought < https://www.jstor.org/stable/26226962 > accessed 12 January 2021; John P. McCormick, ‘The Enduring Ambiguity of Machiavellian Virtue’ (2014) 81(1) Social Research, Machiavelli’s The Prince 500 Years Later < https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/26549605 > accessed 12 January 2021

[29] Gregory Murry, ‘The Best Possible Use of Christianity: The Rhetorical Stance of Machiavelli’s Christian Passages’ (n 3).

[30] Catherine Zuckert, ‘Machiavelli and the End of Nobility in Politics’ (2014) 81 (1) Social Research, Machiavelli’s The Prince 500 Years Later < http://www.jstor.com/stable/26549603 > accessed 12 January 2021

[31] Mark Jurdjevic, ‘Virtue, Fortune, and Blame in Machiavelli’s Life and The Prince’ (n 1).

[32] ibid.

[33] Nathan Tracov, ‘Belief and Opinion in Machiavelli’s “Prince”’ (2013) 75 (4) The Review of Politics < https://www.jstor.org/stable/43670908 > accessed 14 January 2021

[34] John P. McCormick, ‘The Enduring Ambiguity of Machiavellian Virtue’ (n 28).

[35] Madhav Raj Pandey, ‘How Jang Bahadur Established Rana Rule in Nepal’

[36] Ryan Balot and Stephen Trochimchuk, ‘The Many and the Few: On Machiavelli’s “Democratic Moment”’ (2012) 74 (4) The Review of Politics < https://www.jstor.org/stable/23355686 > accessed 12 January 2021

[37] Nathan Tracov, ‘Belief and Opinion in Machiavelli’s “Prince”’ (n 33).

[38] Bernard Weinraub, ‘World’s Only Hindu King is Crowned in Nepal Ritual’ The New York Times (New York, 24 February 1975) < https://www.nytimes.com/1975/02/24/archives/worlds-only-hindu-king-is-crowned-in-nepal-ritual-worlds-only-hindu.html > accessed 9 January 2021

[39] Catherine Zuckert, ‘Machiavelli and the End of Nobility in Politics’ (n 30).

[40] ibid.

[41] ibid.

[42] Phil Harris, ‘Machiavelli and the Global Compass: Ends and Means in Ethics and Leadership’ (2010) 93 (1) Journal of Business Ethics < https://www.jstor.org/stable/27919158 > accessed January 12 2021

[43] Louise Brown, ‘The Ranas and the Raj’ Historia (Kathmandu, 14 March 2017)  <http://www.historiamag.com/ranas-and-raj/ > accessed January 9, 2021

[44] Catherine Zuckert, ‘Machiavelli and the End of Nobility in Politics’ (n 30).

[45] Gray Remer, ‘Rhetoric as a Balancing of Ends: Cicero and Machiavelli’ (2009) 42 (1) Philosophy & Rhetoric < https://www.jstor.org/stable/25655336 > accessed 11January 2021; Sarah Clifford and Scott N. Romaniuk, ‘Machiavelli as a Misogynist: The Masculinization of Fortuna and Virtue’ (E-International Relation, 27 November, 2019)  < https://www.e-ir.info/2019/11/27/machiavelli-as-misogynist-the-masculinization-of-fortuna-and-virtu/ > accessed 11 January 2021

[46] Catherine Zuckert, ‘Machiavelli and the End of Nobility in Politics’ (n 30).

[47] Nathan Tracov, ‘Belief and Opinion in Machiavelli’s “Prince”’ (n 33).

[48] Gopi Nath Sharma, ‘The Impact of Education During the Rana Period in Nepal’ (1990) 10 (2) Himalaya < https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/46723119.pdf > accessed 9 January 2021

Currency Manipulation: Is This a Trade War?


1. Introduction

Currency manipulation has not ceased to become a subject of debate among nations in today’s scenario. Such strategies have survived the middle ages and exists even today.[1] It refers to the act taken by governments in order to change the value of their currencies relative to other currencies for some motives. One of the motives for such actions by wealthy nations is to gain an unfair competition advantage in the global trade market.[2] The countries basically manipulate the currencies to make their exports efficaciously cheaper which in return makes imports quite expensive.[3] Instead of leaving the currencies to freely fluctuate, the value of currencies is changed against other currencies by fixing the rate of exchange or changing its value (increasing or decreasing); such changes itself being subject to national policy intervention,[4] which results in global trade imbalance in long run by distorting currency prices. The countries with massive trade deficits often use the term, “currency manipulation” in their political discussion. Foreigners, are accused for their “vile action” when it comes to trade deficits, by the politicians and the citizens of a certain country. However, saving a tiny amount of income and running massive government budget deficit can be the actual reason behind trade deficit.

2. Currency Manipulation & Global Economy

Currency manipulation has severe effects on the global economy. It is accountable for millions of job loss in the United States (US) and Europe.[5] Many scholars have argued that China, being the major currency manipulator,[6] has led to possible threat in the trade market. With the currency being devaluated, the market shares in manufacturing industries of China may increase more and more and that may probably lead to increase in pricing power, which ultimately threatens the jobs around the globe.[7] The industries that are highly export-oriented can be annihilated by unjust strong currency. Many Foreign Direct Investors (FDIs) tend to undertake capital flight due to expected currency manipulation or devaluation of the currency.[8] The countries which are substantial importers can be a subject to inflation. There can be the huge impact in the labor composition as well as in the productivity as the manufacturing sectors mostly engage in trade and bear huge percent of job loss.[9]

3. The Ongoing Debate

Many economists have claimed that China has been manipulating its currency so as to provide negative effects for United States.[10] The Department of Treasury of the United States has stated that China has taken a solid step to devalue its currency in order to gain a competitive advantage in an unfair manner.[11]At the moment, the recent debate is whether or not the other countries are using policies in order to weaken the value of their currency for gaining a trade advantage. Suppose, if some other country devaluates its currency with respect to the dollar, US imports from the country becomes less expensive and the exports to the country becomes more expensive. This result in negative affect to US exports to the country and the producers of import-sensitive goods in US may feel difficult to compete with imports from the country. But it benefits the US consumers who buy imported products and businesses that depend on inputs from other country because the product becomes less expensive.[12]

Japan was immensely condemned for undervaluing its currency during the first decade of 21st century whereas Germany is being accused of currency manipulation because it has largest current account surplus in the world. But the irony is that it does not have its own currency and uses Euro.[13] Also, China was just moving towards the flexible exchange rate and therefore, it was accused of currency manipulation. [14]But several claims have been made that the accusation on China is not true. The United States have also been accusing Brazil and Argentina as currency manipulators to give artificial boost on export of the products.[15] Also, the International Monetary fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organizations (WTO) are not able to take a direct action regarding currency manipulation because the rules of WTO is quite unclear regarding the issue and IMF does not have any sort of jurisdiction to change exchange rate policies of any countries. However, they can impact in an indirect manner.[16]

4. Conclusion / Suggestion

With the ongoing issue of currency manipulation, countries like Nepal, which extremely depend on import, can be benefited when it comes to importing goods. However, Nepal already has pegged currency with India,[17] with whom it trades the most. Article IV of Articles of Agreement of the IMF provides members with general obligations to avoid manipulating exchange rates in international monetary system.[18] Currency Manipulation also violates the Most Favoured Nation principle, the national treatment principle and tariff bindings.[19] However, so as to solve the ongoing issue, WTO and IMF should come together, by rectifying the disconnect between the two, and resolving inherent weaknesses among themselves[20] to bring out clear policies. A new organization can also be formed to monitor currency manipulation which shall be overlooked by the WTO and the IMF. Bilateral or multilateral agreement between countries can also be formed to prevent such manipulations.[21]

Many of the currencies in the world seem undervalued because the US dollar is very strong. So, US dollar being strong, United States is considered to be an amazing place to settle the cash during economic uncertainty in the world. The United States also has inflation-adjusted interest rates which makes the US dollar strong. Foreign money also flows in the banks of US, US stocks are purchased and the investment in real estate is made, which has made the US dollar strong, which essentially might make other currencies undervalued as compared. So, it is difficult to identify whether the countries are actually manipulating the currencies to adjust balance in payment and to gain competitive advantage or is it just the dollar being strong. So, the question arises; is this a trade war?

* The author is a B.B.A. student at College of Applied Business, Kathmandu, Nepal

[1] H. van Werveke, ‘Currency Manipulation in the Middle Ages: The Case of Louis de Male, Count of Falnders’ (1949) 31 Transaction of the Royal Historical Society <https://www.jstor.org/stable/3678637> accessed 26 November 2020

[2] Ernest H. Preeg, ‘Exchange Rate Manipulation to Gain an Unfair Competitive Advantage: The Case Against Japan and China’ in  C. Fred Bergsten and John Williamson (eds), Dollar Overvaluation and the World Economy (Institute of International Economics 2003)

[3] Robert Kimmel, ‘What is currency manipulation?’ The Straits Times (2 July 2017) <https://www.straitstimes.com/business/what-is-currency-manipulation> accessed 26 November, 2020

[4]  Tarek A. Hassan, Thomas M. Mertens and Tony Zhang, ‘Currency Manipulation’ (2019) National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge Working Paper 22790, 3 < https://www.nber.org/papers/w22790 > accessed 3 December 2020

[5] Laurence Howard, ‘Chinese Currency Manipulation: Are There Any Solutions?’ (2013) 27 Emory International Law Review <https://law.emory.edu/eilr/content/volume-27/issue-2/comments/chinese-currency-manipulation.html> accessed 26 November, 2020

[6] Wei Liu and Libing Deng, ‘Who is the Exchange Rate Manipulator: China or America?’ (2012) 3(3) World Review of Political Economy < https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.13169/worlrevipoliecon.3.3.0344 > accessed 29 November 2020

[7] Peter Navarro and Stephen S. Roach, ‘China’s Currency Manipulation: A Policy Debate’ (2012) 175(3) World Affairs < https://www.jstor.org/stable/41639016 > accessed 29 November 2020

[8] Troy Segal, ‘Currency Fluctuations: How they Affect the Economy?(Investopedia, 23 August 2019) <https://www.investopedia.com/articles/forex/080613/effects-currency-fluctuations-economy.asp> accessed 29 November 2020

[9] Ernest H. Preeg, ‘Exchange Rate Manipulation to Gain an Unfair Competitive Advantage: The Case Against Japan and China’ (n 2).

[10] Bryan Mercurio and Celine Sze Ning Leung, ‘Is China a “Currency Manipulator”?: The Legitimacy of China’s Exchange Regime Under the Current International Legal Framework’ (2009) 43(3) The International Lawyer 1257

[11] Ana Swanson, ‘The U.S. Labeled China a Currency Manipulator. Here’s What It Means’ The New York Times (6 August 2019) <https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/business/economy/china-currency-manipulator.html> accessed 29 November 2020

[12] Rebecca M. Nelson, ‘Debates over Currency Manipulation’ (Congressional Research Service, 28 January 2020) <https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/IF10049.pdf> accessed 29 November 2020

[13] Scott Sumner, ‘Currency Manipulation: Reframing the Debate’ (Mercatus Center, February 2020) <https://www.mercatus.org/system/files/sumner_-_policy_brief_-_currency_manipulation_and_exchange_rates_-_v1.pdf > accessed 3 December 2020

[14] ibid.

[15] Farok J. Contractor, ‘Currency manipulation and why Trump is picking on Brazil and Argentina’ The Conversation (4 December 2019) <https://theconversation.com/currency-manipulation-and-why-trump-is-picking-on-brazil-and-argentina-128210> accessed 29 November 2020

[16] Economic and Social Council, ‘The Issue of Currency Manipulation’ (Economic and Social Council, THIMUN Affiliated Conference)

[17] Jason Fernando, ‘Nepalese Rupee (NPR)’ (Investopedia, 10 October 2019) < https://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/npr.asp#:~:text=The%20NPR%20is%20the%20national,with%20declining%20rates%20of%20inflation > accessed 29 November 2020

[18] Articles of Agreement of International Monetary Fund (adopted 22 July 1944, entered into force 27 December 1945) 2 UNTS 39 (IMF Agreement) art IV (1) (iii)

[19] Johnathan E. Sanford, ‘Currency Manipulation: The IMF and WTO’ (Congressional Research Service, 28 January 2011) <https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RS22658.pdf> accessed 29 November 2020; Vera Thorstensen and Carolina Muller, ‘How does International Trade Regulation Addresses Exchange Rates Measures?’ (2014) 70(2) Revista Dierito GV < https://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1808-24322014000200379 > accessed 30 November 2020

[20] ibid.

[21] Chen Yu, ‘Currency Manipulation and WTO Laws: Should the Anti-Dumping Mechanism Be Entirely Dumped?’ (2019) 20(6) The Journal of World Investment & Trade <https://brill.com/view/journals/jwit/20/6/article-p891_5.xml?language=en > accessed 3 December 2020

The Pandemic as a Way to Socialism


1. Introduction

The SARS-CoV-2 virus, causing the disease COVID-19, has taken a form of global pandemic today. Among the cases with an outcome, 3% have died, making the death toll go up to 1.56 million (as of December 8th, 2020).[1] These numbers will only go up and so will the importance of vaccines and health services to prevent and cure the disease. For a pandemic of this magnitude, vaccines and health services, if not made readily available to the general public with minimum of costs, can claim even more lives. Health sector involves ethical and moral issues. Medicine forms an essential part of humanities. A state’s responsibility of providing health care to its citizens comes from marxist ethical theory.[2] Therefore, greed of pharmaceutical companies and hospitals should not hinder the goal of making medicines and health services available to all. A lot of problems that we face, including the problem in health sector, during the pandemic, can be traced to capitalism.

2. Covid-19, Health and Socialism

The corona pandemic has brought about severe social, economic and political crisis. The stock markets crashed, panicked people were bulk-buying supplies, and governments are still scrambling to respond. Inability of the government can be related to the effect of privatization of means of production. Such allocation of factors of production to a class of people, has caused class struggle, alienation from self, work & other people, and exploitation of labour,[3] while China’s control over the virus can be attributed to its government control over resources, which in other countries, is very weak.[4] Therefore, the inherent problem is concentration of resources to a class of people i.e. capitalism.

Political economist Grace Blakely debunks the idea that “if the market is flourishing, the rest of the society is as well”, taking the present pandemic and the situation after lockdowns, as a reference. While the rich have added to their wealth, the poor have lost more and more.[5] Critics to capitalism attribute mass deaths and daily deaths to capitalism and its failures. “Profit over people” has always been true in a capitalist society, even in health institutions. [6] “Survival of the richest” can be seen in the present pandemic. Thomas L. Friedman states, “Covid-19…is the logical outcome of our destructive war against nature”.[7] The mismanagement of animals in the Wuhan wet market, which is predicted to be the outbreak point of the virus, for the sake of profit, itself leads to the suggestion that the pandemic is a result of capitalism. [8]

2.1. Health Crisis as a way to Socialism

Marx in his theories, has dealt with public health and basic needs and how any inconvenience in such sector, the cause being capitalism, leads to destruction of capitalism. He firmly believed that capitalism sows seeds of its own destruction. Some even say that “public health is a mid-wife to Marxism”.[9] Commodification of even the basic elements of life can be seen in today’s capitalism-based society. We can see the profit of hospitals and giant pharma-companies is more important than lives of people. We have seen how loopholes in the law are being exploited for gains and profits, by such organizations. However, Marx believed that such traits of capitalism is what leads to its own destruction.

Ken Rogoff, a former economist from International Monetary Fund (IMF), had mentioned that “the next great battle between socialism and capitalism will be waged over human health and life expectancy.” Marx offers criticism to present practice of privatized hospitals and pharmas.[10] The present crisis has exposed the flawed economic structures, labour rights, social hierarchy, health organizations, leaders and human nature.[11] Joel Kovel, an eco-sociologist, in his book titled ‘The Enemy of Nature: End of Capitalism or the End of the World (2002)’, provided that nature would dominate over human creation of capitalism. As per Lovelock, in his book ‘The Revenge of Gaiga’, in any battle between the nature and humans, nature will always stand victorious. [12]

Economist Marina Mazzucato stated that the pandemic should make us rethink about our capitalist society. Alex Azar, the present U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services has claimed that Covid-19 treatments and vaccines, if made, might not be available to the general public of America merely due to affordability issues.[13] Any health system is flawed, when we see that affordability is bigger concern than availability. This shows the problem with capitalism and Marxism (or socialism) being the possible solution.[14]

2.2. Theory of Metabolic Rift

People from the field of biology like Charle’s Darwin and Thomas Huxley have also influenced Marx’s idea of communism. More specificially, zoologist Ray Lankester, had mentioned about “nature’s revenge” in his book ‘Kingdom of Man’(1911), which is said to have influenced Marx.[15] Marx’s theory of metabolic rift was a way of looking at ecological or metabolic relations. Marx had said;

“Large landed property reduces the agricultural population to an ever decreasing minimum and confronts it with an ever growing industrial population crammed together in large towns; in this way it produces conditions that provoke and irreparable rift in the interdependent process of the social metabolism, a metabolism prescribed by the natural laws of life itself.”[16]

We can interpret this idea of Marx with the present situation. With large pharma-companies and capitalists taking over the general will and rights of the people, it is natural to have a political revolution or maybe a revolution in mentality of people. “Class” being the main focus of Marx’s study, it is important to understand his view on dispute between classes. Classes exists to this day and so does the struggle among the classes. At expense of the sick, health sectors have been making large profit. So, isn’t an “irreparable rift” inevitable against such system? As Marx has famously stated “workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!”

2.3. Is Socialism the Answer?

In the present, people fear absolute socialistic health system, as it can lead to lack of health-services, which results to rise in prices. Public health can become a tool for the bureaucrats for personal gains and rise in price can be a real threat as it contributes to national revenue, which the bureaucrats can easily use for selfish motives.[17] However, taking the example of National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, one can observe that it works on socialist principle in limited distributional sense.[18] Market socialist principle in health care and health insurance policy is important to regulate public health sector.[19] Affordability and easy availability of health care is not exactly socialism.[20] It is “socialist principle” in the health sector that should be given importance rather than favouring capitalism  by citing fear of socialism. However, socialist redistributive policy of the US still is not efficient.[21] Thus, while some nations require an introduction to socialist principle in their health culture, some require revolution to their already-introduced system.

Adam Przeworksi has stated that “whether the socialist or the capitalist model has been more successful in practice is impossible tell.” Some even argue that socialism has never existed in its true form for it to fail, and thus, a comparison of capitalism and socialism cannot be done.[22] While it is difficult to establish methodological considerations so as to establish grounds to determine which of the two systems (capitalism or socialism) is better,[23] contrary to popular belief, empirical study shows that socialism (or rather socialist principle) have historically shown greater improvement to health and social indicators, than capitalism.[24] Vietnam’s socialist centrally planned economic regime aimed for provision of social services to all population free of charge. While resources and supplies were limited, an egalitarian approach ultimately improved its human development indicators in comparison to similar economically poor nations.[25] Similarly, in Cuba it can be seen how health indicators improved in comparison to the rest of Latin America after the Cuban revolution.[26]

3. Conclusion

A nation is not of capital but of its people and land. We have only proved Hobbes’s idea of State of Nature. According to him, humans are cruel by nature and there exists war of all against all.[27] For Cyrus Edson, “socialism of the microbe…is the chain of disease, which binds all the people of the community together.”[28] While the statement might be true to some extent, such “togetherness” is only within the classes rather than in between them. The rich have added to their riches while the poor have added more to their debts. The intent of the organizations and companies working on vaccines is to secure patents rather than saving lives. It has been more of a race rather than it being a work for a “cause”.[29]

“Social democracy” has always entailed establishment of socialist principle.[30] Present scholars to neo-marxism and their theories of the state, are the basis to solve the problems we face today. They see this situation as a chance to analyse the world we live in.[31] Without a revolution to the eco-political situation, the situation will worsen, if not now, definitely in the future. This reflects Marxian idea of changes from capitalism to socialism in his theory of dialectic materialism, where in, communism is the ultimate end to all synthesis. Further, it is important to establish a socialistic principle and reform along such lines. However, it is again equally important to note that, in the present world, economic reform, while is important, an unplanned and abrupt one can lead to further weakened public health system.[32] Therefore, the present pandemic has highlighted weaknesses in public health system of countries which have failed to fulfil its socialistic feature and thus, a planned reform in the public health sector is of utmost requirement.

* The author is a second year economics major and business data analytics major (dual major) student at Washburn University, Kansas, USA

[1] ‘Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic’ (Worldometer) <https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/> accessed 8 December 2020

[2] Bejnamin B. Page, ‘Socialism, Health Care, and Medical Ethics’ (1976) 6 (5) The Hasting Centre Report < https://www.jstor.org/stable/3561254 > accessed 2 December 2020

[3] Michael Heinrich and Alexander Locascio (trs), An Introduction to Three Volumes of Karl Marx’s Capital (NYU Press 2004)

[4] Carlos Martinez, ‘Karl Marx in Wuhan: How Chinese Socialism is Defeating COVID-19’ (2020) 10(2) International Critical Thought < https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21598282.2020.1779504 > accessed 6 December 2020

[5] Anastasya Eliseeva, ‘Coronavirus and the Crisis of Capitalism’ (New Frame, 13 March 2020) <https://www.newframe.com/coronavirus-and-the-crisis-of-capitalism/ > accessed 4 December, 2020

[6] Nick French, ‘How Capitalism Kills During a Pandemic’ (Jacobin, 26 March 2020) <https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/03/capitalism-pandemic-coronavirus-covid-19-single-payer> accessed 4 December, 2020

[7] D. Raja, ‘Reading Marx in Times of Covid-19’, The Indian Express (4 May 2020) < https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/karl-marx-covid-19-capitalism-6393538/ >

[8] A. Alonso Agguire, Richard Catherina, Hailey Frye and Louise Shelly, ‘Illicit Wildlife Trade, Wet Markets, and Covid-19: Preventing Future Pandemics’ (2020) 12 (3) World Medical and Health Policy < https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/wmh3.348 > accessed 28 November 2020

[9] Richard Horton, ‘Offline: Medicine and Marx’, (2017) 390 (10107) The Lancet < https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)32805-2/fulltext > accessed 28 November 2020

[10] ibid.

[11] Mariana Mazzukato, ‘Coronavirus and Capitalism: How will the Virus Change the Way the World Works?’ (World Economic Forum, 2 April 2020) <https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/coronavirus-covid19-business-economics-society-economics-change> accessed  1 December, 2020

[12] Anitra Nelson, ‘COVID-19: Capitalist and Post-capitalist Perspective’, (2020) 13(3) Human Geography <https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1942778620937122> accessed 2 December, 2020

[13] Mariana Mazzukato, ‘Capitalism’s Triple Crisis’, (Project Syndicate, 30 March 2020) < https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/covid19-crises-of-capitalism-new-state-role-by-mariana-mazzucato-2020-03 > accessed 30 March, 2020

[14] Rob Wallane, Alex Liebman, Luis Fernando Chaves and Rodrick Wallace, ‘Covid-19 and Circuits of Capital’, (Monthly Review, 1 May 2020) <https://monthlyreview.org/2020/04/01/covid-19-and-circuits-of-capital/> accessed 3 December 2020

[15] Lewis S. Feuer, ‘The Friendship of Edwin Ray Lankester and Karl Marx: The Last Episode in Marx’s Intellectual Evolution’, (1979) 40(4) Journal of the History of Ideas <https://www.jstor.org/stable/2709363> accessed 3 December 2020

[17] James I. Ausman, ‘What happened to USA health care on the way to socialism?’ (2018) 9 (196) Surgical Neurology International < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6187962/ > accessed 3 December 2020

[16] ‘Marx on the Metabolic Rift: How Capitalism Cuts us off from the Nature’ (MR Online, 15 October 2019) <https://mronline.org/2019/10/15/marx-on-the-metabolic-rift-how-capitalism-cuts-us-off-from-nature/> accessed 29 November 2020

[18] Martin Powell, ‘Socialism and British National Health Service’ (1997) 5 (3) Health Care Analysis < https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02678377 > accessed 2 December 2020

[19] H.E. Frech III and Peter Zweifel, ‘Market Socialism and Community Rating in Health Insurance’ (2017) 59 (3) Comparative Economics Studies < https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057%2Fs41294-017-0027-3 > accessed 2 December 2020

[20] Etienne Deffarges, ‘Is Universal Health Care Socialism?’ (The Health Care Blog, 5 September 2018) < https://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2018/09/05/is-universal-health-care-socialism/ > accessed 2 December 2020; Joel N. Naroff, ‘It isn’t enough to Label Medicare-for-all as Socialism. We need Solutions not Slogans’ (The Philadelphia Inquirer, 11 December 2019) < https://www.inquirer.com/business/medicare-for-all-single-payer-health-care-proposals-socialism-20191211.html > accessed 2 December 2020

[21] Lee Nason, ‘Letter: Health care problems are from socialism not capitalism’ South Coast Today (17 February 2020) < https://www.southcoasttoday.com/opinion/20200217/letter-health-care-problems-are-from-socialism-not-capitalism > accessed 1 December 2020

[22] Vicente Navarro, ‘Has Socialism Failed? An Analysis of Health Indicators Under Socialism’ (1992) 22 (4) International Journal of Health Services < https://www.jstor.org/stable/45131072 > accessed 2 December 2020

[23] Roberta Garner and Larry Garner, ‘ Socialism, Capitalism and Health: A Comment’ (1994) 58 (1) Science and Society < https://www.jstor.org/stable/40403386 > accessed 2 December 2020

[24] Vicente Navarro, ‘Has Socialism Failed? An Analysis of Health Indicators Under Socialism’ (n 22)

[25] Alberto Gabriele, ‘ Social Services Policies in a Developing Market Economy Oriented Towards Socialism: The Case of Health System Reforms in Vietnam’ (2006) 13 (2) Review of International Political Economy < https://www.jstor.org/stable/25124072 > accessed 2 December 2020

[26] Vicente Navarro, ‘Has Socialism Failed? An Analysis of Health Indicators Under Socialism’ (n 22)

[27] ‘Hobbes’s Moral and Political Philosophy’ (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 12 February 2020) < https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hobbes-moral/#StaNat > accessed 5 December 2020

[28] Cyrus Edson, ‘The Microbe as a Social Leveller’, (1895) 161(467) The North American Review <https://www.jstor.org/stable/25103596> accessed 6 December 2020

[29] Nick French, ‘How Capitalism Kills During a Pandemic’ (n 6).

[30] Vicente Navarro, ‘Has Socialism Failed? An Analysis of Health Indicators Under Socialism’ (n 22)

[31] Annastruman, ‘Climate Emergency’, Covid-19 and the Australian Capitalist State’ (Developing Economics, 29 March 2020) <https://developingeconomics.org/2020/03/29/climate-emergency-covid-19-and-the-australian-capitalist-state/> accessed 28 November 2020

[32] Alberto Gabriele, ‘ Social Services Policies in a Developing Market Economy Oriented Towards Socialism: The Case of Health System Reforms in Vietnam’ (n 25)