The Probable Implications of the Coronavirus Crisis — Costas Lapavitsas, Katharina Pistor, David Runciman

> Costas Lapavitsas: “This Crisis has exposed the absurdities of Neoliberalism. That doesn’t mean it’ll destroy it… The nation-state has always been at the heart of neoliberal capitalism, guaranteeing the class rule of the dominant corporate and financial bloc through selective interventions at critical moments. Moreover, [now] these interventions were accompanied by strongly authoritarian measures… This authoritarianism is fully in line with the dominant neoliberal ideology of the last four decades. State fiat is combined with the fragmentation of society as people are shut in their own homes and huge stress is placed on the “individual responsibility” to maintain social distancing… The colossal power of the state and its ability to intervene in both economy and society could result, for instance, in a more authoritarian form of controlled capitalism in which the interests of the corporate and financial elite would be paramount… The character of its interventions give no reason to think that there will be a transformation at the top of the political and social hierarchy resulting in policies that favor the interests of working people.” // Recommended read: Profiting Without Producing: How Finance Exploits Us All (Lapavitsas 2013)

> Katharina Pistor: “We urgently need debt relief – especially for households at the lower end of the income and wealth spectrum… It’s often said that the public health of the majority is determined by the most vulnerable in society. The same logic applies to a healthy political and economic system: its stability depends on how it treats its weakest members. Hedging our bets on an economic system that has neglected these truths and instead prioritised wealth creation at the top has put us all at risk. There is still a small window to rectify these past wrongs, by urgently granting debt relief to the households worst affected by coronavirus.” // Recommended read: The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality (Pistor 2019)

> David Runciman: “This is not the suspension of politics. It is the stripping away of one layer of political life to reveal something more raw underneath… National governments really matter, and it really matters which one you happen to find yourself under. Though the pandemic is a global phenomenon, and is being experienced similarly in many different places, the impact of the disease is greatly shaped by decisions taken by local governments… At the end of it all we may get to see who was right and what was wrong. But for now, we are at the mercy of our national leaders. That is something else Hobbes warned about: there is no avoiding the element of arbitrariness at the heart of all politics. It is the arbitrariness of individual political judgment. Under a lockdown, democracies reveal what they have in common with other political regimes: here too politics is ultimately about power and order.” // Recommended read: How Democracy Ends (Runciman 2018)

coronavirus politics neoliberalism

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