The Probable Implications of the Coronavirus Crisis — Mariana Mazzucato, Eva Illouz, Alain Badiou

> Mariana Mazzucato: “Capitalism is facing at least three major crises. A pandemic-induced health crisis has rapidly ignited an economic crisis with yet unknown consequences for financial stability, and all of this is playing out against the backdrop of a climate crisis that cannot be addressed by “business as usual.”… We desperately need entrepreneurial states that will invest more in innovation – from artificial intelligence to public health to renewables. But as this crisis reminds us, we also need states that know how to negotiate, so that the benefits of public investment return to the public. A killer virus has exposed major weaknesses within Western capitalist economies. Now that governments are on a war footing, we have an opportunity to fix the system. If we don’t, we will stand no chance against the third major crisis – an increasingly uninhabitable planet – and all the smaller crises that will come with it in the years and decades ahead.” // Recommended read: The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy (Mazzucato 2018)

> Eva Illouz: “The bluff of neo-liberalism must be called out. The era in which each economic actor need worry only about filling his or her pockets with gold must end… The public interest must return to the center of public policy. And corporations must contribute to this public good, if they want the market to even remain a frame for human activities… They will have to contribute to research, to emergency preparedness, and to massive hiring drives, once the crisis passes… Capitalists have taken for granted resources provided by the state – education, health, physical infrastructure – without acknowledging that the resources they were squandering from the state could, in a situation like this, ultimately be responsible for withholding them from the world which makes the economy possible. This must stop. For the economy to have meaning, it needs a world.” // Recommended read: Manufacturing Happy Citizens: How the Science and Industry of Happiness Control our Lives (Cabanas and Illouz 2019) 

> Alain Badiou: “Despite the existence of some trans-national authorities, it is clear that it is local bourgeois states that are on the frontline. We touch here on a major contradiction of the contemporary world. The economy, including the process of mass production of manufactured objects, comes under the aegis of the world market – we know that the simple assembly of a mobile phone mobilises work and resources, including mineral ones, in at least seven different states. And yet political powers remain essentially national in kind. And the rivalry between imperialisms, old (Europe and US) and new (China, Japan…) excludes any process leading to a capitalist world state. The epidemic is also a moment when the contradiction between economics and politics becomes flagrant.” // Recommended read: The  Rebirth  of  History:  Times  of  Riots  and  Uprisings (Badiou 2012)

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Photo by William Daniels, National Geographic

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