Unprecedented?

From Goldsmiths Press / PERC Papers

Unprecedented?

How COVID-19 Exposed the Politics of Our Economy

By William Davies, Sahil Jai Dutta, Nick Taylor and Martina Tazzioli

A critical and evidence-based account of the COVID-19 pandemic as a political–economic rupture, exposing underlying power struggles and social injustices.

Distributed for Goldsmiths Press

Overview

Author(s)

Praise

Summary

A critical and evidence-based account of the COVID-19 pandemic as a political–economic rupture, exposing underlying power struggles and social injustices.

Unprecedented? tells the story of the COVID-19 pandemic as one of political–economic rupture, where the basic fabric of economic and political rules was torn up and underlying power struggles and social injustices were exposed. Focusing on the case of Britain, but with lessons for all countries, this book offers a critical and evidence-based account of unprecedented events.

In early 2020, many of the most basic building blocks of capitalism were transformed in a matter of weeks, thanks to the novel coronavirus. Workplaces and schools were closed, governments took on unprecedented debt, and new technologies had to be rapidly procured and rolled out in an effort to achieve control over the pandemic. Meanwhile, lurking inequalities—of class, race, gender, and geography—were deepened and exposed in new ways, and populations became dependent on murky alliances between states and corporate contractors. Exceptional profits were reaped by some, while large sections of society teetered on the edge of destitution and despair.

Paperback

$24.95 T ISBN: 9781913380120 304 pp. | 5.25 in x 8 in

Endorsements

  • A powerful and persuasive examination of how Covid-19 both illuminated and compounded the vast debts—monetary and non-monetary, sovereign and interpersonal—underpinning contemporary capitalism, and of the staggering inequalities associated with the establishment and repayment of those debts. The political nature of "the economy" has rarely been as clear.

    Brett Christophers

    author of Rentier Capitalism

  • Unprecedented? asks uncommon questions about the Covid-19 global pandemic. How did the pandemic perform crisis? And how does a particular political economy produce crisis for some but not for others? By stepping back from habitual assumptions about the nature of crisis, the authors shed light on our contemporary political economy. They provide real insight into how the Covid-19 pandemic is an extraordinary event that was nonetheless shaped by all-too-common political decisions and policies.

    Janet Roitman

    author of Anti-crisis

  • These authors argue that the COVID crisis revealed a British economy dependent upon the generation and redistribution of rents that were protected by the elasticity of the public balance sheet and strengthened by the capacity of the informal care sector to absorb shocks. Once both of these "deep wells" of support of the formal market-economy' are exposed, a very different picture of the UK economy, and who benefits from it, emerges.

    Mark Blyth

    author of Austerity and co-author of Angrynomics