A critical and evidence-based account of the COVID-19 pandemic as a political–economic rupture, exposing underlying power struggles and social injustices.
The dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic represented an exceptional interruption in the routines of work, financial markets, movement across borders and education. The policies introduced in response were said to be unprecedented—but the distribution of risks and rewards was anything but. While asset-owners, outsourcers, platforms and those in spacious homes prospered, others faced new hardships and dangers.
Unprecedented? explores the events of 2020-21, as they afflicted the UK economy, as a means to grasp the underlying dynamics of contemporary capitalism, which are too often obscured from view. It traces the political and cultural contours of a "rentier nationalism," that was lurking prior to the pandemic, but was accelerated and illuminated by COVID-19. But it also pinpoints the contradictions and weaknesses of this capitalist model, and the new sources of opposition that it meets.
An empirical, accessible and critical analysis of the COVID economy, Unprecedented? is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the political and economic turbulence of the pandemic's first eighteen months.