Before the Corona outbreak, and with the help of Jose Ramos, the lead editor of an upcoming book about cosmo-local production, I had been reviewing the literature on historical rhythms and cycles to set the stage for the current ‘chaotic transition’ and ‘what comes next’.
In short, I have come to two important conclusions:
society moves from relative stable stages, through chaotic transitions, which are real mutations both in human consciousness and in socio-economic structures
this change is non-linear and moves through internal or external shocks.
Clearly, Corona is such a shock, partly exo-genous, i.e. a unpredictable outside factor, but also partly endo-genous (internal factor), since our devastating ecological practices are an important part of pandemic generation. It’s a double whammy which both endangers human life and creates a double shock to the economic system (both demand and supply driven, this is quite unprecedented, as economic crisis usually alternate between one and the other). Corona is not going to be sufficient for a full transition, but it will be a Great Accelerator, which has already changed so much in such a short time. I am not predicting that the results will be uniformly positive (accelerating the green/p2p/commons transition), or negative (Naomi Klein’s shock doctrine). Think about what happened after the fall of Rome to see a mixture of radical changes.
Nevertheless, here are some preliminary conclusions:
State aid will keep many businesses afloat, and if the right conditions are attached it could transform society. But if we’re going to bail out large corporations and businesses, there need to be some conditions.
Coronavirus has led to an astonishing shutdown of economic activity and a drastic reduction in the use of fossil fuels. In the short term, response to the pandemic seems to be having a positive effect on emissions. But in the longer term, will the virus help or harm the climate?Personal consumption and travel habits are, in fact, changing, which has some people wondering if this might be the beginning of a meaningful shift.
Green Growth is the big plan to deal with environmental
damage while still growing the global economy. Can we trust it?
A 3:50 minute video
A good overview of the political, economic and ecological elements of the pandemic.
PUBLIC GOODS • March 28, 2020
Without a doubt, it is a serious health problem, but not the most important one, and perhaps not even the most urgent… Let us think that on average more than 1,100 people die every day in Spain from very different causes, and that the common flu causes between 6,000 and 15,000 deaths annually in Spain… This does not mean that the coronavirus is not a relevant or even worrying health issue…. Globalization has transformed the relationship between humans and viruses where the local is global and the global is local. Moreover, many countries do not have effective public health systems which can face the challenges that arise, nor is there an appropriate global public health system…
But if the public health problem is not necessarily as extremely alarming as is typically presented in the media, why then has this epidemic been treated as a problem that deserves almost exclusive attention and with real-time monitoring? The reason is that COVID-19 is not only a global health problem, but is also a problem with interconnected facets of an economic, ecological and social nature, making it a systemic and political problem on which it is necessary to reflect.
Originally published in Spanish at ctxt (March 10th, 2020).
The Great Recession could have killed globalization, but China emerged as the champion of a new global “connectivity.” With the coronavirus, that phase is finished.
Since we all may well get it, this is an important reminder. Act as if you have it and don’t want to spread it!
As communities and as residents of this country, we need to work together to slow the spread of the virus such that the health care system can cope. The same number of people may become infected but over a longer time frame, so the outcomes for the most vulnerable people are better.