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The world to come

New Statesman writers on how the Covid-19 pandemic will transform our way of life.

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A digital dystopia, by William Davies

As Britain neared its worst recession in 300 years, Jeff Bezos increased his wealth by $24bn. His success shows that digital platforms continuing to thrive is one of the few certainties of this time.

Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty

The crisis next time, by Jonathan Powell

The virus exposed deep fractures in the UK’s society and politics, and the government’s mismanagement of the crisis made Britain a global laughing stock. It is time to break out of this humiliation.

A new politics of hope, by Lyndsey Stonebridge

 The thick spike proteins of Covid-19 have latched on to poverty, inequality and racism. There has to be a better politics than this. The question, perhaps, is not whether to hope, but how to hope.

The imminent shocks, by Adam Tooze

As Shi Zhengli, a Chinese virologist known as “the bat woman of Wuhan”, has warned, Covid-19 is merely the tip of the iceberg. We should expect more lethal challenges to come. 

Credit: Doug Mills/DPA/PA

Revenge of the nation state, by Helen Thompson

For two decades, cheap labour in China drove consumer prices down. But when goods are produced in a world of fear and geopolitical rivalry, their origins, not just their cost, really matter.

The old world is gone, by Elif Shafak

Covid-19 has changed everything, and we do not know what kind of a new world we want to build. We are in a state of in-between, full of anxiety and uncertainty, and fertile ground for demagogues.

Credit: Getty

The cycles of history, by Quinn Slobodian

The last cycle of world history was based on sunny depictions of “unfettered markets” and win-win globalisation that flew in the face of the facts; it may now be reversed by the next.

What should we value? By Martin Hägglund

If we are serious about learning from coronavirus, we will have to do more than applaud “essential workers” from our windows or change our priorities as individuals. 

This article appears in the 28 August 2020 issue of the New Statesman, The world after Covid