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.
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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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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 26 Aug 2020 issue of the New Statesman, The world after Covid