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-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Sunday Covid readings
Date: Sun, 29 Mar 2020 20:11:58 +0200
From: only hopey <onlyho...@gmx.co.uk>
/Here are some more links:/
* *'In Defence of Richard Horton (and Karl Marx)'
*- /Labour Briefing/
* *'Socialism in a time of pandemics'
/International Socialism/, where Joseph Choonara says this:
There are three reasons why the left should be wary of heaping praise on
1) The forcible herding of tens of thousands of people into makeshift
isolation centres in stadiums, mass surveillance both online and at
local street level, are hardly a model for socialists or a method of
engendering genuine support for public health measures. The Chinese
response has been described as consisting of “desperate, aggressive
measures” similar to those used in counter-insurgencies in Algeria or
2) The superficial picture of efficient, centralised repression
assumes that the Chinese state is more powerful and coherent than it
really is. Again, the anonymous author in /Chuang/ provides the best
commentary. While the central state apparatus could, eventually, focus
its efforts in Wuhan, in general it relied on a combination of
“widely-publicised calls for local officials and local citizens to
mobilise and a series of after-the-fact punishments meted out to the
worst responders”. Outside of Hubei, the response was highly uneven.
This led to arbitrary repression in some areas, for instance the issuing
of 30 million “local passports” in four cities in Zhejiang, “allowing
one person per household to leave home once every two days”. China-based
journalists at the /New York Times/ report:
/A grass-roots mobilisation reminiscent of the Mao-style mass crusades
not seen in China in decades, essentially entrusting front line epidemic
prevention to a supercharged version of a neighborhood watch… Despite
China’s arsenal of high-tech surveillance tools, the controls are mainly
enforced by hundreds of thousands of workers and volunteers, who check
residents’ temperature, log their movements, oversee quarantines
and—most important—keep away outsiders who might carry the virus./
3) [It also] ignores the culpability of the Chinese state in allowing an
epidemic to take hold in the first place—something that has happened
with great regularity in recent years, as the examples of SARS and H5N1
show. The initial response of the state, when cases emerged in early
December 2019, was to seek to cover up the outbreak—silencing medical
professionals who acted as whistleblowers, most famously the
ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, whose Covid-19 related death sparked an
outpouring of anger.
* *'Social Contagion'
- /Chuang /
* *'COVID-19 and Circuits of Capital'*
- /Monthly Review, /Rob Wallace et al.
* Last week's */Economist /'Briefing'
/Putting the economy on a wartime footing is supposed to be temporary. A
look at 500 years of governmental power, however, suggests another
outcome: the state is likely to play a very different role in the
economy—not just during the crisis, but long after. ... /
/The world is in the early stages of a revolution in economic
policymaking. ... Nominally [these policies] are temporary, designed to
hold the economy in an induced coma until the pandemic passes, at which
point the world is supposed to revert to the status quo ante. But
history suggests that a return to pre-covid days is unlikely./
/Two lessons stand out. The first is that governmental control over the
economy takes a large step up during periods of crisis—and in particular
war. The second is that the forces encouraging governments to retain and
expand economic control are stronger than the forces encouraging them to
relinquish it, meaning that a “temporary” expansion of state power tends
to become permanent./
/... Central banks’ innovations will also have lasting consequences. ...
Just as the use of quantitative easing in 2008-09 opened the door to
more of the same down the road, it will become harder to make the
argument that the “magic money tree” does not exist. .../
/The novel notion that the government needs to preserve firms, jobs and
workers’ incomes at practically any cost may endure, especially if the
intervention proves successful in narrow terms. The policy will formally
end once the pandemic has passed, but political pressure for similar
support schemes—from the nationalisation of tottering firms to the
provision of a universal basic income—may well be higher the next time a
sharp downturn comes along. If politicians are able to preserve jobs and
incomes during this crisis, many people will see little reason why they
should not try again in the next one. ... radical change is looming./
* Even the /Telegraph /is now saying this: 'Ministers were warned that
the NHS could not cope with a pandemic three years ago but
"terrifying" results were kept secret.'
* And Dr. Inigo Martincorena of the Sanger Institute, Cambridge, has
just tweeted this : /A lockdown a week earlier could have made the
UK epidemic ~4 times smaller than it will end up being, likely
preventing thousands of deaths and reducing economic
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