An inevitable reckoning

This crisis feels apposite, as if it is long overdue. Something about it happening in this moment just feels right, horrifying as it is. The global order has just about held together this past decade and a bit. The impact of the 2008 financial crisis had immediate consequences, and yet its deeper effects have unfolded slowly, its full significance gradually seeping into the wider consciousness. The promise that each generation will enjoy a better standard of life than its parents has been broken, the prophets of capitalist optimism receded into memory. And as living standards have deteriorated for an ever greater number, the existential threat caused by our determination to maintain our way of life with all of its waste and decadence has become apparent. But of course, this is only the view from the developed* world, whose prosperity over the past half century has been taken for granted. We have been fortunate: through accident of birth we have lived in something of a bubble, shielded from the dystopic realities of many parts of the underdeveloped† world. Nations gripped by war or economic shocks that have descended into chaos: blackouts, water shortages, scarce food resources, etc. Meanwhile, we mercifully outside of it all have simply looked on at such devastation on the news, our collective response amounting little more to an en masse exclamation of “oh dear” before returning to our quotidian concerns of how long it might take us to get on the property ladder or whether we can afford to run a second family car. The covid-19 threatens to overturn all this and give us a taste on what we have been missing out on. What is certain is that things cannot and will not return to the way they were before the virus swept across the world. What is uncertain is the shape the world will take after it has passed…………. *More accurately, those nations who have profited from the trajectory set off on by the European colonial project four centuries ago. † More accurately, those who have been on the receiving end, the overexploited.

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