The problem with the current pandemic is that we don’t know if we’re coming or going. It’s as if we’re swimming far from shore, overwhelmed by one wave after another, and we’re unsure if we’re heading toward land or away from it. China was the early face of COVID-19, but it hasn’t faced many infections… Continue reading What’s Up with the Herd?
COVID-19 has been ruthless in choosing winners and losers around the world. The obvious “losers” have been those countries led by right-wing nationalists: Brazil, India, Russia, the United Kingdom, and (until recently) the United States. These five countries are responsible for more than half of the world’s coronavirus infections and nearly half the deaths. Just… Continue reading What Explains COVID’s East-West Divide?
The presidential election wasn’t close. Joe Biden won the popular vote by more than 7 million votes, which translates to a margin of 4.5 percent. His Electoral College victory was larger than either of George W. Bush’s. Yet, Donald Trump still refuses to concede. The soon-to-be-ex-president tried to pressure Republican legislators to overturn the election… Continue reading America’s Destructive Denialisms
If the current pandemic is a test of the global emergency response system, the international community is flunking big time. It has done just about everything wrong, from the failure to contain the virus early on to the lack of effective coordination thereafter. As the predicted second wave begins to build — the world is… Continue reading The Pandemic Pivot
During the Trump era, America increasingly seems like a motley collection of states brought together for reasons of territorial contiguity and little else. The conservative South is ravaged by a pandemic. The liberal Northeast waits patiently for elections in November to oust a tyrant. A rebellious Pacific Northwest faces off against federal troops sent to… Continue reading Pandemic Reveals Europe More United Than United States
If the United States had quick-thinking and efficient leadership, the pandemic would have infected about 100,000 people and killed only a couple thousand. That’s the experience of South Korea, times seven to account for the difference in population. If the United States had overwhelmed but reasonably sensible leadership, the coronavirus pandemic would have racked up… Continue reading In the US, the Second Wave Is Already Here
You pay little attention to the systems of your body — circulatory, digestive, pulmonary — unless something goes wrong. These automatic systems ordinarily go about their business, like unseen clockwork, while you think about a vexing problem at work, drink your morning cup of coffee, walk up and down stairs, and head out to your… Continue reading The Black Death Undermined Feudalism. What Does COVID-19 Mean for Capitalism?
The current pandemic has led to the postponement of elections around the world. Over 75 countries have declared some kind of state of emergency. Several illiberal leaders, like Viktor Orban, have used the crisis to seize virtually unlimited powers. The Chinese model of full-spectrum clampdown has elicited praise across the political spectrum for its apparent… Continue reading A Progressive Victory over the Coronavirus
Congress is already thinking about how to prevent the next pandemic. See how quickly Cory Booker (D-NJ) has teamed up with Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to write a letter calling for a global ban on “wet markets.” The current pandemic is reputed to have originated in a wet market in the Chinese city of Wuhan. So,… Continue reading The Next Pandemic
During World War I, soldiers all along the Western front held a series of informal truces in December 1914 to commemorate Christmas. It was early in the war, and opposition had not yet hardened into implacable enmity. The military command, caught by surprise, could not impose complete battlefield discipline. An estimated 100,000 British and German… Continue reading We Need a Coronavirus Truce