Experts from the frontlines of global policy tackle the implications of Covid-19
Transformative change can come out of the COVID-19 crisis, which has exposed everything that's wrong with decades of the world's governments betting on militarism, competition and wealth creation. A return to sanity and humane governance is still possible. We need a pandemic pivot. Both a sobering analysis of the present moment and a hopeful cry on behalf of the power inherent in a global, people-oriented response to the pandemic and the societal breakdown that led to it, The Pandemic Pivot offers insight and an actionable framework for what Cindy Wiesner calls "a just transition to a regenerative, anti-racist, feminist economy." As The Pandemic Pivot demonstrates, equity and cooperation aren't just nice principles, they're survival strategies. In June and July of 2020, the Institute for Policy Studies invited 68 of the world's leading thinkers and activists to participate in eight in-depth discussions. Their task: to assess the implications of COVID-19 for key global issues as well as the potential for transformative change coming out of this crisis. They discussed a Green recovery, the global economy, coronavirus authoritarianism, migrants and refugees, budget priorities, the global ceasefire, international civil society, and multilateral cooperation. This report by John Feffer from the frontlines of global policy stands in stark contrast to the reality in the world today. Reading it amounts to a return to sanity and humane governance, and illuminates the way forward that is still possible if we begin soon. Participants included EcoEquity Executive Director and author Tom Athanasiou; Nigerian architect, environmental activist and author Nnimmo Bassey; Focus on the Global South co-founder and author Walden Bello; CODEPINK and Global Exchange co-founder and acclaimed peace activist Medea Benjamin; AFL-CIO International Department director Cathy Feingold; Indian columnist and International Development Economics Associates executive secretary Jayati Ghosh; author and arms trade expert Bill Hartung; Peace and World Security Studies director and noted author Michael Klare; Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft CEO and noted author Lora Lumpe; Yale professor and distinguished author on human rights and peace studies Samuel Moyn; Geneva-based human rights advocate Aziz Muhamat; acclaimed political philosopher Jan-Werner Muller; African storyteller and writer Coumba Toure--to name just a few, representing organizations and regions from across the globe.
About the Author
John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies. He is the author, most recently, of Aftershock: A Journey into Eastern Europe's Broken Dreams and the Splinterlands trilogy.
The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is a progressive think tank based in Washington, DC, dedicated to building a more equitable, ecologically sustainable, and peaceful society. In partnership with dynamic social movements, we turn transformative policy ideas into action. Based in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, the Transnational Institute is an international research and advocacy institute committed to building a just, democratic, and sustainable world. For more than forty years, TNI has served as a unique nexus between social movements, engaged scholars, and policy makers. Focus on the Global South was established in 1995 to challenge neoliberalism, militarism and corporate-driven globalisation while strengthening just and equitable alternatives. With offices in Bangkok, New Delhi, and Manila, we work in solidarity with the Global South--the great majority of humanity that is marginalized and dispossessed by corporate-driven globalisation and global capitalism--believing that progressive social change and Global South solidarity are imperative if the needs and aspirations of oppressed peoples across the world are to be met.
"If a crisis is also an opportunity, teachers and students everywhere can benefit from this collective but visionary response to the pandemic. Across crucial policy areas, diverse voices suggest how we can seize our moment to leap beyond some of the endemic injustices of the past, locally and globally." —Samuel Moyn, Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School and Professor of History at Yale University
"Feffer (Aftershocks), a foreign policy analyst at the Institute for Policy Studies, gathers ideas from the institute’s summer 2020 symposium in this incisive and far-reaching treatise on the potential for post-pandemic global reform. Drawing from discussions held by think-tank founder Walden Bello, labor union director Cathy Feingold, Yale University history and law professor Samuel Moyn, and other progressives, Feffer contends that the Covid-19 pandemic, income inequality, and climate change are interconnected issues that must be addressed by a concerted global effort. A chapter on the prospects for a “Green recovery” from the pandemic notes that politicians in the E.U., South Korea, and the U.S. have proposed Green New Deals, and raises ideas for how best to manage the decline of the fossil fuel industry. Feffer also summarizes participants’ thoughts on issues the pandemic has brought into sharp relief, including income disparities along racial and ethnic lines and the potential consequences of a break in the international food supply chain. Though participants provide few specific, substantive plans of action, they point to organizations such as the UN and the World Social Forum as models for international cooperation and problem-solving. Progressives will gather valuable talking points from this shrewd assessment of the current state of global affairs."—Publishers Weekly
"At a moment when faculty across the disciplines should be encouraging students to get involved in solving the world's urgent problems—from the pandemic and public health to global warming and war to inequality and injustices related to racism, sexism, and other systems of oppression—The Pandemic Pivot is an excellent, cutting-edge text to assign for discussion, debate, and helping students envision bold new ideas. Importantly, the book is full of big proposals for urgent structural change from a diverse group of experts from around the globe and is written in an accessible, conversational style that will allow undergraduate and graduate students alike to engage deeply with the issues at hand."—David Vine is Professor of Anthropology at American University and is the author of The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State