WORLD ECONOMY AFTER COVID19-WB
This course will examine the political economy of resilience, recovery and reorganization in the face of the world crisis unleashed by the pandemic of Covid-19 in 2020/21 and by war in 2022. The class will build on a background analysis of relevant historical phenomena, in particular the rise of the dollar system in the aftermath of World War One, the global breakdown of the Great Depression, and the US experience of economic and social mobilizations to meet severe challenges, such as during the New Deal (1933-1939) and the mobilization for the Second World War (1940-45). It will examine how core lessons of those experiences were diluted in the post-war years, the advent of neoliberalism and the specific context of the Great Financial Crisis of 2007-2009 and its aftermath, with the rise of precarity as a core feature of many Western societies. The class will then take a broad look at contrasting models of economic and industrial development, including the early post-war reconstruction of Europe and Japan, the rise of China, the fall of the Soviet Union and the subsequent collapse and ultimate recovery of the Russian Federation. We will then take up the economic challenges of the pandemic, as they were experienced in the US and elsewhere. We will examine in some critical detail the emergency responses taken by China and by the United States, as well as elsewhere so far as time permits. Key questions include the speed and effectiveness of policy reaction, the stability and effectiveness of the health care system, the reliability of the supply chain for medical products, food and other essentials, the problem of providing financial support to the unemployed, the question of lockdowns and their effect on public health and economic and social resilience. We will explore the fiscal and monetary policies undertaken in response to the pandemic and their consequences for the global supply chain and for inflation. Finally, the class will explore the problem of post-pandemic reorganization and the condition of the world system in view of the dramatic developments so far in 2022, especially the sanctions regime, the seizure of property and central bank assets, and the emergence of a non-dollar-based trading area. This class builds on experience over the past two years with a seminar on the political economy of the pandemic, but with revised and updated material to take account of recent events. I will be working on course content over the summer, so a final syllabus may not be available until close to the start of classes.