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Microbes and Macroeconomics: Understanding the Pandemic and the Global Slump

Activist economists David McNally and Hadas Thier discuss the state of the global economy.

As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold across the world it has become increasingly obvious that we’ve only seen the first wave of shocks it will send through the global economy before things “return to normal.” Each week brings a new and completely unprecedented turn—from record setting unemployment claims, to the total implosion of oil prices. And while the conditions of lockdown are undoubtedly the catalyst for the turmoil roiling through global markets, what if it’s Capitalism’s “normal” that paved the way for the economic crisis looming on the horizon?

In this virtual teach-in, radical economists David McNally (author of the essential Global Slump) and Hadas Thier (author of the forthcoming A People’s Guide to Capitalism) help activists make sense of the twists, turns, and sudden collapses in the world economy that have been playing out in the background during this global health emergency.

With its constant need for growth and expansion, Capitalism leaves the majority of humanity behind in the best of times, and, as we’re now hearing from the mouths of politicians and titans of industry, in the worst of times it literally asks working-people to risk their lives for the sake of corporate profits. McNally and Thier cut through the spin, assess what the crisis will mean for simmering global rivalries, and make the case for reorganizing our economic priorities.

David McNally is the Cullen Distinguished Professor of History and Business at the University of Houston and an editor of Spectre Journal. McNally is the author of seven books including Blood and Money, Global Slump, and Monsters of the Market

Hadas Thier is a regular contributor to Jacobin Magazine and is the author of the forthcoming A People’s Guide to Capitalism, which you can pre-order here.

For more radical, accessible economic history and theory, check out Economics for the 99%: A Reading List, where you can get 30% off and a free ebook with every purchase (where available).

  • Blood and Money

    Blood and Money tells the story of money as a history of violence and human bondage.

  • Monsters of the Market

    Everywhere the Market goes it spawns monsters in its wake. From Frankenstein, to Zombies, McNally analyzes these creatures of Capitalism.
  • A People's Guide to Capitalism

    A lively, accessible, and timely guide to Capitalism for those who want to understand and dismantle the world of the 1%

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