Come on Pontius - wash yer hands!
It won’t be long before we see the first books published on the subject of coronavirus and capitalism. That is, how the latter is both a propagator of and a parasite on the former. The spread of this virus is a natural consequence of globalisation, which even Sun readers may not find surprising. (Daily Express readers look away now). Since there will inevitably be an avalanche of books on this subject by people better qualified than me I won’t dwell too much on the connection, except to say the great strength of our current post-historical model is that in all of this current hysteria there are so many new opportunities emerging for the visionaries—it’s unbelievable!
Some people have even gone so far as to suggest that it’s all about clearing out the elderly . . . i.e. those who are non-contributors, a net cost on the society of the young, who are increasingly fewer in number. I believe there are a number of conspiracy theories floating around on this theme. Where’s Malthus when you need him? Social scientists will be having a field day. Moral panics take certain forms and express themselves in certain ways. Currently we in the UK are torn between being British (that is to say phlegmatic, perhaps not the best word at the moment) and determinedly alarmed. I am sure this is what it means to be an island culture. On the one hand we want our government to reassure us, not least because we were the greatest civilising force in the world (apropos Boris Churchill), but on the other hand we feel vulnerable because we are so insecure we wonder if all our hand sanitiser gels are being imported from China (I was up early yesterday and managed to get two little bottles for 75p each. I could use a bit from both and maybe put the rest on eBay for £10 each—what do you think?)
As a country which has been self-isolating for the last few years, we seem to be facing this pandemic with insolent confidence. Could this really be the explanation for why our response to coronavirus is so less robust than just about every other country in Europe, that because we’re all Brexiteers now, we’re immune? If you’ve got a Farage mindset, how hard is it going to be to accept that much of what goes on in the world (outwith sophisticated trading systems, and hardly even then) doesn’t respect political borders anymore? Those bloody foreigners! Closing all their schools at the drop of a hat . . well, I think the drift of this is clear, and with any luck we’ll have an extension of the Brexit period (if this May’s elections can be delayed for a year, so can Brexit negotiations) and people will take a breather (apart from the elderly) and realise that self-isolation is no insulation from the forces, some natural, some human, that rule this world. If only . . .
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