In this talk, Adam Tooze discusses his new book, Shutdown: How Covid Shook the World’s Economy, which tells the story of the twelve long months from January 2020 to January 2021. At the beginning, Xi Jinping announces to the world public that a new deadly virus is spreading in China. In the end, Joe Biden moves into the White House as Donald Trump’s successor. In between, the shock waves of a devastating pandemic leaves no continent, no country, and no population unscathed. Shutdown describes how and why states and national economies reacted to events in their own distinct ways—and with very differing results. Tooze’s analysis of the pandemic is placed in the context of the other recent major crises, from the 2008 financial crisis to climate change to the challenges of immigration. His special gift throughout is to show how social organization, political interests, and economic policy interact with devastating human consequences, from your local hospital to the World Bank.
Shutdown is being published in German in September by Verlag C.H. Beck as Welt im Lockdown: Die globale Krise und ihre Folgen.