I direct readers of my blog to an excellent (and thoroughly referenced) article on Monthly Review: ‘COVID-19 and Circuits of Capital‘.
It offers a comprehensive analysis of how the COVID-19 outbreak (and the inept handling thereof) is linked to the depredations of global capital and therefore to many other global issues, such as hugely destructive agroindustry (including factory farming) and the scapegoating of indigenous peoples.
It is not all doom and gloom, as demonstrated by these inspiring paragraphs (I have put some key sentences in bold):
To avoid the worst outcomes here on out, disalienation offers the next great human transition: abandoning settler ideologies, reintroducing humanity back into Earth’s cycles of regeneration, and rediscovering our sense of individuation in multitudes beyond capital and the state. However, economism, the belief that all causes are economic alone, will not be liberation enough. Global capitalism is a many-headed hydra, appropriating, internalizing, and ordering multiple layers of social relation. Capitalism operates across complex and interlinked terrains of race, class, and gender in the course of actualizing regional value regimes place to place.
At the risk of accepting the precepts of what historian Donna Haraway dismissed as salvation history—“can we defuse the bomb in time?”—disalienation must dismantle these multifold hierarchies of oppression and the locale-specific ways they interact with accumulation. Along the way, we must navigate out of capital’s expansive reappropriations across productive, social, and symbolic materialisms. That is, out of what sums up to a totalitarianism. Capitalism commodifies everything—Mars exploration here, sleep there, lithium lagoons, ventilator repair, even sustainability itself, and on and on, these many permutations are found well beyond the factory and farm. All the ways nearly everyone everywhere is subjected to the market, which during a time like this is increasingly anthropomorphized by politicians, could not be clearer.
In short, a successful intervention keeping any one of the many pathogens queuing up across the agroeconomic circuit from killing a billion people must walk through the door of a global clash with capital and its local representatives, however much any individual foot soldier of the bourgeoisie, Glen among them, attempts to mitigate the damage. As our group describes in some of our latest work, agribusiness is at war with public health. And public health is losing.
Should, however, greater humanity win such a generational conflict, we can replug ourselves back into a planetary metabolism that, however differently expressed place to place, reconnects our ecologies and our economies. Such ideals are more than matters of the utopian. In doing so, we converge on immediate solutions. We protect the forest complexity that keeps deadly pathogens from lining up hosts for a straight shot onto the world’s travel network. We reintroduce the livestock and crop diversities, and reintegrate animal and crop farming at scales that keep pathogens from ramping up in virulence and geographic extent. We allow our food animals to reproduce onsite, restarting the natural selection that allows immune evolution to track pathogens in real time. Big picture, we stop treating nature and community, so full of all we need to survive, as just another competitor to be run off by the market.