Shutdown: How Covid Shook the World’s Economy - Adam Tooze


Adam Tooze, Shelby Cullom Davis chair of History at Columbia University and serves as Director of the European Institute

The shocks of 2020 have been great and small, disrupting the world economy, international relations and the daily lives of virtually everyone on the planet. Never before has the entire world economy contracted by 20 percent in a matter of weeks nor in the historic record of modern capitalism has there been a moment in which 95 percent of the world’s economies were suffering all at the same time.

Focusing on finance and business, Tooze sets the pandemic story in a frame that casts a sobering light on how unprepared the world was to fight the crisis, and how deep the ruptures in our way of living and doing business are. The virus has attacked the economy with as much ferocity as it has our health, and there is no vaccine arriving to address that.

Showing how social organisation, political interests, and economic policy interact with devastating human consequences, from the local hospital to the World Bank, he analyses what the unintended consequences of the vaccine race might be, the role climate change played in the pandemic, and how no unilateral declaration of ‘independence” or isolation can extricate any modern country from the global web of travel, goods, services, and finance.


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