What’s been made visible by COVID-19 and what might become invisible once again

This is a lovely passage from Martin Parker in the introduction to his edited book, describing how this crisis has left the social structure starkly revealed. From pg 13:

Like an acid eating away the flesh, COVID-19 has allowed us to see the bones of the social structure, to unveil the inequalities that mean some have to travel to work in care homes and fruit-picking fields, while others self-isolate and edit books. Nice work, if you can get it.

He suggests the same true is of infrastructure which can be seen by all as “profoundly entangled (allowing the global spread of this pandemic in months) and also profoundly concentrated (meaning that certain big companies have benefitted massively” (pg 13). The risk he points to is that “rebounding could all too easily be shaped by the patterns of infrastructure that already exist” with that newfound visibility could fade into the background:

The danger is that, as the COVID-19 crisis becomes less urgent in the global north, we will see a rebound to carbon capitalism on a global scale, as states, corporations and consumers try to ensure that economies return to growth just as extreme austerity measures are demanded to pay down state debt. (And the heroes of the story will be strong government, and then a list of the big corporations that have provided us with supermarkets, pharmaceuticals, logistics, home entertainment and social media.) Crisis will be forgotten for a while, and human beings will once again imagine that they really are the masters of the world.

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