COVID-19 and the Structural Crises of Our Time

COVID-19 and the Structural Crises of Our Time
Date of publication:  2022
Publisher:  ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute
Number of pages:  199
Code:  BM614
Soft Cover
ISBN: 9789814951807
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Howard Sereda, Letters: Covid-19 is proof the global crises of our time are linked and need a holistic solution, South China Morning Post, 16 Feb 2022.

"Many observers agree that the Covid-19 crisis has laid bare the gravest problems facing humankind: environmental destruction and climate change, rampant polarisation and extremism, inequalities in opportunity and health care provision, and growing financial instability. These problems have increased our vulnerability to a global pandemic, and hindered our response to it."

"Yet most analyses of the Covid-19 crisis have been piecemeal and parochial, reflecting their authors’ nationality or professional background. Or they are little more than potted histories or discussions exploiting the public’s anxieties."

"In contrast, a new book I recently came across, Covid-19 and the Structural Crises of our Time, offers a comprehensive and cosmopolitan critique of the global economy and society amid the Covid-19 crisis."

Shankaran Nambiar, Covid-19 and the Multiplicity of Crises, Free Malaysia Today, 5 Feb 2022.

"The Covid-19 outbreak was a global crisis that almost threatened to break down the global capitalist system. Rarely is there a combination of crises that take place simultaneously on the scale that happened. We are more used to economic or financial crises that destabilise the system but unusually, this was a health crisis that derailed other aspects of nations throughout the world."

"It is for these reasons that Lim Mah Hui and Michael Heng’s book, “Covid-19 and the Structural Crises of our Time” deserves attention.."

"…The authors do a wonderful job of trying to make sense of a complex problem from a perspective of their choice."

Andrew Sheng​, Covid and Four Crises, The Statesman, 9 Jan 2022.

"Lim Mah-Hui and Michael Heng have just published “Covid-19 and the Structural Crises of our Time” (ISEAS, 2022) that dissects the pandemic as quadruple crises at the health, economy and finance, environment and global levels."

"This book is therefore a welcome addition to the literature on probably the most devastating event of the 21st century."

"Below the surface of geopolitical rivalry, medical chaos, social protests and distress and growing climate disasters lie deeper issues that this book explores."

"This book is an important contribution to the debate over our futures."

Roger Teoh​, Book review: Covid-19 and the Structural Crises of Our Time, by Lim Mah-Hui and Michael Heng Siam-Heng, Free Malaysia Today.

“If this book were to be summarised in one quote, it would be Winston Churchill’s aphorism ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste’.”

“…the reviewer strongly believes that this book would serve as a one-stop shop for the reader to gain an understanding of a range of subject matters. The authors should be commended for their undertaking in synthesising knowledge from multiple disciplines in a holistic way."

Anamitra RoychowdhurySocial Scientist Journal, February 2022

"Mah-Hui and Siam-Heng's book is a welcome addition to this growing literature, particularly because it takes a broad-based approach to "include problems in the financial, economic, social and political systems" (p.83)."

"The authors meticulously document (Figure 2.3) vaccine inequity and the dramatic turnaround in fortunes of rich and poor countries in the post-vaccination phase."

"...the authors need to be congratulated for making a case for Third Great Transformation, in order to build a more human post-COVID world." 

Rajah Rasiah, Institutions and Economies Volume 15 Issue 1, January 2023

"This book provides an engaging and elegant, as well as a lucid account that fits a masterpiece that combines a highly contested but coherent set of arguments, which is backed by evidence to inform readers of the underlying political interest that has shaped the world economy. "

Lee Soo Ann, Retreating from Globalisation, Nationalism, The Sun Daily, 5 June 2022

"This is a very good book and timely too...the authors Lim Mah Hui and Michael Heng have done a yeoman service in connecting the pandemic crisis with an economic crisis as well as the financial crisis and the crisis for democracy." 

Douglas Porpora, Monthly Review Online, August 10, 2022

"One key virtue of the book is that it is highly readable and engaging, even when it delves into important details of financial maneuvering. A further virtue is that the analysis is worldwide in scope, rather than confined to the United States. On the contrary, the book examines differential impacts and responses across the international order. Finally, its highly synthetic nature allows it to effectively draw together nature, economics, and politics in a unified way."

About the publication

“We live in paradoxical times. Traditionally, the West has led the world in theory and practice. Yet, recent developments, from COVID-19 to the storming of the US Capitol, show how lost the West has become. This loss of direction has deep roots. In their usual thoughtful and incisive fashion, Lim Mah-Hui and Michael Heng Siam-Heng, draw out the deeper origins of our current crises and show us a new way forward. A must-read for anyone who wants to understand our strange times." 
Kishore Mahbubani, founding Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, is the author of Has China Won? 

“A powerful and compelling critique of neoliberal globalization and its potentially devastating, but long underestimated, consequences for financial stability, the environment, social equity and democracy. COVID-19 has laid bare these dysfunctions and stresses. But this is not a pessimistic book. The authors argue, correctly, that we may be on the cusp of another Great Transformation. The choices we make today to make markets more resilient, improve social protection, and preserve our freedoms could lay the foundations for a sustainable globalization that works for future generations.” 
Donald Low, Professor of Practice in Public Policy and Director of the Institute for Emerging Market Studies, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 

“This fascinating book highlights the interplay between financial and health crises that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed. Financialized capitalism is bad for the planet, bad for human health, and creates more unequal and insecure societies. The authors make a strong and convincing case for re-embedding markets into society and finance into the real economy.” 
Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA 

“Lim and Heng’s ambitious volume argues that 2020 was the year of the global ‘perfect storm’ of multiple crises, with the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating financial, economic, socio-political and environmental breakdowns. They extend Karl Polanyi’s original insights to appeal for a sustainable global New Deal. While the reader may not agree with all their theses, the scope of their coverage and ambition will set the stage for debates over the annus horribilis.” 
Jomo K.S., Founder-chair, IDEAS; former United Nations Assistant Secretary General 

"This book provides plenty of food for thought for many pondering if the COVID-19 crisis could lead to a major transformation of the global economic system shaped by unfettered market forces and policies of governments in their service."
Yilmaz Akyuz, former Director, UNCTAD, Geneva


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