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LPE and COVID-19: Law, Neoliberalism, and Public Health

We are living in the midst of the greatest public health crisis of our time. As governments around the world grapple with COVID-19, they are implementing an array of emergency measures to confront the many challenges of the moment. The pandemic has exposed deep flaws in the very design of our political economy and thus presents a unique opportunity to rethink our existing policies and institutions. Beyond immediate responses, there is an urgent need to think of longer-term structural reform. Law has a crucial role to play in this process and will be a valuable tool in constructing a more inclusive and sustainable post-COVID order.

As we try to make sense of the pandemic - its causes, aggravating factors, and the policies implemented to combat it - the Harvard LPE blog would like to offer a digest of COVID-19 coverage from sources around the internet. Each day will focus on a different COVID-related theme, starting with:


  • To kick things off, check out Prof. Amy Kapczynski’s post on the political economy of the COVID-19 crisis and how our current socio-legal context is fueling inequities and injustices that undermine responses to the pandemic.

  • "Suddenly, we are all statists," says Prof. Joseph Margulies in an article about COVID-19 and the cruelty of neoliberalism.

  • In “Patents vs. the Pandemic,” Joseph Stiglitz and co. argue that we should question the current IP regime amidst the rush to develop diagnostics and treatments for COVID-19.

  • As the United States leads the world in coronavirus infections, and a record number of Americans file for unemployment, Gregg Gonsalves and Amy Kapczynski propose a New Deal for public health and a Community Health Corps, a massive jobs program for the age of COVID-19.

  • In "The Perverse Economics of Ventilators," Shamel Azmeh attributes the ventilator shortage to structural flaws in the market-driven approach to innovation.

  • Ani Maitra writes about "COVID-19 and the Neoliberal State of Exception."

Check back here tomorrow for day 2 of Harvard LPE's COVID-19 coverage. Our next post will focus on Monetary and Fiscal Policy in the time of Corona, featuring articles on Universal Basic Income, the political economy of public spending, and proposals for central bank digital currencies.

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