28 Sep

Geographical Review Preview: The coronavirus pandemic and American neoliberalism

By: Barney Warf

What is the main purpose of your study? To specify the factors that have made the U.S. uniquely vulnerable to the pandemic, including long-term structural inequalities and the mismanagement of the Trump administration. The paper illustrates that covid cases in the country reflect a series of issues such as lack of universal health coverage, obesity, homelessness, its large prison population, and the tradition of American individualism that views the government with distrust.

What are the practical, day to day, implications of your study? In identifying the factors and forces that have given the U.S. the largest caseload in the world, the paper calls attention to how this pandemic, and potentially future ones, may be mitigated.

How does your study relate to other work on the subject? This paper draws connections between the literature on American covid cases and the broader domain of neoliberalism.

What are two or three interesting findings that come from your study? The U.S. suffers a series of disadvantages compared to other wealthy countries, most of which stem from a weak safety net. Much of the covid pandemic was preventable, and it could have been minimized if appropriate steps had been taken early.

What might be some of the theoretical implications of this study? The paper offers a critique of prevailing notions of American exceptionalism, which in the case of covid have worked to the disadvantage of the U.S.

How does your research help us think about Geography? This paper highlights the political dimensions at work in understanding the geography of disease and pandemics. The causes, and hence solutions to, the high number of covid cases in the country reveal a geographically unique set of circumstances. Thus, there can be no “one size fits all” policy approach to reining in the disease.

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