> Skip to content
  • Published: 17 May 2022
  • ISBN: 9781913380120
  • Imprint: MIT Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $44.99

Unprecedented?

How COVID-19 Revealed the Politics of Our Economy



A critical and evidence-based account of the COVID-19 pandemic as a political–economic rupture, exposing underlying power struggles and social injustices.

The dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic represented an exceptional interruption in the routines of work, financial markets, movement across borders and education. The policies introduced in response were said to be unprecedented—but the distribution of risks and rewards was anything but. While asset-owners, outsourcers, platforms and those in spacious homes prospered, others faced new hardships and dangers.

Unprecedented? explores the events of 2020-21, as they afflicted the UK economy, as a means to grasp the underlying dynamics of contemporary capitalism, which are too often obscured from view. It traces the political and cultural contours of a "rentier nationalism," that was lurking prior to the pandemic, but was accelerated and illuminated by COVID-19. But it also pinpoints the contradictions and weaknesses of this capitalist model, and the new sources of opposition that it meets.

An empirical, accessible and critical analysis of the COVID economy, Unprecedented? is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the political and economic turbulence of the pandemic’s first eighteen months.

  • Published: 17 May 2022
  • ISBN: 9781913380120
  • Imprint: MIT Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $44.99

About the authors

William Davies

William Davies is a political economist and sociologist who teaches at Goldsmiths, University of London. His work explores the history of ideas, especially the history of economics, and how this helps us understand the present. His writing has appeared in the London Review of Books, Guardian, Atlantic, New York Times, Washington Post and New Left Review. He is the author of The Happiness Industry: How the government & big business sold us wellbeing (Verso, 2015) and The Limits of Neoliberalism: Authority, Sovereignty and the Logic of Competition (Sage, 2014; reissued with a new introduction in 2016).

Related titles