COVID-19 and the Neoliberal House of Cards

John Morrissey

Transforming Society (19-06-2020)


When asked for his thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Irish writer Kevin Barry remarked that his greatest hope was that we realise that “we have been living in a fable, a fable of progress, growth and equality”. For the last 50 years, that fable has been neoliberalism and has involved a conjoined political and economic vision that has normalised ecological depletion, worked to deregulate environmental responsibility and ultimately been destructive of life and human security. COVID-19 has begun to bring down the neoliberal house of cards, and the idea of endless growth has been revealed as a consumerist fable. The fable, as Barry dolefully observes, was always “a very flimsy construction”.

About Prof. John Morrissey

John has published widely in the areas of geopolitics, imperialism, security and development. His books include Negotiating Colonialism (2003), Spatial Justice and the Irish Crisis (2014), The Long War (2017) and Haven (2020). His research has been supported by various grants, from the British Academy, Clinton Institute for American Studies, ESRC and IRC, and in recent years he has held research fellowships at City University of New York, LUISS University Rome, Virginia Tech, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. In addition to his research, John is passionately committed to teaching. At NUI Galway, he is the Programme Director of the MA in Environment, Society and Development, a leading Masters programme attracting international students from all over the world. The programme has won a number of accolades for its civic engagement element, which involves students working on the ground with the UN in Bosnia. John won the President's Award for Teaching Excellence at NUI Galway in 2011 and for a second time in 2018, and in 2012 won the NAIRTL Irish National Academy Award for Research and Teaching Excellence.
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