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AND SEIZURE Sean Martin McDonald

This volume is hard to read. The writing is beautiful, the analysis, sharp—but it’s difficult to watch each author painstakingly document, prove, and predict the ways their cultures and politics are confronting the inequality embedded in their societies. Each piece is individual, but the trends are clear: Politicians are using the pandemic to, in some cases radically, redistribute power to serve their interests. Nearly every dispatch points to expanding surveillance powers through COVID-19 apps, some highlight the ways that neutralised publics are unable to protect or preserve political opposition, and others recognise that, as in Hungary, barely restrained authoritarians are breaking completely free. In response to COVID-19, 84 countries have now declared domestic emergencies—and nearly all governments have exerted exceptional powers. The difference between the countries that have managed to minimise deaths and those unable to contain them is not power, money or even might— it is the trust of the governed. Trust, like COVID-19, is a great equaliser. What too many governance experts forget is that you cannot legislate or force trust, any more than you can will the pandemic to end. Democracy, when it works, is a way to maintain and grow trust—it cannot manufacture or mandate it.

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Profile for Meatspace Press

Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through c...

Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through c...

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