The novel coronavirus not only exposes the inability of failing governments, it also debunks the false promises of the neoliberal system at large. Whether it is the breakdown of chronically under-financed health care systems, the inability of many to work from home, or skyrocketing unemployment rates, the crisis brings to light the flaws of unbridled capitalism — many of which have paved the way for the rise of populism. Almost inevitably, the public now suffers the consequences of unrestrained privatizations, unchecked deregulations, and the merciless cuts to public spending. But crises always create opportunities, too. The Left should use this moment, seize on the public’s awareness, and make the case for the restoration of social democracy. It might be their last chance before sinking into oblivion.
For Medium World, Alistair Somerville and Atlantic Council Resident Fellow Julian Mueller-Kaler go head to head on whether European center-left and left wing parties should take on the right wing populists at their own game.