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CHANGE ONLY THROUGH CRISIS? Reflections on strategies for paradigm shift in an age of coronavirus and environmental breakdown


  • Laurie Laybourn-Langton

    (Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR))


The emergency measures undertaken in response to the COIVD-19 pandemic constitute an unprecedented break from the norms and practice of the prevailing political-economic paradigm—the predominant set of economic theory, policies and narratives. Public health has always been a major driver of changes in political economy because it is a systems-focused approach, providing an effective mechanism for conceiving of and acting against the failings of socioeconomic systems. Into the future, the nature of crisis is changing, foremost as a result of critical anthropogenic destabilisation of climate system and the wider biosphere. The resultant increasing frequency and severity of environmental shocks can be transmitted across socio-economic systems, which are already experiencing acute stress, destabilising them over a period in which they must undergo rapid structural change—all of which presents unprecedented threats and opportunities to those seeking paradigmatic change.

Suggested Citation

  • Laurie Laybourn-Langton, 2020. "CHANGE ONLY THROUGH CRISIS? Reflections on strategies for paradigm shift in an age of coronavirus and environmental breakdown," Working Papers 6, Forum New Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:agz:wpaper:2006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lewis Davis & Sumit S. Deole, 2017. "Immigration and the Rise of Far-right Parties in Europe," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 15(04), pages 10-15, December.
    2. Daniel Stedman Jones, 2014. "Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 10240.
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    More about this item


    political-economic paradigm; pandemics; environmental breakdown;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B20 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - General
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N92 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N94 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: 1913-
    • Q00 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - General

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