Professor Jean Francois Caron’s book has been reviewed by the French Press
Le Devoir newspaper, which is the oldest French Canadian newspaper, founded in 1910 has reviewed professor Jean Francois Caron’s book “A Sketch of the World After the Covid-19 Crisis” Essays on Political Authority,the Future of Globalization, and the Rise of China.
To learn more about the book please follow the link.
Here is the English translation of the review:
Several political leaders from around the world have used war to sum up humanity’s fight against COVID-19. However, notes the Quebec political scientist Jean-François Caron, “it is clear that the pandemic will lead to profound upheavals in the world order, as have all the wars that humanity has had to face during his history “.
Professor at Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan, Caron, in Pandémie (PUL, 2020, 104 pages), explores with his usual brilliance the political ins and outs of the crisis. A lively essayist with a remarkable sense of synthesis, the political scientist, who earlier this year signed The Prince 2020 (PUL), a contemporary and “imagined” version of Machiavelli’s classic, knows how to make political science captivating and accessible.
The health crisis, he explains first in the best part of his pamphlet, “has exposed the significant problems facing Western states in terms of political authority and community spirit.” Political leaders, in fact, did not all shine in their competence at the start of the crisis.
In Canada, Justin Trudeau looked like a deer caught in the middle of a road; he was reluctant to close airports and impose a quarantine on travelers coming from areas struggling with the virus. Meanwhile in Britain Boris Johnson was shaking hands before nabbing the disease and Donald Trump in the United States was claiming there was nothing there. Citizens have not always done better. In several countries, containment measures have been blithely flouted.
This crisis of political authority and this lack of good citizenship are linked and have root causes, Caron explains. Our liberal societies emphasize individual rights and increasingly reduce the state to its role as guarantor of these, in defiance of the general interest. In addition, the globalization of the economy has taken the power to regulate this area from the hands of politicians.
Politics, Caron concludes, has become “an empty shell”, increasingly abandoned by women and men of great competence and subjected “to a form of spectacularization”. The Johnson, Trudeau and Trump, Caron notes, owe their election to their image much more than “their ability to serve the common good.”
Under these conditions, the political authority no longer imposes the respect and distrust of citizens towards it undermines the sense of the common good, thus allowing every man for himself to flourish. In times of crisis, when security is threatened, the temptation to resort to severe, even liberticidal measures, such as general confinement, repression and electronic surveillance, arises.
This is not without danger for democracy since, warns Caron, “once we have presented these measures as having proved their effectiveness against the pandemic, it is risky that we see them as an effective solution to prevent or combat other social problems”.
In order to avoid such an authoritarian shift, Caron pleads for a liberal and democratic restoration which would involve “the revaluation of politics as a useful domain” in the defense of the common good and in the regulation of the economy; through a rediscovery, through education, of the legitimacy of a healthy authority – that of teachers and scientists, for example – and by the awareness that individual rights must be part of “a larger collective narrative that transcends [the] selfish interests ”.
By revealing this crisis of authority, the pandemic has also illustrated the need for a protective state and the central place that must be given to politics in the preservation of the common good. The crisis, writes Caron, “offers companies a unique opportunity to regain control over market forces.”
Solidarity, for months, has been expressed throughout the nation-state. There is a message there. It is not a question of replacing unbridled globalization by national autarky – a utopian solution and potentially harmful to international stability – but of aiming for a form of “regionalization of trade”, the creation of vast economic zones, but closed. , over which “corporations exercise some political control”.
China, some say, could rebel violently against this development, which would undermine its status as the world’s factory. Rather, Caron believes that the country, even before the pandemic, was already heading, because its vastness gives it the means, on the road to economic autonomy. It can’t always go wrong.
In 100 pages, Jean-François Caron gives a rich idea of the political world after the pandemic. That’s an effective essayist.