The Pandemic Pivot

Experts From the Frontlines of Global Policy Tackle the Implications of COVID-19

John Feffer


Transformative change can come out of the COVID-19 crisis, which has exposed everything that’s wrong with decades of the world’s governments betting on militarism, competition, and wealth creation. A return to sanity and humane governance is still possible.

We need a pandemic pivot.

Both a sobering analysis of the present moment and a hopeful cry on behalf of a global, people-oriented response to it, The Pandemic Pivot offers insight and an actionable framework for what Cindy Wiesner calls “a just transition to a regenerative, anti-racist, feminist economy.”

As The Pandemic Pivot demonstrates, equity and cooperation aren’t just nice principles — they are survival strategies.

John Feffer's Pandemic Pivot Book Cover

Key Findings

  • Returning to the pre-pandemic liberal status quo is not feasible for a world faced with climate change, economic inequality, a refugee crisis, and widespread war and conflict.
  • The right-wing nationalist alternative has failed to address these urgent crises. The countries with the worst records on COVID are all led by right-wing nationalists: the United States, Brazil, India, and Russia.
  • In response to COVID, wealthy countries passed enormous relief packages. So, despite claims to the contrary, funding can be found to address emergencies, including the current climate crisis.

A Survey of Global Thinkers

In June and July of 2020, the Institute for Policy Studies invited 68 of the world’s leading thinkers and activists to participate in eight in-depth discussions. Their task: to assess the implications of COVID-19 for key global issues as well as the potential for transformative change coming out of this crisis.

They discussed a green recovery, the global economy, coronavirus authoritarianism, migrants and refugees, budget priorities, a global ceasefire, international civil society, and multilateral cooperation.

This report by John Feffer from the frontlines of global policy stands in stark contrast to the reality in the world today. It shows the way forward for a return to sanity and humane governance, if we begin soon.

Pandemic Pivot Video Series

Thea Riofrancos on covid-19 and the green new deal-pandemic pivot
richard javad heydarian on biden foreign policy toward asia - pandemic pivot
Walden Bello on the global economy and China-Pandemic Pivot
Tobita Chow on US-China Relations-Pandemic Pivot
Wolfram Schaffar - Pandemic Pivot - COVID-19 - Coronavirus Authoritarianism
Shalmali Guttal - Pandemic Pivot - COVID-19 - Mobilizing resources to fight COVID-19
Jenny Ricks on covid-19 and global inequality - pandemic pivot
michael klare on war in the covid era - pandemic pivot
Brid Brennan on COVID-19 impact on migrant labor - Pandemic Pivot
Coumba Toure on the impact of COVID-19


To name just a few, participants included:

EcoEquity Executive Director and author Tom Athanasiou

Nigerian architect, environmental activist, and author Nnimmo Bassey

Focus on the Global South co-founder and author Walden Bello

CODEPINK and Global Exchange co-founder and acclaimed peace activist Medea Benjamin

AFL-CIO International Department director Cathy Feingold

Indian columnist and International Development Economics Associates executive secretary Jayati Ghosh

Author and arms trade expert Bill Hartung

Peace and World Security Studies director and noted author Michael Klare

Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft CEO and noted author Lora Lumpe

Yale professor and distinguished author on human rights and peace studies Samuel Moyn

Geneva-based human rights advocate Aziz Muhamat

Acclaimed political philosopher Jan-Werner Muller

African storyteller and writer Coumba Toure


  • American exceptionalism has made the United States more vulnerable to global threats such as pandemics and climate change.
  • The United States, and the world more generally, can’t afford to spend hundreds of billions of dollars every year on militaries that have done nothing to protect people from viruses, global warming, and poverty.
  • Green New Deals are an integral part of the pandemic pivot by mobilizing international cooperation to rebuild economies on sustainable foundations and shrink the global carbon footprint.

Media Contacts:

Olivia Alperstein