stiglitz269_Sean GallupGetty Images_trumpclimatechangeprotest Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Plagued by Trumpism

For 40 years, Republicans have been insisting that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” But now that COVID-19, climate change, and other collective threats are bearing down on the US and the rest of the world, the bankruptcy of this nostrum has been laid bare.

NEW YORK – As an educator, I’m always looking for “teachable moments” – current events that illustrate and reinforce the principles on which I’ve been lecturing. And there is nothing like a pandemic to focus attention on what really matters.

The COVID-19 crisis is rich in lessons, especially for the United States. One takeaway is that viruses do not carry passports; in fact, they don’t observe national borders – or nationalist rhetoric – at all. In our closely integrated world, a contagious disease originating in one country can and will go global.

The spread of diseases is one negative side effect of globalization. Whenever such cross-border crises emerge, they demand a global, cooperative response, as in the case of climate change. Like viruses, greenhouse-gas emissions are wreaking havoc and imposing massive costs on countries around the world through the damage caused by global warming and the associated extreme weather events.

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