Covid-19 and the End of the Modern Working Body

by Larry Lohmann

first published 15 June 2020

The vast territory of transnational capitalism is partly constituted by particular kinds of human bodies. One of those bodies is the body of the wage worker. The worker who is supposed to show up on time every day. The worker who gets only so many sick days each month. The worker who can be relied on to come in and make money for the boss, year in and year out.

Modern capitalism is premised on the predictability of this body’s health. But, as Covid-19 and similar pandemics are showing, this predictability may no longer be there. As forests disappear, monocultures expand, and giant feedlots of factory-fed animals proliferate, it turns out that the working body that made business rich has been living on borrowed time.

How is capital preparing for this historic change? How are popular movements? These are the questions posed by this short piece for the World Rainforest Movement Bulletin.