Capital immunodeficiency and the viral contagion of capitalism

Jason J. Wallin, Jennifer A. Sandlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


As rates of COVID-19 continue to surge across North America, the ‘immunocompromised’ status of the West has come into plain view. The immunological deficiency of the West, we argue, is founded on and exacerbated by the conditions of ‘capitalist realism,’ as described in the work of Mark Fisher, wherein reality becomes annexed into the circuits of capitalist monetization and exchange value. Where life itself is born in forced equivalence to capitalism, COVID-19 emerges as an exception to this state of capitalist realism, circumventing the ubiquitous belief that the future will reflect in the ‘business as usual’ attitudes of Western culture and its vision of education. In contrast, we argue that COVID-19 introduces conditions that enable us to speculate on a future that does not simply reflect the ubiquity of capitalist thought. In consideration of capitalism’s terminal state, we draw from the thinking of Jean Baudrillard, Mark Fisher, and Jason Moore in order to issue a challenge for educators to rethink education and its aims absent a singular capitalist futurity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-27
Number of pages8
JournalKnowledge Cultures
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020


  • Baudrillard
  • Bong Joon-ho
  • Capitalist realism
  • COVID-19
  • Hyperrealism
  • Mark Fisher
  • Parasite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Law


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