There are two reasons why Covid-19 has killed only millions of people, not tens or hundreds of millions, as previous plagues did: technology and economic policy. The first enabled many people to work from home; the second allowed governments to pay those who couldn’t work from home to lock down without starving. The former has been discussed more than the latter, for good reason. While technology is one of the most exciting stories of our age, economic policy does not, in the hands of most writers, stir the blood.
Adam Tooze, however, is an unusual writer. A professor of history at Columbia University in New York who focuses on economics, he turned the global financial crisis and its aftermath into a tremendous read in his