Lebanon has served for decades as one of the world’s leading experiments in extreme libertarianism, illustrating what happens to a society with little to no government regulation or social protection.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the weaknesses of a health system suffering from corruption and gaping inequalities between public and private hospitals. What role have neoliberal international aid demands for austerity and privatization—known as the Washington Consensus—played in setting up Lebanon’s health system for failure? And what does Lebanon’s case show about the need to reinvest in strong public goods?

On this episode of Order from Ashes, Sima Ghaddar joins Kareem Chehayeb, who in a recent commentary for The Century Foundation argued that austerity and privatization have left residents of Lebanon extremely vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants include:

  • Kareem Chehayeb, journalist, Beirut
  • Sima Ghaddar, doctoral candidate, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Thanassis Cambanis, senior fellow, The Century Foundation