Adrian de León
10 min readMay 25, 2020

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Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

The Securitization of Pathogens: Covid-19 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

This article argues that the novel coronavirus — SARS-CoV-2 — has been securitised by world governments, international health organisations, and the media to ensure the full implementation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The origins of the virus, nor the ever-developing status of its infection rate or its mortality rate, will be discussed.

Medical professionals and epidemiologists have been working with a novel virus whose effects on humans was, and remains, truly unknown.

However, it is argued that the measures which have been favoured by the governments — lockdown and social distancing — have caused irrefutable damage to the economy and to society as a whole.

The content of the article will mostly be focusing on a UK perspective and highlight the link between the securitization of a pathogen and the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is used as a hypothesis to explain the true rationale behind the government response.

What is Securitization?

In International Relations theory, securitization is: “the process of state actors transforming subjects into matters of “security”: an extreme version of politicization that enables extraordinary means to be used in the name of security.”

In other words, a government will identify an object as an existential threat to the society which will empower them to implement “extraordinary measures”.

The measures of forcibly closing “non-essential” businesses and implementing stay-at-home orders, whilst reshaping the processions of funerals, hospital and care home visits, are unheard of in living memory.

Securitization theorists argue that successfully securitized threats receive a disproportionate amount of attention and allocated resources compared to other non-securitized threats which cause equal or more harm.

Therefore, securitization is often seen as a method to implement drastic changes to the functioning of society or economic order under the veil of protecting the populace.

The reaction to the current novel coronavirus is an example of the securitization of pathogens, whose novelty and uncertainty has been politicized to justify…

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