Johnathan Flowers and Helen De Cruz in The Conversation:
Though many in the U.S. are disoriented and disheartened by the lack of an effective federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, John Dewey, an American philosopher, psychologist and educator, would not have been surprised.
Dewey, who lived from 1859 to 1952, argued that democracies that put capitalism at their center, like the U.S., will march toward what he called a “bourgeois democracy.” This political system pays lip service to “government of, by, and for all the people,” and promises opportunities and freedom for all. But in reality, power is concentrated in the hands of industry and the economic elite.
Dewey outlined two characteristics of bourgeois democracy that can help explain the current U.S. federal response to the coronavirus: a focus on corporate interests, which many people have criticized for focusing on business and the economy, and an “us versus them” dynamic demonstrated in President Donald Trump’s response to the global aspects of the pandemic.