This seems to be a good time for some reflections on the current pandemic raging over our planet. It becomes increasing clear that there is no “back to normal” even after the Covid-19 virus is «under control”. Global economic recession, reigning in civil liberties, the threat of a “second wave” etc.etc. are all effects that will devastate perhaps even more than the crisis we are living now.
This outbreak spells the end of a lot of practices, preconceptions and beliefs and will shape a different reality. This is the one certainty in this mess.
So, let’s imagine it is all good! A crisis is always an opportunity to rethink and rebuild, so what if we, collectively, take this opportunity?
After engaging in some serious wishful thinking I have compiled a list of what this Pandemic will put an end to:
- The Trump presidency. The combination of utter cluelessness and megalomania is never more dangerous than in times of crisis. As the death toll rises in the US, this becomes more and more apparent to anyone capable of paying a minimum of attention. This crisis will end the reign of the con man in charge.
- Populism. Choosing leaders that will say whatever to cater to a constituency’s lowliest prejudices and plain ignorance has never panned out well, and as we see how populist leaders fail in the US, UK, Brazil etc. this spells the end of populism.
- Unfettered capitalism. Phrases like «trickle down economy», «greed is good» are all phrases that will be resigned to the scrap-heap of history. With extreme capitalism as the leading philosophy, what we have in a global crisis is brutal exploration (by countries and companies alike) in stead of global collaboration.
- The Pharmaceutical chokehold. In a world of extreme capitalism one of the primary beneficiaries is the pharmaceutical industry. One of the most important lessons we’ll take away from a global health crisis is to wrest this power away from private, global companies.
- Tech-Giant Dominance Sure, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey donating $ 1 Billion to “Global Covid-19 relief” is a good thing. How he come to have 1B to give away, however is another story. Twitter as with the “Top 5” tech companies, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet (Google), are collectively responsible for a breathtaking amount of threats to our democracies, with misinformation and bowing down to dictatorships being the worst transgressions. Do we really want these companies in charge of the future of the human race? After this, the answer will be self evident.
- National protectionism – The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has said: “The relationship between the biggest powers has never been as dysfunctional. Covid-19 is showing dramatically, either we join [together] … or we can be defeated.” The knee-jerk reaction of weak leaders is to try and hermetically seal borders and preach isolation. Once the necessary isolation period is over, what we will do is have more cross-border collaboration and trust, using the international agencies to their full potential.
- Celebrity Worship. One of the revelations of the pandemic is the complete uselessness of celebrity culture. In times of a global crisis it becomes crystal clear who really are the important members of society, nurses, doctors, teachers and basically everyone working to keep the wheels of society turning in stead of posting “helpful” how to exercise at home videos or starting virtual sing-alongs of f***ing “Imagine”!
- Influencers. I’ll venture a guess that influencers in the social media sphere are: 80% celebrities, 18% promoters of useless consumer goods (games, make-up) and 2% various. The post-pandemic era will see new influencers take over, people with real skills and talent who can actually influence people with useful ideas and content.
- Ignorance of pollution and Climate Change. Especially seeing the effect on large urban centers when humans have been taken out of the equation has been a real eye-opener, and probably done more for a general understanding of what we are doing to our environment than 30 years of climate research reports. Fish returning to the center of Venice, a smogless L.A. Skyline, a dramatic drop in fatalities caused by contamination in Beijing are all effects of the retreat of the human race from the public domain.
- Live animal markets. Apparently this whole shit-show originated in a live animal market in the Wuhan province of China. Now is the time to close that crap down. If we hold on to medieval practices, there will be “medieval” consequences!
- Lax personal and public hygiene. How about if we all just washed our hands, huh? Doctors starting doing this before handling patients around 1847. This had a pretty damn good effect on mortality rates at hospitals back then. This is the final lesson we all needed to introduce adequate hygiene standards in the home and in public.
- 9 to 5 work hours – The flexibility offered by virtual tools should’ve made rigid work-hours obsolete a long time ago! This crisis has made the positive personal and societal effects of more mobility in the workplace too obvious to ignore.
- Overcrowding on public transport – Flexible work-hours will be a serious factor in reducing overcrowding. Not having 90% of the workforce traveling to work simultaneously, will reduce noise pollution, carbon emissions and stress levels. We’ll have a quieter and more balanced work-life to return back to.
Ok, so yea, in case you missed it, this is “wishful thinking” on my part, but if now’s not the time, then when?
If there’s one ting you can say about the human race it is that it learns from its mistakes!