A sense of unreality is almost inevitable at the start of a year that does not seem new and is a continuation of a dark period of infection, global disease and economic stagnation. Although attending and surviving a health emergency remains a priority, irreversible lessons may already be learned from this pandemic that changed the world and us forever.
Fareed Zakaria posted 10 lessons for the post-pandemic world) is promoted by the global and integrative vision that characterizes it and begins by asserting that in the face of crises humans respond with fear, denial or adaptation. These three emotions can be observed both at the individual level and at the collective level. Denial alienates countries and peoples who tried to downplay the lethality of COVID-19. Lack of foresight and taking unnecessary risks are products of denial. Some of the most favorable nations facing the pandemic were Taiwan, Germany and Greece, with health experts having their voices heard and taken as a guide on how to move forward. The most destructive managements were distinguished by a contempt for scientific knowledge. Countries such as Brazil, Mexico and the United Kingdom rejected the use of face masks and the importance of social distancing. The presidents of these three countries declared that it was just a flu. López Obrador invites people to shake hands, go out, hug each other, move forward and be happy and optimistic as if positive thinking is the cure for the virus. One of the lessons Zakaria proposes is that open markets do not solve all problems and that investing in public services, protecting workers from unemployment and increasing taxes on the richest is necessary. The social contract should benefit everyone equally. The pandemic exacerbated inequality and made it clear that market society, in which everything costs – visas, political favors, preferential treatment in universities and prisons – is a risk to the most vulnerable social classes. COVID has been a great social destabilizer and has exposed the ethical limits of the market.
After World War II, the biggest blow to economic, political and social life has been the global pandemic. In some countries, protectionism, immigration controls and cultural nationalism became more intense. Populism is on the rise with the division of the world between the good people and the corrupt elite.
The post-pandemic world amplified the moral failure of merit: the belief that success makes one superior in the essential sense, leaving the most vulnerable. The economy went irreversibly digital. Life too, with work at home, gym at home, services streamingHomemade food. The idea of an office, a modern application of the 20th century factory, has no meaning. It is possible that what is sensible are hybrid work models, which have less physical contact, although their disappearance would not be desirable. We are social animals, we live in cities where we meet, work and play. It is essential to adapt to diversity and be strong with it. The disease does not respect borders, it is necessary for the global economy to grow. Movement and not paralysis are the only path to recovery. The only possibility for the human species to survive is global cooperation, not the hardening of boundaries. Sometimes the greatest realists are idealists, concludes the Indian-American journalist.