Imagining the world after coronavirus, part 2

The topic of how the coronavirus will affect the world is becoming more pervasive. Today I was part of professional conversations, and we discussed the long term psychological impact, like the sense of fear or the distrust in others that will only dissipate slowly. Here are some more features and articles on what my lie ahead.

 Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride just published a short feature, highlighting a likely future of more nationalism and increased inequality.

Ali Abaday makes broadly the same argument in an article for Ahval, an independent Turkish online news site: “My personal belief is that, contrary to what many people believe, we won’t be living in a more integrated world, but instead a more separated one.” He is quite pessimistic:

“Humanity needs to understand that the coronavirus is just a beginning, and that without a more integrated world order, we remain under threat. It’s for this reason that I have no hope at the moment. In the post-coronavirus days, we shouldn’t be surprised if we see countries retreat further into isolation as xenophobia increases.”

David Steven and Alex Evans take a more pragmatic view in a long article for the World Politics Review. One of their recommendations is a new intergenerational covenant.

“Finally, we must start mitigating the intergenerational impacts of the pandemic and renewing the social covenant between old and young. The world has shut down in order to protect its older people. If we were all under the age of 65, the most effective strategy might be to allow the virus to spread, while trying to protect those with preexisting conditions.

As it is, the young are being asked to sacrifice and step up for the old. The vast majority accept that their parents and grandparents are rightly our immediate priority, but solidarity between the generations must work both ways. The redistribution of wealth from older people with assets to younger people with little to their name is part of the answer. As young people are asked to sacrifice their education, it is essential that school and university budgets are protected and not diverted to pay for urgent health needs.

This is also the time for older generations to support the decisive action on climate change and on more sustainable, equitable and resilient patterns of development that many younger voters desperately want. Space must be kept open for these priorities in a critical year for the Paris Agreement on climate change and for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which offer the closest thing we have to a global blueprint for future resilience.”

The Democracy in Europe Movement 2025, or DiEM25, a pan-European political movement launched in 2015 by former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and Croatian philosopher Stre‡ko Horvat, has launched an 8-part online TV series on “The World after Coronavirus”. Starting today, it looks into the long term effects of COVID-19 on our economies, politics, psychology, and forms of social resistance – as well as on the future of democracy.

Danilo Taino, the Germany correspondent of the Corriere della Sera newspaper, stresses the need for a new leadership and proposes a series of priorities: the fight against poverty, welfare reform, rethinking our relationship with nature and the quality of our cities, a renewed emphasis on science and education, and a new definition of liberty.

Previous editions:
Part 1