What COVID-19 taught us so far.

Much will be written over the coming decades about this Coronavirus global crisis in many academic disciplines. Sociology, political science, economy, obviously medicine… this will be perceived in the coming decades as the big crash of the 21st century, if the next big disaster doesn’t come to happen. Fingers crossed, let’s assume, COVID-19 will be the hardest thing we will have to face as a western society in a long, long time.

Much is still to be discovered about this crisis; questions hanging as how were we so unprepared, how will we be re-opening our borders, economies, and regular social activities.

However, at this point, we already know a few things that Corona has thrown at our faces:

– Globalization and international cooperation is still very weak and has proven helpless at giving global crisis a common response.

– Western countries didn’t trust Chinese government reports. Italian outbreak wasn’t taken seriously, because no one thought this virus could hit so hard. UK and US late reaction being the supreme example of that.

– The European Union has been languishing for a good decade already. This can very well be the turning point for its future. Will it remain as a mere common market, and German puppet of foreign policy or will it step up and become the European common alliance for unity and solidarity, rising above the economic tool it has proven to be?

– The free market and non-intervention policies have vastly proven incapable of dealing with extreme situations. A strong social state and governments’ capacity to coordinate national-level response has been the only way to stop the virus and envision a solution for this crisis. No state has simply let the market adjust and provide a price-based solution to the crisis. It would have been the ultimate disaster and failed state. The consequences these learnings will have in public healthcare systems and philosophical bases of coming years policy making can be huge. And so they should.

– The relevance of the foot soldier. Every good general knows that wars are won by making sure logistics and provisions arrive to the frontline humble gunmen. History scholars know. Now we also know that the stability and security of our social wellfare system lays on the base of health workers, supermarket cashiers, transporters, first respondents, similar jobs that have been coping the lower tiers of salary lists. How are we going to move forwards now that we have been faced with the reality that a marketing director isn’t as paramount as the supermarket cashier is? Will the nurse that healed a lawyer or the truck driver that kept the food supply running see how their salaries are reviewed after COVID-19?

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