Could it be that the shenanigans of a disruptive, sneaky virus will infuse us with enough good vibes to make us better human beings — more thoughtful, more inclusive, more compassionate even?
Could this little bugger momentously transition us to a better world?
Anything is possible and some things are probable.
The Financial Times is the world’s leading business daily and gets a lot of attention in the big business world. It espouses small government, low taxes, free markets etc. Call it neoliberalism. Last month, in the editorial, the paper published this extraordinary paragraph:
“Radical reforms – reversing the prevailing policy direction of the last four decades – will need to be put on the table. Governments will have to accept a more active role in the economy. They must see public services as investments rather than liabilities, and look for ways to make labour markets less insecure. Redistribution will again be on the agenda; the privileges of the elderly and wealthy in question. Policies until recently considered eccentric, such as basic income and wealth taxes, will have to be in the mix.”
I’m not holding my breath for radical reform promoted by the people who read the Financial Times, but stranger things have happened these past few years.
After World War 2, few countries were promoting free wheeling capitalism, lest they be seen as supporting fascism. For decades after, socialist leaning ideologies were embraced. Then the 70’s and 80’s ushered in a global policy transformation with Reagan and Thatcher adopting the once radical ideas of neoliberalism, which have essentially continued to this day. But for several years now things have been changing.
The 2008 global financial crisis saw a big hit to the world economy. People were pissed off that the rich milked the system and got away with it. Occupy Wall St was born but it quickly fizzled. Nothing changed. In fact, because the bankers got away with it, it emboldened them and have since milked it even more.
Capitalism, socialism — whatever-ism — all the same to me. Best to be neutral and adapt to any ‘ism’ they throw at you. But let’s face it we currently have psuedo-capitalism, where big business in the extreme capitalises the profits and socialises the losses. Neoliberal fundamentalism is approaching a cliff. What will replace this dying ideology established all those years ago? The path is unknown and that makes for an unsettled world.
Now that governments are bailing everyone out, including the people who have been advocating for small government, things look a lot different. And we all know that governments never let a good crisis go to waste. A fearful populace can agree to policies that are supposed to temporarily curtail their freedoms but end up becoming a part of the overarching policies of the ruling class.
And in a virus induced world we find out who really are the invaluable workers. It’s not the hedge fund manager or the financial marketing lobbyist/promoter/fast talker in so called ‘bullshit jobs‘, but the nurse, the garbage collector, the teacher — government backed employees that have been socially lobotomised for decades.
Is it a stretch to believe that the mega rich will see that they can’t survive without the workers propping them up and will seek for better distribution of wealth?
An important point I would like to mention — and it is most interesting — is that this pandemic could grant us an opportunity to gradually open up a space for needed changes to take place. No need for wars and great suffering with massive shifts in people. This little bugger of an organism may be the opening to break away from the cynical and selfish mood of the past several decades and align with a more cooperative view of our fellow persons. It might just bring about a new chapter in our evolution.
Anyway it’s good to have these thoughts. Why not, gotta keep the mind on a settled track.
Plus we can’t wait for others to change. We ourselves can do a lot. Support local enterprises. Grow more of our own food if we can. Embrace resilience and focus on our health in body and mind. Through these endeavours we connect to our communities and the greater good in our lives.
Will this save us, save the planet? Who knows? It’s a moot point (question) anyway as how does one save humanity? All we can do is what we do, and that is enough to get on with for now.