The twin crises of the pandemic and the major change in climate change provide us an opportunity to transform our thinking and approach to things. Like the Depression and the Second World War, the pandemic will let us evaluate a lot of public policies. One definite result will be the leftward shift on the government versus markets dynamic. The demand for prevision towards the needy will be increased drastically as problems in current circumstances are coming under heavy scrutiny.
After the Depression, US president Franklin Roosevelt stated that “heedless self-interest is…bad economics” and that “freedom from want” was one of four goals shaping policy. Ideas that that considered controversial a decade ago were now the standard. As time passed by from that era, another idea took over, summed up by the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, “There is no such thing as society”. The way we talk about the economy limits the political rhetoric that shapes the policies we develop.
Battling the pandemic
COVID-19 and the climate could be the new driving forces of our age to transform the economy and the policies we make. The battle to control the narrative of the pandemic is already underway. First, there is no way that the government can address such challenges without a mindset that trusts public health advice and is committed to the rule of law. Second, people facing great risk and cost have acted with extreme generosity and trust. The model of the economy actor as amoral and self-centred will finally need to be updated. Third is the frightening upsurge of xenophobia in general in these times of peril. Attacks on Asians are increasing and is a way to show how people may still view others in negative light as well as positive.