After the virus
Will the reckoning be helpful?
When the emergency that is Corona-virus, passes and things everywhere return to “normal” what will that normal be? How will political governance change? Will there be a world wide shift in political ideology, away from materialism and towards humanism? (Humanism is defined as a belief in the advancement of humanity by its own efforts.) Will religions be weakened? How will politicians use the aftermath?
At the moment 2nd April 2020; we are still expecting infection and death rates, in Britain, to go on increasing for about 2 to 4 weeks, then gradually slow down. Once they slow to the same rate as seasonal flu then there will be a mixture of recrimination and thankfulness.
Recrimination will be aimed at governments, especially by those who have lost family members to the disease, and at banks for the way they appear to have taken advantage of business's problems to even further enrich themselves. Governments have poured or promised billions of tax money into shoring up enterprises, but reports say banks still want to take assets for themselves.
Politicians who are now in opposition will try so hard to convince the voters that if they had been in government, then things would have been handled better. The socialists in nations where they are not in power, will claim the wicked capitalists are to blame for all the death and misery. The socialists in nations where they are in power, will claim they prevented things getting worse. Liberals will claim they could have done everything without restricting civil liberties. All of these claims are worthless but many people may wish for a change of government just for changes sake, thinking to themselves that anything should be better than what they have been through. Religions may find their power reduced, as many believers will have lost loved ones and they will know that the illness claimed the lives of believers and unbelievers equally.
Blaming the politicians in any government, for operation failures by the authority, is misdirected. Politicians set policy, they set up overall plans and budgets. Bureaucrats do the actual supply and the actual buying of stuff. The operation of state apparatus is controlled by the bureaucrats, not the politicians. May be in the aftermath of the epidemic, this will get recognized and changed. Will the bureaucrats actually have to accept responsibility for their mistakes and failings, their incompetence and neglect of duty? Or will they go on blaming the politicians?
Accusing banks of profiteering from the effect of the virus; is a different issue. When the banks messed up the global economy they demanded, and received huge amounts of tax money to shore themselves up and keep operating. Now there is a worldwide illness that has undermined the business's around the world and ruined the financial basis of these enterprises, it was and still is the responsibility of the banks to help. Claiming assets, demanding 40% interest is profiteering, not helping and may be, just may be, the revulsion at the double standards and activities of the banks will cause such an outcry that reform of the world banking system will come about. National central banks, owned by the nations, should take over, investment encouraged but speculation and profiteering totally outlawed. Hedge funds and stock manipulation should be illegal. I cap on interest charges should be enforced. Money is necessary in an industrialized world but when the tax payers have to support banking when it is in difficulty, then banking must support tax payers when they have problems, The greed and self interest of those who control the present banking system, is obvious and they will not change out of moral acceptance. They will have to be coerced.
Thankfulness will be offered to the all health-care workers; from medical consultants to cleaners in care homes, all will be heroes, all will be worthy of praise. Retail workers and delivery drivers, the police and the military, everyone who all played a part in keeping those who survived safe will deserve thanks. If this thankfulness is translated to a shift in the materiel value and worth allotted to such front line workers, then some good may come of all this pain. A realignment of wage grades so that those with vital work are no longer the worst paid in society, is well overdue.
Market forces dictate that a person with exceptional talent and ability, in any field of endeavor, is rewarded better than average, simple because more people will pay to utilize or even observe those exceptional talents in action. Nothing wrong with this, but why should a person without exceptional talent get paid more for voicing rehearsed and scripted opinions on TV than a nurse does for saving lives? Why should reading an auto-cue to camera be better rewarded than a doctor or even than a baker? Why should a clerk who has avoided responsibility during 15 years of tax paid work, have a state authority managerial post that is paid more than a teacher who has devoted 15 years to the well-being of children?
Nothing will make up for the suffering of so many. Nothing will be adequate compensation for the deaths of so many, but if change is real and for the better, at least some good will have come from it all.