The world must emerge from the more unequal coronavirus pandemic and new forms of globalization, bets writer Fareed Zakaria. Digital products, after all, move across borders much more easily than physical items and have become much more sought after over the past year or so.
In the book “Ten Lessons for the Post-Pandemic World”, the author reflects on how the health crisis should bring about change and debate current political, economic and cultural issues. The book, written in mid-2020, was recently launched in Brazil.
Zakaria, 57, was born in Mumbai, India. He holds a doctorate in political science from Harvard University (USA), columnist for the Washington Post and host for the American CNN. Below are some of his findings:
1. Fasten your seat belts
Technological innovations have come a long way over the past decades and societies have evolved rapidly, regardless of security measures. Zakaria makes a comparison: it’s like we’re building a car that gets faster and faster, but doesn’t have an airbag, seatbelt or insurance, and goes in races without worrying about the risks. . Thus, after deviating from several small dangers, the pandemic generated a serious accident. The damage would have been minimized if we had had less social inequality and more measures to prevent epidemics, for example.
2. What matters is not how much, but how the government intervenes
The United States is an example of a government that has spent a lot, but failed to contain the spread of the virus – it is the country with the most cases and deaths accumulated so far – nor to quickly recover the economy. Despite the help, many poor people were slow to receive their checks, while the middle and upper classes also benefited. Zakaria also believes that ideologies such as the left and the right have become obsolete. “The governments with more relaxed attitudes, which did not work well, were those of Brazil. [direita] and Mexico [esquerda], ruled by staunch populists. “
3. Markets are not enough
The pandemic has shown the importance for the state to act in an emergency, in a way that markets alone would not be interested in doing. It is not just a matter of providing medical assistance to those who cannot afford it, but of supporting the unemployed and funding vaccine research.
4. People should listen more to experts and vice versa
Zakaria points out that many scholars are seen only as part of the “elite” and “system”, which generates mistrust among less educated people. In recent years, politicians like Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro have started attacking researchers to bolster their anti-system image. Thus, being against science has become a factor of political identity.
In order to be heard more, the recommendation to specialists is to get closer to people from other social groups and to propose feasible solutions to their reality. Lockout determinations are a clear example of the difficulty of translating a theoretical recommendation into reality.
5. Life is digital and work must reconnect with life at home
The technology needed for remote work, education, doctor’s appointments, and entertainment had been around for years, but there was a lack of momentum for mass adoption. Zakaria believes the future should have a hybrid model between the classroom and digital activities that is more intense than during the pre-pandemic.
For this reason, work is more connected with domestic life, as was the case in most of human history. It was common for a farmer to live close to the land he cultivated or for a shopkeeper to live above his store, for example.
6. We are social animals and cities remain advantageous
Although technology facilitates physical isolation, life in cities remains more interesting, Zakaria says, as we have more people around to exchange experiences in the midst of everyday life, often in an informal way. So the pandemic has shown how students and staff lose knowledge when they stop interacting in person. And, even in times of business shutdown, a resident of a metropolis has many more options than a resident of a small town.
7. Inequalities will increase
Rich countries are in a position to raise funds for post-pandemic recovery. Poor countries, on the other hand, will have a harder time getting into debt and thus helping their citizens. In times of crisis, investors prefer places considered safer, like the United States and Europe, in a cycle that makes them even more secure, while weakening the economies of countries in Latin America and Africa. . Large companies also find it easier to finance themselves than small businesses, which could increase their power and drive small traders out of the market.
8. Globalization is not dead
Despite the closure of borders for travelers, trade in goods between countries remained strong during the pandemic. The model is very firm, as the production lines are integrated and the products assembled with parts from all over the world. Besides products, digital services also cross borders much more easily. For example, an x-ray exam performed in the United States can be analyzed by doctors in India using software in Singapore, and globalization is taking new forms.
9. The world is becoming bipolar
During the pandemic, China continued to grow economically, while the United States faced a crisis, with high unemployment. This movement promotes the rise of the Asian country to the position of the greatest world power. However, this bipolar world will be different from that of the Cold War, as the economies of the two countries are deeply integrated. Therefore, the risk of conflict is much lower than in the case of the Soviet Union, concludes the author. Despite this, Xi Jinping is pursuing an aggressive policy to gain more space on the international stage, such as, for example, with the Belt and Road initiative.
10. A great crisis gives way to idealists
After World War II, the winning countries invested in international cooperation, which included the establishment of the UN to boost the development of countries and keep the peace. This is a view contrary to the fact that each country must pursue its success alone, regardless of others, and which has gained ground in recent years spurred by Trump. Zakaria believes that the United States will not be able to regain the position of the undisputed world leader, as many other countries seek the protagonism, but that the pandemic paves the way to save the idea that, if everyone cooperates, everyone will have more earnings.