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There has been much comment in recent weeks about a coming great change in how we humans conduct our affairs once we get through this coronavirus chaos.
It’s a belief that a return to the status quo before the virus crisis is practically impossible.
Our microscopic enemy is viewed as the necessary evil to make us alter our harmful ways. It’s a comforting thought as many of us try to get through this uncertain and unsettling period. Maybe, just maybe, as Bill Gates advised a few years back, our leaders will focus more on ensuring we have healthcare systems that are better equipped to deal with crises like the one we’re currently experiencing.
Health or wealth?
From a military perspective, many of the world’s richest nations can, in the event of a threat, rely in double-quick time on very effective, ultra-modern attack and defence mechanisms. Yet, when it comes to the health of their citizens, they are found badly wanting.
It has certainly been eyebrow-raising to see how in these unprecedented times, basically at the mere clearing of one’s throat (it wasn’t a cough, honestly), trillions of dollars have been made available to help the most vulnerable in society when heretofore we were constantly being told the money simply wasn’t there.
‘There has been some nauseating taking of the moral high ground during this coronavirus crisis.’
On a broader scale, however, it would appear that many of those saying the world will never be the same again are the very ones whose lifestyles have been the most damaging to the planet and, by extension, human society. They are also the ones who, more than likely, will find it more difficult to change their ways.
The double-standard, do-gooder brigade you could call them.
Indeed, there’s been an amount of virtue signalling during this time where anything up to a half of the world’s population is in lockdown or quarantine.
‘How come you’ve been out walking? Just stay at home, for goodness sakes. I haven’t stepped outside the house for six days in a row.’
‘Well done you. I hope you washed your hands well after having your food delivered by some random lad with perhaps questionable hygiene and/or social distancing standards.’
It’s this nauseating taking of the moral high ground by some because they have been able not to leave their houses for days on end. The thing is, there’s a fair chance that a number of those voluntarily (for in most countries, at the very least you’re allowed out to get essential supplies) cocooning themselves at home for weeks isn’t too far removed from their normal lives.
Not only can they work from home but they enjoy doing so. What’s more, their house is their home, they feel entirely comfortable there.
For others, and there are plenty of them here in Colombia, working from home is simply not an option. Also, their lodgings are just that, a place to sleep and perhaps cook, but were never envisaged as or equipped to be somewhere to spend the majority of their time.
You see, many of the strict temporary measures currently in force across the world have been taken by relatively well-off people in rather comfortable environments. They have little to no idea of what it’s like to truly struggle.
‘Without recalibrating our values we’re set to continue where we left off.’
Those who do struggle to make ends meet — some temporary government support that’s really only tokenism to get through the lockdown aside — are feeling it the most right now, and always have.
They don’t have the luxury of trying to change their lives “for the betterment of all on the planet” post this coronavirus crisis. It will be a case of trying to get back to mediocrity whenever the normal rhythm returns.
If our wealthier folk do really try to change their lives, cut out the excessive materialism, reduce overall consumption, then, in theory, there should be more resources to go around to improve the lot for the less well-off 80 per cent. A more balanced wealth distribution that is to say.
Yet, in a world where many in that 80 per cent bracket worship as gods outrageously paid young men kicking a ball of air around a field or an equally overpaid person who looks good on the big or small screen, it’s hard to be too optimistic.
Without a significant recalibration of our values, we’re set to carry on where we left off before coronavirus got under our collective skin.
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