Will There Be More Solidarity in a Post Covid-19 World?

By Alfredo Fernandez

Photo: Irene Perez / cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES – The concept “solidarity” has made a great comeback, in recent times. Helping others, read here: friends, people in a vulnerable situation, abandoned animals; have luckily become an everyday concern.

The world has stopped, over 150 countries have been in lockdown for forty days already. Capitalism and its frenetic production of material goods, which seemed unstoppable, has come to a grinding halt. A real miracle.

One question that still lingers, not on intellectuals and culture experts, but on every human being’s mind: what will change after all of this?

I’m guessing that many things will change after the worst of this pandemic passes.

Where are the evangelical pastors who used to cure terrible diseases by placing their hands on your forehead? Where have they gone? Does it make sense for people who have started working from home as a result of this situation, to have to travel again to work every day?

Does the aesthetic of millennials and centennials and their love for empty and insignificant things make sense? Is life worth living to consume, to have an expensive car, luxury clothes etc.? Does it make sense to keep politicians in national assemblies, who earn a disproportionately high wage, on the taxpayer’s payroll?

These, and many other questions, have been hanging in the air for days now, in every mind with a couple of functioning brain cells. Many things will change from now on, nobody knows exactly what and those who do take a stabbing guess, are just talking to the wind.

To give you an example: I remember that there wasn’t a single political analyst who gave the Cuban political process more than two years after the Berlin Wall was knocked down in November 1989, and we’ve already seen what happened. Life exceeds our expectations quite often, and what we expect doesn’t happen a lot of the time, but the unexpected does, taking us by surprise, even if it shouldn’t.

After the Spanish Flu epidemic, humankind experienced the greatest economic boom until then, in 1920, which was interrupted by the Great Depression in 1929.

I don’t know what will happen, but this pandemic will bring lots of good things, which will open a sea of opportunity in its wake, just like other past crises. This has always been true!

3 thoughts on “Will There Be More Solidarity in a Post Covid-19 World?

  • “It is no accident that Socialism has failed. Nor that the democracies and free enterprise economies of the West have prospered. These results are the inevitable consequences of two quite different approaches. It’s not a question of a little less planning here, or a little less regulation there, or a fraction more private capital in this sector or a touch more competition in that.

    Socialism is not just about economics. its central dogma is to make the State the ultimate authority for the whole of life. It’s based on coercion. it denies the dignity of people. It is a secular creed which has utterly failed. The ruin that remain of Socialism in Europe today are physical shortages, a corrupt bureaucracy, growing unrest, and the urgent cry of those refugees: “We want to get out”.

    Margaret Thatcher.
    13th October, 1989

    The USSR then imploded!

    But in Cuba the “Socialismo” so accurately described by Thatcher, continued and Cubans continued to “want to get out,”

    Thatcher continued by saying:

    “At the heart of our belief is the principle of freedom, under a rule of law. Freedom gives a man room to breathe, to take responsibility, to make his own decisions and to chart his own course. Remove a mans’ freedom and you dwarf the individual, you devalue his conscience and you demoralise him.”

    One does not need to be a Thatcher supporter to agree that that is undeniably an accurate description of what the Castro regime in Cuba has achieved!

  • During the Thatcher and Reagan years – both leaders of their respective nations years ago – globalization was the panacea for worldly economic success. Every country who wanted this economic success opened its borders to free unfettered trade and/or entered bilateral free trade agreements between nations.

    This was a boon for multinational companies – mostly American – where they began to realize it is much more cost effective to produce products in low wage economies and then ship the merchandise to consumers residing in richer countries. This worked well for corporate executives and corporate shareholders – not so good for the poor worker slaving all day for meager wages and living hand to mouth.

    Residents in richer countries were told this new globalization is a win-win scenario for country and citizens.

    Well, it is now 2020. The pandemic has put a grinding halt to this perceived economic success. Countries with their open border trade policies have come to realize citizens’ health is jeopardized by having essential medical products (ventilators, masks, medicines) made by (again mostly American companies think 3M) in low wage countries while they scramble to now produce same at home.

    Globalization, in retrospect, does theoretically maximize corporate profits and greatly enhances shareholders wealth but what has it done for a country’s ordinary citizen?

    We now hear political leaders unabashedly declare never again will we allow our health care system to become so vulnerable and totally reliant on foreigners. Ironically, the pandemic has focused its misery squarely at those who most trumpeted globalization and its great successes.

    The article poses the question: “…what will change after all of this? I believe some countries will come to the realization that, say yes to capitalism, but say no to abdicating total responsibility for a provincial/federal health care system to complete control to capitalist greed. Unfettered globalization will take a serious hit.

    Margaret Thatcher was well known to say there is no such thing as a society, only individuals. In this pandemic how many individuals need to die so that a semblance of society actually works for the individual citizen?

  • An interesting view, but obviously Alfredo Fernandez is not a student of the economic life of European “humankind” following the 1914 – 1918 First World War – which the US joined in 1917. Similarly if writing of the 1939-1945 Second World War, the US actively entered only following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941, followed by Hitler declaring war on the US one week later.

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