Corona and Civilizational Learning
Every few decades, a massive reset seem to hit civilization, which effectively determines the behaviour of human beings for next few decades
World War II and the resultant shortages / attach on Japan, economic activities first heightened due to the war and later years of unparalleled prosperity in the US and elsewhere defined the last 50–60 years.
India, specifically seemed to bloom out of its cocoon of self imposed socialistic austerity into relative peace and prosperity. The last 30 years lifted crores of Indians out of poverty.
What started with a shrug of a shoulder and WhatsApp jokes about how the virus would die in the Indian summer, eventually is now looking like a massive reset of everything we took for granted.
Millions of Indians are completely stupefied of what the future holds. Migrant workers, urban gig economy participants have livelihoods vanishing into thin air with no guarantees of getting back to normalcy
Businessmen who have invested their life’s savings into their businesses don’t know how to pay the next salaries
Middle class people with home loan EMIs have to be content with the finance ministers moratorium, which still comes with an interest cost.
The response of the government as well as us seems to be that this lockdown of 3 weeks will insulate us and we will all be back to what we were doing — the moratoriums, extended deadlines — all signify a wait and cautiously watch and hope that the problem takes care of itself.
But think. This is the first event which has impacted 200 + countries — the most global catastrophe as yet. The world wars — were a misnomer — more than 1/2 of the countries in the world stayed out of both of them. They were largely European wars with America thrown in.
Corona however, started in the east and has rapidly ensured that our western most continent has now become the epicenter.
A country of 130 bn has gone into a virtual lockdown — wind is blowing, sparrows are back and all that.
In my view, this is a chance — no, a guarantee that many things will change:
- Self sufficiency — people will do their own chores. Extreme people will grow their own food! International trade and inter-dependencies will get strained, especially with the world’s factory. The days of consumerism will hit a reset button
- Healthcare — for years now, I have heard analysts speculate that primary health care should not be at hospitals. Hospitals should become ICU / emergency rooms for Emergency / Secondary / Tertiary care. I recently followed a social media thread of cardiologists who were speculating on a trend of reducing heart issues in the last 3 weeks!! — this may however, mean a consolidation of medical facilities, increase in healthcare costs
- Return to self — the 21 day pause button has forced many to look inwards. Become measured. Read. Watch and learn. I always wondered how our earlier generation were so much wiser. They had the time and mindfulness to absorb what they studied. We live in a video game full of distractions. Post Corona may help many of us become measured and wiser.