What will the world look like in 2021?
What will the world look like in 2021? We will never really know, but many of the problems we will face in the new year (and decade) will simply be more extreme versions of those that we already confront today.
The world will only look significantly different this time if, as we emerge from this crisis, we decide to take action to resolve these problems and bring about fundamental change… and this change starts at home, with each and every single one of us. We need to learn to practice more kindness, more tolerance, more compassion, more understanding and more caring. We need to rid the selfish opinions, the ridiculous populism and the self-righteousness. We really need NOT to complain & blame so constantly and we need to embrace the good that is left in our world, we need to stop and breathe.
We’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel, but vaccine distribution will be a long, arduous process. Meanwhile, our post-Covid world may have changed forever. Sustaining a dynamic & sustainable world – from politics, economy, world peace, health and power struggles – on governmental, personal, private and public level, was always going to be hard, even before the era of Covid-19, populism and great-power conflict. In March 2020, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, an influential figure in British intellectual life, described the COVID-19 catastrophe as “the nearest we have to a revelation for atheists.”
At the time I thought the comparison was apt. It captured the biblical sense of shock that many of us felt in the face of such a sudden, extreme, and swiftly accelerating crisis. We “have been coasting along for more than half a century,” he remarked, and all at once “we are facing the fragility and vulnerability of the human situation.”
Now, a few months on, Rabbi Sacks’ comparison with revelation still seems fitting, but for a different reason, and one that matters for thinking about a world after COVID-19.
This crisis is alarming, in part, because it has several new and unfamiliar features. A global medical emergency caused by a virus we still do not fully understand. A self-inflicted economic catastrophe as a necessary policy response to contain its spread.
And yet as time has passed, it has also become clear that much of what is most distressing about this crisis is not new at all. Striking variations in COVID-19 infections and outcomes appear to reflect existing economic inequalities. Remarkable mismatches between the social value of what “key workers” do and the low wages they receive follow from the familiar failure of the market to value adequately what really matters.
The happy embrace of disinformation and misinformation about the virus was to be expected, given a decade of rising populism and declining faith in experts. And the absence of a properly coordinated international response ought to have come as no surprise, given the celebration of “my country first” global politics in recent years.
The crisis then is a revelation in a far more literal sense—it is focusing our collective attention on the many injustices and weaknesses that already exist in how we live together. If people were blind to these faults before, it is hard not to see them now.
With this new year, my wish to all mankind is that we will find some kind of normality, that we will embrace hope, peace and harmony and that we will live with love & faith and that will see prosperity … globally .
From our family to yours….Happy (normal) new year ! Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!