Notes during Pandemic

I thought for a long time about whether I should write anything about the pandemic of 2020 here on this blog. It's such a serious situation that in future anything I might write now could appear to be hopelessly naive or disrespectful. Many mistakes have been made, and I think that's primarily because nobody has experience of this type of event within living memory.

Something which the pandemic has already shown is who is really important in the economy. It's not the highly paid people, like bankers or tenured professors. The people who deliver the most value to the economy, and who keep it going, are the supermarket and warehouse workers, the delivery drivers, care workers, farmers, cleaners, bakers, nurses and refuse collectors. The people who are typically on minimum wage or zero hours contracts. There's a paradox that the people which society values least are actually the ones most essential to its continued functioning.

The crisis will eventually pass, and when it does I hope that the people who got us through it are appropriately recognized. I also hope that grief and anger can be effectively transformed into lasting change. We must not return to the old world which existed before the crisis. In the new economy nobody must be denied medical care or food or housing, and the well-being of everyone, rather than private gain for a few, must be the main priority.