Resettiamo il reset – Note

Scritto da il Dicembre 1, 2021



2: “. Even in the worst-case horrendous scenario, COVID-19 will kill far fewer people than the Great Plagues, including the Black Deaths, or World War II did.”

3: “The broader point is this: the possibilities for change and the resulting new order are now unlimited and only bound by our imagination, for better or for worse. Societies could be poised to become either more egalitarian or more authoritarian, or geared towards more solidarity or more individualism,  favouring  the interests of the few or the many; economies, when they recover, could take the path of more inclusivity and be more attuned to the needs of our global commons, or they could return to functioning as they did before. You get the point: we should take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to reimagine our world, in a bid to make it a better and more resilient one as it emerges on the other side of this crisis.”

4: “…containing many conjectures and ideas about what the post-pandemic world might, and perhaps should, look like. It offers neither simple generalizations nor recommendations for a world moving to a new normal, but we trust it will be useful.”

5: “Since conflation and systemic connectivity are what ultimately matter, addressing a problem or assessing an issue or a risk in isolation from the others is senseless and futile”

6: “Epidemiologists ,public-health specialists, economists, social scientists and all the other scientists and specialists who are in the business of helping decision-makers understand what lies ahead find it difficult (and sometimes impossible) to cross the boundaries of their own discipline. That is why addressing complex trade-offs ,such as containing the progression of the pandemic versus reopening the economy, is so fiendishly difficult. Understandably, most experts end up being segregated into increasingly narrow fields. Therefore, they lack the enlarged view necessary to connect the many different dots that provide the more complete picture the decision-makers desperately need”

7: “Complexity can roughly be measured by three factors: “1) the amount of information content or the number of components in a system; 2) the interconnectedness – defined as the dynamic of reciprocal responsiveness – between these pieces of information or components; and 3) the effect of non-linearity(non-linear elements are often called ‘tipping points’ “

8: “For years, international organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), institutions like the World Economic Forum and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI – launched at the Annual Meeting 2017 in Davos), and individuals like Bill Gates have been warning us about the next pandemic risk, even specifying that it: 1) would emerge in a highly populated place where economic development forces people and wildlife together; 2) would spread quickly and silently by exploiting networks of human travel and trade; and 3) would reach multiple countries by thwarting containment.”

9: “As far back as the Black Death that ravaged Europe from 1347 to 1351 (and that suppressed 40% of Europe’s population in just a few years), workers discovered for the first time in their life that the power to change things was in their hands. Barely a year after the epidemic had subsided, textile workers in Saint-Omer (a small city in northern France) demanded and received successive wage rises. Two years later, many workers’ guilds

negotiated shorter hours and higher pay, sometimes as much as a third more than their pre-plague level.”

10: “Unlike previous pandemics, it is far from certain that the COVID-19 crisis will tip the balance in favour of labour and against capital. For political and social reasons, it could, but technology changes the mix.”

11:”… policy-makers must be prepared to deal with “at least another 18 to 24 months of significant COVID-19 activity ,with hotspots popping up periodically in diverse geographic areas”. As we will argue next, a full-fledged economic recovery cannot take place until the virus is defeated or behind us.”

12: “Only saving lives will save livelihoods”, making it clear that only policy measures that place people’s health at their core wil enable an economic recovery, adding: “If governments fail to save lives, people afraid of the virus will not resume shopping, traveling, or dining out. This will hinder economic recovery, lockdown or no lockdown.” (la citazione virgolettata è tratta da “Only Saving Lives Will Save Livelihoods” di Cherukupalli, Rajeev and Tom Frieden, ndr)

13: “The economic and societal damage of a lockdown is glaringly obvious to everybody, while success in terms of containing the outbreak and preventing deaths – a prerequisite for a successful opening – is more or less invisible. There is no public celebration when a coronavirus case or death doesn’t happen, leading to the public-health policy paradox that “when you do it right, nothing happens”. This is why delaying the lockdown or opening too early was always such a strong policy temptation. However, several studies have since shown how such a temptation carried considerable risk. Two, in particular, coming to similar conclusions with different methodologies, modelled what could have happened without lockdown. According to one conducted by Imperial College London, wide-scale rigorous lockdowns imposed in March 2020 averted 3.1 million deaths in 11European countries (including the UK, Spain, Italy, France and Germany).[25] The other, led by the University of California, Berkeley, concluded that 530 million total infections, corresponding to 62million confirmed cases, were averted in six countries (China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, France and the US)by the confinement measures that each had put into place.[26] The simple conclusion: in countries afflicted with registered COVID-19 cases that, at the peak, were roughly doubling every two days, governments had no reasonable alternative but to impose rigorous lockdowns. Pretending otherwise is to ignore the power of exponential growth and the considerable damage it can inflict through a pandemic. Because of the extreme velocity of the COVID-19 progression, the timing and forcefulness of the intervention were of the essence.”

14: “The shock that the pandemic has inflicted on the global economy has been more severe and has occurred much faster than anything else in recorded economic history. “

15: “According to the OECD, the immediate yearly impact of the economy having been “switched-off” could be a reduction in GDP in the G7 countries of between 20% and 30%.”

16: “The impact of these decisions seemed all the more dramatic because they concerned first and foremost service industries, a sector traditionally more immune than other industries (like construction or manufacturing) to the cyclical swings of economic growth. Consequently, the service sector that represents by far the largest component of economic activity in any developed economy (about 70% of GDP and more than 80% of employment in the US) was hit the hardest by the pandemic. “

17: “But again, this estimate depends on the outbreak’s duration and severity in each country: the longer lockdowns last, the greater the structural damage they inflict by leaving permanent scars in the economy through job losses, bankruptcies and capital spending cancellations. As a rule of thumb, every month that large parts of an economy remain closed, annual growth might fall by a further 2 percentage points. But as we would expect, the relationship between the duration of restrictive measures and the corresponding impact on GDP is not linear. The Dutch central planning bureau found that every additional month of containment results in a greater, non-proportional deterioration of economic activity. According to the model, a full month of economic “hibernation” would result in a loss of 1.2% in Dutch growth in 2020, while three months would cause a 5% loss.”

18: “We know and understand that levels of unemployment are bound to rise globally in the foreseeable future, but over the coming years and decades we may be surprised. We could witness an unprecedented wave of innovation and creativity driven by new methods and tools of production. There might also be a global explosion of hundreds of thousands of new micro industries that will hopefully employ hundreds of millions of people. Of course, we cannot know what the future holds, except that much will depend on the trajectory of future economic growth”

19: “The deep disruption caused by COVID-19 globally has offered societies an enforced pause to reflect on what is truly of value. With the economic emergency responses to the pandemic now in place, the opportunity can be seized to make the kind of institutional changes and policy choices that will put economies on a new path towards a fairer, greener future.”

20: “This raises two questions: 1) What should the new compass for tracking progress be? and 2) What will the new drivers of an economy that is inclusive and sustainable be?”

21: “The omission of value created through work carried out in the household has been a long-standing issue and research efforts to create a measurement framework will need new momentum. In addition, as the digital economy is expanding, the gap between measured activity and actual economic activity has been growing wider. Furthermore, certain types of financial products, which through their inclusion in GDP are captured as value creating, are merely shifting value from one place to another”

22: “It is no coincidence that in 2019, a country placed in the top 10 ranking of the World Happiness Report unveiled a “well-being budget”. The Prime Minster of New Zealand’s decision to earmark money for social issues, such as mental health, child poverty and family violence, made well-being an explicit goal of public policy. In so doing, Prime Minister Ardern turned into policy what everybody has known for years, that an increase in GDP does not guarantee an improvement in living standards and social welfare.”

23: “If we collectively recognize that, beyond a certain level of wealth defined by GDP per capita, happiness depends more on intangible factors such as accessible healthcare and a robust social fabric than on material consumption, then values as different as the respect for the environment, responsible eating, empathy or generosity may gain ground and progressively come to characterize the new social norms”

24: “Some have called for “degrowth”, a movement that embraces zero or even negative GDP growth that is gaining some traction (at least in the richest countries). As the critique of economic growth moves to centre stage, consumerism’s financial and cultural dominance in public and private life will be overhauled. [42] This is made obvious in consumer-driven degrowth activism in some niche segments – like advocating for less meat or fewer flights. By triggering a period of enforced degrowth, the pandemic has spurred renewed interest in this movement that wants to reverse the pace of economic growth, leading more than 1,100 experts from around the world to release a manifesto in May 2020 putting forward a degrowth strategy to tackle the economic and human crisis caused by COVID-19.”

25: “Concomitantly, most governments launched ambitious and unprecedented fiscal policy responses. Urgent and expansive measures were taken very early on during the crisis, with three specific aims: 1)fight the pandemic with as much spending as required to bring it under control as rapidly as possible(through the production of tests, hospital capabilities, research in drugs and vaccines, etc.); 2) provide emergency funds to households and firms on the verge of bankruptcy and disaster; and 3) support aggregate demand so that the economy can operate as far as possible close to potential”

26:” This expansion of fiscal capabilities has dramatically different implications depending on whether the country concerned is advanced or emerging. High-income countries have more fiscal space because a higher level of debt should prove sustainable and entail a viable level of welfare cost for future generations, for two reasons: 1) the commitment from central banks to purchase whatever amount of bonds it takes to maintain low interest rates; and 2) the confidence that interest rates are likely to remain low in the foreseeable future because uncertainty will continue hampering private investment and will justify high levels of precautionary savings. In contrast, the situation couldn’t be starker in emerging and developing economies. Most of them don’t have the fiscal space required to react to the pandemic shock; they are already suffering from major capital outflows and a fall in commodity prices, which means their exchange rate will be hammered if they decide to launch expansionary fiscal policies. In these circumstances, help in the form of grants and debt relief, and possibly an outright moratorium,[46] will not only be needed but will be critical”

27: “It is now conceivable that, in the future, government will try to wield its influence over central banks to finance major public projects, such as an infrastructure or green investment fund. Similarly, the precept that government can intervene to preserve workers’ jobs or incomes and protect companies from bankruptcy may endure after these policies come to an end. It is likely that public and political pressure to maintain such schemes will persist, even when the situation improves.”

28:: ” once citizens realize that money can be found on a

“magic money tree”, elected politicians will be under fierce and relentless public pressure to create more and more, which is when the issue of inflation kick in.”

29: “The combination of potent, long-term, structural trends like ageing and technology (both are deflationary in nature) and an exceptionally high unemployment rate that will constrain wage increases for years puts strong downward pressure on inflation. In the post-pandemic era, strong consumer demand is unlikely. The pain inflicted by widespread unemployment, lower incomes for large segments of the population and uncertainty about the future are all likely to lead to an increase in precautionary savings.”

30:” In the short term, there are no alternatives. The Chinese renminbi (RMB) could be an option, but not until strict capital controls are eliminated and the RMB turns into a market-determined currency, which is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future. The same goes for the euro; it could be an option, but not until doubts about a possible implosion of the eurozone dissipate for good, which again is an unlikely prospect in the next few years.”

31: “First and foremost, the post-pandemic era will usher in a period of massive wealth redistribution, from the rich to the poor and from capital to labour. Second, COVID-19 is likely to sound the death knell of neoliberalism, a corpus of ideas and policies that can loosely be defined as favouring competition over solidarity, creative destruction over government intervention and economic growth over social welfare.”

32: “How might it happen? It could be that enough people are sufficiently outraged by the glaring injustice of the preferential treatment enjoyed exclusively by the rich that it provokes a broad societal backlash. In the US, a majority or a very vocal minority may demand national or community control over healthcare, while, in Europe, underfunding of the health system will no longer be politically acceptable. It may also be that the pandemic will eventually compel us to rethink occupations we truly value and will force us to redesign how we collectively remunerate them. In the future, will society accept that a star hedge fund manager who specializes in short-selling (whose contribution to economic  and social welfare is doubtful, at best) can receive an income in the millions per year while a nurse (whose contribution to social welfare is incontrovertible) earns an infinitesimal fraction of that amount? In such an optimistic scenario, as we increasingly recognize that many workers in low-paid and insecure jobs play an essential role in our collective well-being, policies would adjust to improve both their working conditions and remuneration. Better wages would follow, even if they are accompanied by reduced profits for companies or higher prices; there will be strong social and political pressure to replace insecure contracts and exploitative loopholes with permanent positions and better training. Inequalities could therefore decline but, if history is any guide, this optimistic scenario is unlikely to prevail without massive social turmoil first.”

33: “Social unrest negatively affects both economic and social welfare, but it is essential to emphasize that we are not powerless in the face of potential social unrest, for the simple reason that governments and to a lesser extent companies and other organizations can prepare to mitigate the risk by enacting the right policies. The greatest underlying cause of social unrest is inequality. The policy tools to fight unacceptable levels of inequality do exist and they often lie in the hands of governments.”

34: “The public scrutiny of private companies will increase, particularly (but not only) for all the businesses that benefited from public money. Some countries will nationalize, while others will prefer to take equity stakes or to provide loans. In general, there will be more regulation covering many different issues, such as workers ’safety or domestic sourcing for certain goods. Businesses will also be held to account on social and environmental fractures for which they will be expected to be part of the solution. As an add-on, governments will strongly encourage public-private partnerships so that private companies get more involved in the mitigation of global risks. Irrespective of the details, the role of the state will increase and, in doing so, will materially affect the way business is conducted. To varying degrees, business executives in all industries and all countries will have to adapt to greater government intervention. Research and development for global public goods such as health and climate change solutions will be actively pursued. Taxation will increase, particularly for the most privileged, because governments will need to strengthen their resilience capabilities and wish to invest more heavily in them.”

35: “This situation ended up eroding the economic and social welfare of a large majority of people whose revenue was no longer sufficient to guarantee a modestly decent lifestyle (including among the middle class in the rich world). Today, the fundamental reasons underpinning the loss of faith in our social contracts coalesce around issues of inequality, the ineffectiveness of most redistribution policies, a sense of exclusion and marginalization, and a general sentiment of unfairness. This is why many citizen shave begun to denounce a breakdown of the social contract, expressing more and more forcefully a general loss of trust in institutions and leaders.[70] In some countries, this widespread exasperation has taken the form of peaceful or violent demonstration”

36: “How will this generation respond? By proposing radical solutions (and often radical action) in an attempt to prevent the next disaster from striking – whether it’s climate change or social inequalities. It will most likely demand a radical alternative to the present course because its members are frustrated and dogged by a nagging belief that the current system is fractured beyond repair”

37: “The late economist Jean-Pierre Lehmann (who taught at IMD in Lausanne) summed up today’s situation with great perspicacity when he said: “There is no new global order, just a chaotic transition to uncertainty.” More recently, Kevin Rudd, President of the Asia Society Policy Institute and former Australian Prime Minister, expressed similar sentiments, worrying specifically about the “coming post-COVID-19 anarchy”: “Various forms of rampant nationalism are taking the place of order and cooperation. The chaotic nature of national and global responses to the pandemic thus stands as a warning of what could come on an even broader scale.””

38: If no one power can enforce order, our world will suffer from a “global order deficit”. Unless individual nations and international organizations succeed in finding solutions to better collaborate at the global level, we risk entering an “age of entropy” in which retrenchment, fragmentation, anger and parochialism will increasingly define our global landscape, making it less intelligible and more disorderly.”

39: “It has succeeded in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty but, for quite a number of years now, it has been called into question and even started to recede”

40: “Tighter border controls for the purpose of managing the progression of the pandemic make eminent sense, but the risk that the revival of the nation state leads progressively to much greater nationalism is real, a reality that the “globalization trilemma” framework offered by Dani Rodrik captured. In the early 2010s, when globalization was becoming a sensitive political and social issue, the Harvard economist explained why it would be the inevitable casualty if nationalism rises. The trilemma suggests that the three notions of economic globalization, political democracy and the nation state are mutually irreconcilable, based on the logic that only two can effectively co-exist at any given time.[78] Democracy and national sovereignty are only compatible if globalization is contained. By contrast, if both the nation state and globalization flourish, then democracy becomes untenable. And then, if both democracy and globalization expand, there is no place for the nation state. Therefore, one can only ever choose two out of the three – this is the essence of the trilemma.”

41: “There is no point in trying to restore the status quo ex ante (“hyper-globalization” has lost all its political and social capital, and defending it is no longer politically tenable), but it is important to limit the downside of a possible free fall that would precipitate major economic damage and social suffering. A hasty retreat from globalization would entail trade and currency wars, damaging every country’s economy, provoking social havoc and triggering ethno- or clan nationalism.”

42: “There is no time to waste. If we do not improve the functioning and legitimacy of our global institutions, the world will soon become unmanageable and very dangerous. There cannot be a lasting recovery without a global strategic framework of governance.”

43: “Even in the EU, countries initially chose to go it alone, but that course of action subsequently changed, with practical assistance between member countries, an amended EU budget in support of healthcare systems, and pooled research funds to develop treatments and vaccines. (And there have now been ambitious measures, which would have seemed unimaginable in the pre-pandemic era, susceptible of pushing the EU towards further integration, in particular a €750 billion recovery fund put forward by the European Commission.)”

44: “The US went on to withdraw funding from the WHO but, no matter the underlying rationale of this decision, the fact remains that it is the only organization capable of coordinating a global response to the pandemic, which means that an albeit far from perfect WHO is infinitely preferable to a non-existent one, an argument that Bill Gates compellingly and succinctly made in a tweet: “Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever.””

45: “The world will be a very dangerous place if we do not fix multilateral institutions. Global coordination will be even more necessary in the aftermath of the epidemiological crisis, for it is inconceivable that the global economy could “restart” without sustained international cooperation. Without it, we’ll be heading towards “a poorer, meaner and smaller world””

46: “To a considerable extent and for understandable reasons, the Chinese view of the world and its place in it is influenced by the humiliation suffered during the first Opium War in 1840 and the subsequent invasion in

1900 when the Eight Nation Alliance looted Beijing and other Chinese cities before demanding compensation.[93] Conversely, how the US views the world and its place in it is largely based on the values and principles that have shaped American public life since the country’s founding.[94] These have determined both its pre-eminent world position and its unique attractiveness for many immigrants for 250years. The US perspective is also rooted in the unrivalled dominance it has enjoyed over the rest of the world for the past few decades and the inevitable doubts and insecurities that come with a relative loss of absolute supremacy.”

47: “All these prompted Kishore Mahbubani, an influential analyst of the rivalry that opposes the US and China,[96] to argue that COVID-19 has reversed the roles of both countries in terms of dealing with disasters and supporting others. While in the past the US was always the first to arrive with aid where assistance was needed (like on 26 December 2004 when a major tsunami hit Indonesia), this role now belongs to China, he says. In March 2020, China sent to Italy 31 tons of medical equipment (ventilators, masks and protective suits) that the EU could not provide. In his opinion, the 6 billion people who compose “the rest of the world” and live in 191 countries have already begun preparing themselves for the US–China geopolitical contest. Mahbubani says that it is their choices that will determine who wins the rivalry contest and that these will be based on “the cold calculus of reason to work out cost–benefit analyses of what both the U.S. and China have to offer them””

48: “Leaving aside the highly charged political argument (democracy versus autocracy), those who believe that the US will remain a “winner” for many more years also stress that China faces its own headwinds on its path to global superpower status. Those most frequently mentioned are the following: 1) it suffers from a demographic disadvantage, with a fast-ageing population and a working-age population that peaked in2015; 2) its influence in Asia is constrained by existing territorial disputes with Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Viet Nam; and 3) it is highly energy-dependent.”

49: “An underlying reason for the “no winner” argument is an intriguing idea put forward by several academics, most notably Niall Ferguson. Essentially, it says that the corona crisis has exposed the failure of superpowers like the US and China by highlighting the success of small states. In the words of Ferguson: “The real lesson here is not that the U.S. is finished and China is going to be the dominant power of the 21st century. I think the reality is that all the superpowers – the United States, the People’s Republic of China and the European Union – have been exposed as highly dysfunctional.”[100] Being big, as the proponents of this idea argue, entails diseconomies of scale: countries or empires have grown so large as to reach a threshold beyond which they cannot effectively govern themselves. This in turn is the reason why small economies like Singapore, Iceland, South Korea and Israel seem to have done better than the US in containing the pandemic and dealing with it.”

50: “Wealthier countries ignore the tragedy unfolding in fragile and failing countries at their peril. In one way or another, risks will reverberate through greater instability or even chaos. One of the most obvious knock-on effects for the richer parts of the world of economic misery, discontent and hunger in the most fragile and poorest states will consist in a new wave of mass migration in its direction, like those that occurred in Europe in 2016.”

51: “The five main shared attributes are: 1) they are known (i.e. white swan) systemic risks that propagate very fast in our interconnected world and, in so doing, amplify other risks from different categories; 2)they are non-linear, meaning that beyond a certain threshold, or tipping point, they can exercise catastrophic effects (like “superspreading” in a particular location and then overwhelming the capabilities of the health system in the case of the pandemic); 3) the probabilities and distribution of their impacts are very hard, if not impossible, to measure – they are constantly shifting and having to be reconsidered under revised assumptions, which in turn makes them extremely difficult to manage from a policy perspective; 4)they are global in nature and therefore can only be properly addressed in a globally coordinated fashion ;and 5) they affect disproportionately the already most vulnerable countries and segments of the population.”

52: “Pandemics are a quasi-instantaneous risk, whose imminence and danger are visible to all. An outbreak threatens our survival – as individuals or a species – and we therefore respond immediately and with determination when faced with the risk. By contrast, climate change and nature loss are gradual and cumulative, with effects that are discernible mostly in the medium and long term (and despite more and more climate related and “exceptional” nature loss events, ther eare still significant numbers who remain unconvinced of the immediacy of the climate crisis).This crucial difference between the respective time-horizons of a pandemic and that of climate change and nature loss means that a pandemic risk requires immediate action that will be followed by a rapid result, while climate change and nature loss also require immediate action but the result (or “future reward”, in the jargon of economists) will only follow with a certain time lag.”

53:” In the case of the pandemic, the causation link between the virus and the disease is obvious: SARS-CoV-2 causes COVID-19. Apart from a handful of conspiracy theorists, nobody will dispute that. In the case of environmental risks, it is much more difficult to attribute direct causality to a specific event. Often, scientists cannot point to a direct link of causation between climate change and a specific weather event (like a drought or the severity of a hurricane). Similarly, they don’t always agree about how a specific human activity affects particular species facing extinction. This makes it incredibly more difficult to mitigate climate change and nature loss risks. While for a pandemic, a majority of citizens will tend to agree with the necessity to impose coercive measures, they will resist constraining policies in the case of environmental risks where the evidence can be disputed. A more fundamental reason also exists: fighting a pandemic does not require a substantial change of the underlying socio-economic model and of our consumption habits. Fighting environmental risks does.”

54: .” As David Quammen, author of Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, argues: “We invade tropical forests and other wild landscapes, which harbor so many species of animals and plants – and within those creatures, so many unknown viruses. We cut the trees; we kill the animals or cage them and send them to markets. We disrupt ecosystems, and we shake viruses loose from their natural hosts. When that happens, they need a new host. Often, we are it.”[104] By now, an increasing number of scientists have shown that it is in fact the destruction of biodiversity caused by humans that is the source of new viruses like COVID-19.”

55: “We now know that air pollution worsens the impact of any particular coronavirus (not only the currentSARS-CoV-2) on our health. As early as 2003, a study published in the midst of the SARS epidemic suggested that air pollution might explain the variation in the level of lethality,[107] making it clear for the first time that the greater the level of air pollution, the greater the likelihood of death from the disease caused by a coronavirus. Since then, a growing body of research has shown how a lifetime of breathing dirtier air can make people more susceptible to the coronavirus.”

56: “The conclusion? Even unprecedented and draconian lockdowns with a third of the world population confined to their homes for more than a month came nowhere near to being a viable decarbonization strategy because, even so, the world economy kept emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide. What then might such a strategy look like? The considerable size and scope of the challenge can only be addressed by a combination of: 1) a radical and major systemic change in how we produce the energy we need to function; and 2) structural changes in our consumption behaviour. If, in the post-pandemic era, we decide to resume our lives just as before (by driving the same cars, by flying to the same destinations, by eating the same things, by heating our house the same way, and so on), the COVID-19 crisis will have gone to waste as far as climate policies are

concerned. Conversely, if some of the habits we were forced to adopt during the pandemic translate into structural changes in behaviour, the climate outcome might be different. Commuting less, working remotely a bit more, bicycling and walking instead of driving to keep the air of our cities as clean as it was during the lockdowns, vacationing nearer to home: all these, if aggregated at scale, could lead to a sustained reduction in carbon emissions.”

57: “In reality, what happens with the fight against climate change in the post-pandemic era could go in two opposite directions. The first corresponds to the narrative above: the economic consequences of the pandemic are so painful, difficult to address and complex to implement that most governments around the world may decide to “temporarily” put aside concerns about global warming to focus on the economic recovery. If such is the case, policy decisions will support and stimulate fossil-fuel heavy and carbon-emitting industries by subsidizing them. They will also roll back stringent environmental standards seen as a stumbling block on the road to rapid economic recovery and will encourage companies and consumers to produce and consume as much “stuff” as possible. The second is spurred by a different narrative, in which businesses and governments are emboldened by a new social conscience among large segments of the general population that life can be different, and is pushed by activists: the moment must be seized to take advantage of this unique window of opportunity to redesign a more sustainable economy for the greater good of our societies.”

58: “They will, in effect, make “good use” of the pandemic by not letting the crisis go to waste. The exhortation of different leaders  ranging from HRH the Prince of Wales to Andrew Cuomo to “build it back better” goes in that direction. So does a dual declaration made by the IEA with Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities of Denmark, suggesting that clean energy transitions could help kick-start economies: “Around the world, leaders are getting ready now, drawing up massive economic stimulus packages. Some of these plans will provide short-term boosts, others will shape infrastructure for decades to come. We believe that by making clean energy an integral part of their plans, governments can deliver jobs and economic growth while also ensuring that their energy systems are modernised, more resilient and less polluting.””

59:” As Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, stated: “What we have seen from all of this, is that we can make changes (…). We have to recognise there will be other pandemics and be better prepared.[But] we must also recognise that climate change is a deeper and bigger threat that doesn’t go away, and is just as urgent.””

60: “Our consumption patterns changed dramatically during the lockdowns by forcing us to focus on the essential and giving us no choice but to adopt “greener living”. This may last, prompting us to disregard everything that we do not really need, and putting into motion a virtuous circle for the environment. Likewise, we may decide that working from home (when possible) is good for both the environment and our individual well-being (commuting is a “destroyer” of well-being – the longer it is, the more detrimental it becomes to our physical and mental health). These structural changes in how we work, consume and invest may take a little while before they become widespread enough to make a real difference but, as we argued before, what matters is the direction and the strength of the trend. The poet and philosopher Lao Tzu was right in saying: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” We are just at the beginning of a long and painful recovery and, for many of us, thinking about sustainability may seem like a luxury but when things start to improve we’ll collectively remember that a relation of causality exists between air pollution and COVID-19.”

61:”… social activism, repressed by necessity during the lockdowns and their various measures of physical and social distancing, may re-emerge with renewed vigour once the periods of confinement are over. Emboldened by what they saw during the lockdowns (no air pollution), climate activists will redouble their efforts, imposing further pressure on companies and investors. As we will see in Chapter 2, investors’ activism will also be a force to be reckoned with. It will strengthen the cause of social activists by adding an extra and powerful dimension to it. Let’s imagine the following situation to illustrate the point: a group of green activists could demonstrate in front of a coal-fired power plant to demand greater enforcement of pollution regulations, while a group of investors does the same in the boardroom by depriving the plant access to capital.”

62: “The direction of the trend is clear but, ultimately, systemic change will come from policy-makers and business leaders willing to take advantage of COVID stimulus packages to kick-start the nature-positive economy. This will not only be about public investments. The key to crowding private capital into new sources of nature-positive economic value will be to shift key policy levers and public finance incentives as part of a wider economic reset. There is a strong case for acting more forcefully on spatial planning and land-use regulations, public finance and subsidy reform, innovation policies that help to drive expansion and deployment in addition to R&D, blended finance and better measurement of natural capital as a key economic asset. Many governments are starting to act, but much more is needed to tip the system towards a nature-positive new norm and make a majority of people all over the world realize this is not only an imperious necessity but also a considerable opportunity. A policy paper prepared by Systemiq in collaboration with the World Economic Forum[120] estimates that building the nature-positive economy could represent more than $10 trillion per year by 2030 – in terms of new economic opportunities as well as avoided economic costs. In the short term, deploying around $250 billion of stimulus funding could

generate up to 37 million nature-positive jobs in a highly cost-effective manner. Resetting the environment should not be seen as a cost, but rather as an investment that will generate economic activity and employment opportunities”

63: “Innovation in genetics, with synthetic biology now on the horizon, is also exciting, paving the way for developments in healthcare that are groundbreaking”

64: “We will see how contact tracing has an unequalled capacity and a quasi-essential place in the armoury needed to combat COVID-19, while at the same time being positioned to become an enabler of mass surveillance.”

65: “Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, observed that social- and physical-distancing requirements created “a remote everything”, bringing forward the adoption of a wide range of technologies by two years, while Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, marvelled at the impressive leap in digital activity, forecasting a “significant and lasting” effect on sectors as different as online work, education, shopping, medicine and entertainment.”

66: “As social and physical distancing persist, relying more on digital platforms to communicate, or work, or seek advice, or order something will, little by little, gain ground on formerly ingrained habits. In addition, the pros and cons of online versus offline will be under constant scrutiny through a variety of lenses. If health considerations become paramount, we may decide, for example, that a cycling class in front of a screen at home doesn’t match the conviviality and fun of doing it with a group in a live class but is in fact safer (and cheaper!). The same reasoning applies to many different domains like flying to a meeting (Zoom is safer, cheaper, greener and much more convenient),driving to a distant family gathering for the weekend (the WhatsApp family group is not as fun but, again, safer, cheaper and greener) or even attending an academic course (not as fulfilling, but cheaper and more convenient).”

67: “and we can be certain that neither those patients who experienced how easy and convenient telemedicine was nor the regulators who made it possible will want to see it go into reverse.”

68: “In one form or another, social- and physical-distancing measures are likely to persist after the pandemic itself subsides, justifying the decision in many companies from different industries to accelerate automation. After a while, the enduring concerns about technological unemployment will recede as societies emphasize the need to restructure the workplace in a way that minimizes close human contact. Indeed, automation technologies are particularly well suited to a world in which human beings can’t get too close to each other or are willing to reduce their interactions. Our lingering and possibly lasting fear of being infected with a virus (COVID-19 or another) will thus speed the relentless march of automation, particularly in the fields most susceptible to automation. In 2016, two academics from Oxford University came to the conclusion that up to 86% of jobs in restaurants, 75% of jobs in retail and 59% of jobs in entertainment could be automatized by 2035.[123] These three industries are among those the hardest hit by the pandemic and in which automating for reasons of hygiene and cleanliness will be a necessity that in turn will further accelerate the transition towards more tech and more digital.”

69: “they were used whenever possible to reduce the health risks to human employees. At a time when physical distancing became an obligation, robots were deployed in places as different as warehouses, supermarkets and hospitals in a broad range of activities, from shelf scanning (an area in which AI has made tremendous forays) to cleaning and of course robotic delivery – a soon-to-be important component of healthcare supply chains that will in turn lead to the “contactless” delivery of groceries and other essentials. As for many other technologies that were on the distant horizon in terms of adoption (like telemedicine), businesses, consumers and public authorities are now rushing to turbocharge the speed of adoption. […].During the peak of the pandemic, RPA won its spurs by proving its efficiency at handling surges in volume; thus ratified, in the post-pandemic era the process will be rolled out and fast-tracked. Two examples prove this point. RPA (Robotic Process Automation) solutions helped some hospitals to disseminateCOVID-19 test results, saving nurses as much as three hours’ work per day. In a similar vein, an AI digital device normally used to respond to customer requests online was adapted to help medical digital platforms screen patients online for COVID-19 symptoms.”

70: “technology in general and digital in particular help. Successful contact tracing proved to be a key component of a successful strategy against COVID-19. While lockdowns are effective at reducing the reproduction rate of the coronavirus, they don’t eliminate the threat posed by the pandemic. In addition, they come at injuriously high economic and societal cost. It will be very hard to fight COVID-19 without an effective treatment or a vaccine and, until then, the most effective way to curtail or stop transmission of the virus is by widespread testing followed by the isolation of cases, contact tracing and the quarantine of contacts exposed to the people infected.”

71: “From the outset, China, Hong Kong SAR and South Korea implemented coercive and intrusive measures of digital tracing. They took the decision to track individuals without their consent, through their mobile and credit card data, and even employed video surveillance (in South Korea). In addition, some economies required the mandatory wearing of electronic bracelets for travel arrivals and people in quarantine (in Hong Kong SAR) to alert those individuals susceptible of being infected.”

72: “All these questions, and the unease they can provoke, were exacerbated by the rise of corporations tracking employees’ health that emerged in the early phases of national reopenings. They will continuously grow in relevance as the corona pandemic lingers on and fears about other possible pandemics surface. As the coronavirus crisis recedes and people start returning to the workplace, the corporate move will be towards greater surveillance; for better or for worse, companies will be watching and sometimes recording what their workforce does. The trend could take many different forms, from measuring body temperatures with thermal cameras to monitoring via an app how employees comply with social distancing. This is bound to raise profound regulatory and privacy issues, which many companies will reject by arguing that, unless they increase digital surveillance, they won’t be able to reopen and function without risking new infections (and being, in some cases, liable).”

73: ” Over the coming months and years, the trade-off between public-health benefits and loss of privacy will be carefully weighed, becoming the topic of many animated conversations and heated debates. Most people, fearful of the danger posed by COVID-19, will ask: Isn’t it foolish not to leverage the power of technology to come to our rescue when we are victims of an outbreak and facing a life-or-death kind of situation? They will then be willing to give up a lot of privacy and will agree that in such circumstances public power can rightfully override individual rights. Then, when the crisis is over, some may realize that their country has suddenly been transformed into a place where they no longer wish to live. This thought process is nothing new. Over the last few years, both governments and firms have been using increasingly sophisticated technologies to monitor and sometimes manipulate citizens and employees; if we are not vigilant, warn the privacy advocates, the pandemic will mark an important watershed in the history of surveillance.[127] The argument put forward by those who above all fear the grip of technology on personal freedom is plain and simple: in the name of public health, some elements of personal privacy will be abandoned for the benefit of containing an epidemic, just as the terrorist attacks of 9/11 triggered greater and permanent security in the name of protecting public safety. Then, without realizing it, we will fall victims of new surveillance powers that will never recede and that could be repurposed as a political means for more sinister ends”

74: ” Surveillance technology is developing at breakneck speed, and what seemed science-fiction 10years ago is today old news. As a thought experiment, consider a hypothetical government that demands that every citizen wears a biometric bracelet that monitors body temperature and heart-rate24 hours a day. The resulting data is hoarded and analysed by government algorithms. The algorithms will know that you are sick even before you know it, and they will also know where you have been, and who you have met. The chains of infection could be drastically shortened, and even cut altogether. Such a system could arguably stop the epidemic in its tracks within days. Sounds wonderful, right? The downside is, of course, that this would give legitimacy to a terrifying new

surveillance system. If you know, for example, that I clicked on a Fox News link rather than a CNN link, that can teach you something about my political views and perhaps even my personality. But ifyou can monitor what happens to my body temperature, blood pressure and heart-rate as I watch the video clip, you can learn what makes me laugh, what makes me cry, and what makes me really, really angry. It is crucial to remember that anger, joy, boredom and love are biological phenomena just like fever and a cough. The same technology that identifies coughs could also identify laughs. If corporations and governments start harvesting our biometric data en masse, they can get to know us far better than we know ourselves, and they can then not just predict our feelings but also manipulate our feelings and sell us anything they want — be it a product or a politician. Biometric monitoring would make Cambridge Analytica’s data hacking tactics look like something from the Stone Age. Imagine North Korea in 2030, when every citizen has to wear a biometric bracelet 24 hours a day. If you listen to a speech by the Great Leader and the bracelet picks up the tell-tale signs of anger, you are done for.[128

75: ” Some social commentators like Evgeny Morozov go even further, convinced that the pandemic heralds a dark future of techno-totalitarian state surveillance. His argument, premised upon the concept of “technological solutionism” put forward in a book written in 2012, posits that the tech “solutions” offered to contain the pandemic will necessarily take the surveillance state to the next level. He sees evidence of this in two distinct strands of “solutionism” in government responses to the pandemic that he has identified. On the one hand, there are “progressive solutionists” who believe that the appropriate exposure through an app to the right information about infection could make people behave in the public interest. On the other hand, there are “punitive solutionists” determined to use the vast digital surveillance infrastructure to curb our daily activities and punish any transgressions. What Morozov perceives as the greatest and ultimate danger to our political systems and liberties is that the “successful” example of tech in monitoring and containing the pandemic will then “entrench the solutionist toolkit as the default option for addressing all other existential problems – from inequality to climate change.”

76: ” This is a good guiding principle to conclude this chapter, along with the thought that nothing is inevitable and that we must be symmetrically aware of both good and bad outcomes. Dystopian scenarios are not a fatality. It is true that in the post-pandemic era, personal health and well-being will become a much greater priority for society, which is why the genie of tech surveillance will not be put back into the bottle. But it is for those who govern and each of us personally to control and harness the benefits of technology without sacrificing our individual and collective values and freedoms.”

77: “In the post-COVID-19 era, apart from those few sectors in which companies will benefit on average from strong tailwinds (most notably tech, health and wellness), the journey will be challenging and sometimes treacherous.”

78: ” For these companies, the pandemic is a unique opportunity to rethink their organization and enact positive, sustainable and lasting change”

79: ” The difficulties tend to be greater for small businesses that, on average, operate on smaller cash reserves and thinner profit margins than large companies. Moving forward, most of them will be dealing with cost–revenue ratios that put them at a disadvantage compared to bigger rivals. But being small can offer some advantages in today’s world where flexibility and celerity can make all the difference in terms of adaptation. Being nimble is easier for a small structure than for an industrial behemoth.”

80: ” We are still in the early days of the post-pandemic era, but powerful new or accelerating trends are already at work. For some industries, these will prove a boon, for others a major challenge. However ,across all sectors, it will be up to each company to make the most of these new trends by adapting with celerity and decisiveness. The businesses that prove the most agile and flexible will be those that emerge stronger.”

81: ” It is the online services that allowed us to keep a semblance of normalcy, and it is only natural that “online” should be the largest beneficiary of the pandemic, giving a tremendous boost to technologies and processes that enable us to do things remotely: universal broadband internet, mobile and remote payments, and workable e-government services, among others. As a direct consequence, businesses that were already operating online are bound to benefit from a lasting competitive advantage. As more and diverse things and services are brought to us via our mobiles and computers, companies in sectors as disparate as e-commerce, contactless operations, digital content, robots and drone deliveries (to name just a few) will thrive. It is not by accident that firms like Alibaba, Amazon, Netflix or Zoom emerged as “winners” from the lockdowns.”

82: ” For obvious reasons, healthcare is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world, a fact that inevitably slows the pace of innovation. But the necessity to address the pandemic with any means available (plus, during the outbreak, the need to protect health workers by allowing them to work remotely) removed some of the regulatory and legislative impediments related to the adoption of telemedicine. In the future, it is certain that more medical care will be delivered remotely. It will in turn accelerate the trend towards more wearable and at-home diagnostics, like smart toilets capable of tracking health data and performing health analyses.”

83: ” Online banking interactions have risen to 90 percent during the crisis, from 10 percent, with no drop-off in quality and an increase incompliance while providing a customer experience that isn’t just about online banking”

84: ” This accelerating growth of e-commerce means that the giants of the online retail industry are likely to emerge from the crisis even stronger than they were in the pre-pandemic era. There are always two sides to a story: as the habit of shopping online becomes more prevalent, it will depress bricks-and-mortar (high street and mall) retail still further – a phenomenon explored in more detail in the next sections.”

85: “The very nature of global supply chains and their innate fragility means that arguments about shortening them have been brewing for years. They tend to be intricate and complex to manage. They are also difficult to monitor in terms of compliance with environmental standards and labour laws, potentially exposing companies to reputation risk and damage to their brands. In light of this troubled past, the pandemic has placed the last nail in the coffin of the principle that companies should optimize supply chains based on individual component costs and depending on a single supply source for critical materials, summed up as favouring efficiency over resilience. In the post-pandemic era, it is “end-to-end value optimization”, an idea that includes both resilience and efficiency alongside cost, that will prevail. It is epitomized in the formula that “just-in-case” will eventually replace “just-in-time”.”

86: “But what does “just-in-case” mean in practice? The model of globalization developed at the end of the last century, conceived and constructed by global manufacturing companies that were on the prowl for cheap labour, products and components, has found its limits. It fragmented international production into ever-more intricate bits and pieces and resulted in a system run on a just-in-time basis that has proven to be extremely lean and efficient, but also exceedingly complex and, as such, very vulnerable (complexity brings fragility and often results in instability). Simplification is therefore the antidote, which should in turn generate more resilience. This means that the “global value chains” that represent roughly three-quarters of all global trade will inevitably decline. This decline will be compounded by the new reality that companies dependent upon complex just-in-time supply chains can no longer take it for granted that tariff commitments enshrined by the World Trade Organization will protect them from a sudden surge in protectionism somewhere. As a result, they will be forced to prepare accordingly by reducing or localizing their supply chain, and elaborating alternative production or procurement plans to guard against a prolonged disruption. Every business whose profitability is contingent upon the principle of just-in-time global supply chain will have to rethink how it operates and probably sacrifice the idea of maximizing efficiency and profits for the sake of “supply security” and resilience. Resilience will therefore become the primary consideration for any business serious about hedging against disruption – be it disruption to a particular supplier, to a possible change in trade policy or to a particular country or region. In practice, this will force companies to diversify their supplier base, even at the cost of holding inventories and building in redundancy. It will also compel these companies to ensure that the same is true within their own supply chain: they will assess resilience along their entire supply chain, all the way down to their ultimate supplier and, possibly, even the suppliers of their suppliers. The costs of production will inevitably rise, but this will be the price to pay for building resilience.”

87: ” For all the reasons expanded upon in the first chapter, COVID-19 has rewritten many of the rules of the game between the public and private sectors. In the post-pandemic era, business will be subject to much greater government interference than in the past. The benevolent (or otherwise) greater intrusion of governments in the life of companies and the conduct of their business will be country- and industry-dependent, therefore taking many different guises. Outlined below are three notable forms of impact that will emerge with force in the early months of the post-pandemic period: conditional bailouts, public procurement and labour market regulations.”

88: ” Germany’s bailout of Lufthansa epitomizes this sort of situation: the government injected liquidity into the national carrier, but only on the condition that the company constrains executive pay (including stock options) and commits to not paying dividends.”

89: ” The scramble for ventilators during the peak of the pandemic epitomizes why. In 2010 in the US, 40,000 ventilators had been ordered through a government contract but were never delivered, largely explaining the country’s shortage that became so apparent in March 2020.What led to this situation of scarcity? In 2012, the original company that had won the bid was bought (in somewhat dubious and obscure circumstances) by a much larger manufacturer (a publicly traded company also producing ventilators): it later emerged that the purchasing company wanted to prevent the original

bidder from building a cheaper ventilator that would have undermined the profitability of its own business. This company dragged its feet before eventually cancelling the contract and ultimately being acquired by a rival. None of the 40,000 ventilators were ever delivered to the US government.”

90: ” It is unlikely that this sort of situation will reoccur in the post-pandemic era, as public authorities will think twice about outsourcing projects that have critical public-health implications (or indeed critical public implications ,security or otherwise) to private companies.”

91: ” The gig economy will feel the impact of such a policy more than any other sector. Prior to the pandemic, it was already in the crosshairs of government scrutiny. In the post-pandemic era, for reasons related to the redefinition of the social contract, this scrutiny will intensify. Companies that rely on gig workers to operate will also feel the effect of more government interference, possibly even to a degree capable of undermining their financial viability. As the pandemic will radically alter social and political attitudes towards gig workers, governments will force those companies that employ them to offer proper contracts with benefits such as social insurance and health coverage. The labour issue will loom large for them and, if they have to employ gig workers as normal employees, they will cease to be profitable. Their  raison d’être might even vanish.”

92: “They have made stakeholder capitalism and environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations increasingly relevant to sustainable value creation (ESG can be considered as the yardstick for stakeholder capitalism).”

93: “Whether espoused openly or not, nobody would now deny that companies’ fundamental purpose can no longer simply be the unbridle pursuit of financial profit; it is now incumbent upon them to serve all their stakeholders, not only those who hold shares”

94: “This can be explained on three fronts:1.The crisis will have created, or reinforced, an acute sense of responsibility and urgency on most issues pertaining to ESG strategies – the most important being climate change. But others, such as consumer behaviour, the future of work and mobility, and supply-chain responsibility, will move to the forefront of the investment process and will become an integral component of duediligence.2.The pandemic leaves no doubt in boardrooms that the absence of ESG considerations has the potential to destroy substantial value and even threaten the viability of a business. ESG will therefore become more fully integrated and internalized into the core strategy and governance of a company. It will also alter the way in which investors assess corporate governance. Tax records, dividend payments and remunerations will become increasingly scrutinized for fear of incurring a reputational cost when a problem arises or is made public.3.Fostering employee and community goodwill will be key to enhancing a brand’s reputation. More and more, companies will have to prove that they treat their workers well, by welcoming improved labour practices and paying attention to health and safety as well as well-being in the workplace. Companies will not necessarily adhere to these measures because they are genuinely “good”, but rather because the “price” of not doing so will be too high in terms of the wrath of activists, both activist investors and social activists.”

95: “A report from BlackRock offers further evidence that companies with strong ESG ratings outperformed their peers during the pandemic.[133] Several analysts suggested that this outperformance might simply have reflected the reduced exposure to fossil fuels of ESG funds and strategies, but BlackRock asserts that ESG compliant companies (another way to say that they adhere to the principle of stakeholder capitalism) tend to be more resilient because of their holistic understanding of risk management.”

96: “However, irrespective of anybody’s opinion about the merits of stakeholder capitalism and ESG strategies and their future role in the post-pandemic era, activism will make a difference by reinforcing the trend. Social activists and many activist investors will scrutinize closely how companies behaved during the pandemic crisis. It is likely that the markets or the consumers, or both, will punish those companies that performed poorly on social issues.”

97: “As global supply chains are reconfigured, as consumer demands change, as governments intervene more, as market conditions evolve and as technology disrupts, companies will be forced to continuously adapt and reinvent themselves. The purpose of this section is not to offer a precise account of how each particular industry might evolve, but rather to illustrate with impressionist brush strokes how some of the main features and trends associated with the pandemic will impact specific industries.”

98: “In modern economies, a large amount of what we consume happens through social interaction: travel and vacations, bars and restaurants, sporting events and retail, cinemas and theatres, concerts and festivals, conventions and conferences, museums and libraries, education: they all correspond to social forms of consumption that represent a significant portion of total economic activity and employment(services represent about 80% of total jobs in the US, most of which are “social” by nature). They cannot take place in the virtual world or, when they can, only in a truncated and often suboptimal form (like a live orchestra performance on a screen). Industries that have social interaction at their core have been hit the hardest by the lockdowns.”

99: “In the intervening period, it is likely that people may travel much less for both vacation and/or business, they may go less frequently to restaurants, cinemas and theatres, and may decide that it is safer to buy online rather than physically go to the shops. For these fundamental reasons, the industries hit the hardest by the pandemic will also be the slowest to recover. Hotels, restaurants, airlines, shops and cultural venues in particular will be forced to make expensive alterations in the way they deliver their offerings in order to adapt to a post-pandemic new normal that will demand the implementation of drastic changes involving introducing extra space, regular cleaning, protections for staff and technology that limits customers’ interactions with workers.”

100:” Take restaurants. This sector of activity has been hit by the pandemic to such a dramatic extent that it is not even sure how the restaurant business will ever come back. As one restaurateur put it: “I, like hundreds of other chefs across the city and thousands around the country, am now staring down the question of what our restaurants, our careers, our lives, might look like if we can even get them back.”[139] In France and the UK, several industry voices estimate that up to 75% of independent restaurants might not survive the lockdowns and subsequent social-distancing measures. The large chains and fast-food giants will. This in turn suggests that big businesses will get bigger while the smallest shrink or disappear. A large restaurant chain, for example, has a better chance of staying operational as it benefits from more resources and, ultimately, less competition in the wake of bankruptcies among smaller outfits.”

101: ” Airline companies, in particular, will face similar constraints in terms of consumer demand and social-distancing rules. The three-month shutdown has left carriers around the world with a cataclysmic situation of virtually zero revenues and the prospect of tens of thousands of job cuts. British Airways, for one, has announced that it will cut up to 30% of its current workforce of 42,000employees. At the time of writing (mid-June 2020), the restart may be just about to begin. It will prove extremely challenging, with a recovery expected to take years. The improvement will begin in leisure travel, with corporate travel to follow. However, as discussed in the next section, consumption habits may change permanently. If many businesses decide to travel less to reduce costs and to replace physical meetings by virtual ones whenever possible, the impact on the recovery and ultimate profitability of airlines may be dramatic and lasting. Prior to the pandemic, corporate travel accounted for 30% of airline volumes but 50% of revenues (thanks to higher priced seats and last-minute bookings). In the future, this is set to change, making the profitability outcome of some individual airlines highly uncertain, and forcing the entire industry to reconsider the long-term structure of the global aviation market.”

102: “Airports face the same challenges as airlines: the less people fly, the less they transit via airports. This in turn affects the level of consumption in the various shops and restaurants that make up the ecosystem of all international airports throughout the world. Furthermore, the experience of airports in a post-COVID-19 world, involving longer waiting times, highly restricted or even no hand luggage and other potentially inconvenient social-distancing measures, could erode the consumer desire to travel by air for pleasure and leisure. Various trade associations warn that the implementation of social-distancing policies would not only limit airport capacity to 20-40% but would also likely render the whole experience so disagreeable as to become a deterrent. Dramatically affected by the lockdowns, airlines began to cancel or defer orders for new aircraft and to change their choice of particular model, in so doing severely impacting the aerospace industry. As a direct consequence and for the foreseeable future, the major civil aircraft assembly plants will operate at reduced capacity, with cascading effects on the entirety of their value chain and supplier network. In the longer term, changes in demand by airline companies that re-evaluate their needs will lead to a complete reassessment of the production of civilian aircraft. This makes the defence aerospace sector an exception and a relatively safe haven. For nation states, the uncertain geopolitical outlook makes it imperative to maintain orders and procurement, but cash-constrained governments will demand better payment terms. Like airports, car rental companies depend almost entirely on aviation volumes. Hertz, a highly

indebted company with a fleet of 700,000 cars overwhelmingly idled during the lockdowns, filed for bankruptcy in May. Like for so many companies, COVID-19 proved to be the proverbial last straw.”

103: “As stated, it is very likely that bricks-and-mortar stores will lose out severely in favour of online shopping. Consumers may be willing to pay a bit extra to have heavy and bulky products, like bottles and household goods, delivered to them. Supermarket retail space will therefore shrink, coming to resemble convenience stores where shoppers go to buy relatively small quantities of specific food products. But it could also be the case that less money will be spent in restaurants, suggesting that in places where a high percentage of people’s food budget traditionally went to restaurants (60% in New York City for example), these funds could be diverted to and benefit urban supermarkets as city dwellers rediscover the pleasure of cooking at home. The same phenomenon may happen with the entertainment business. The pandemic may increase our anxiety about sitting in an enclosed space with complete strangers, and many people may decide that staying home to watch the latest movie or opera is the wisest option. Such a decision will benefit local supermarkets to the detriment of bars and restaurants (although the option of online takeout meal delivery services could be a lifeline for the latter). There were numerous examples of this happening in an ad hoc fashion in cities across the world during lockdowns. Could it perhaps become an important element of some restaurants’ new post-COVID-19 business-survival plan? There are other first-round effects that are much easier to anticipate. Cleanliness is one of them. The pandemic will certainly heighten our focus on hygiene. A new obsession with cleanliness will particularly entail the creation of new forms of packaging. We will be encouraged not to touch the products we buy. Simple pleasures like smelling a melon or squeezing a fruit will be frowned upon and may even become a thing of the past.”

104: ” They claim that COVID-19 has been an inflection point and predict that, all around the world, urbanites of all ages who are confronted with the shortcomings of city pollution and undersized, overpriced accommodation will decide to move to places with more greenery, more space, less pollution and lower prices. It is too early to tell which camp will be proven right, but it is certain that even a relatively small percentage of people moving away from the biggest hubs (like New York, Hong Kong SAR, London or Singapore) would exercise an outsized effect on many diverse industries (profits are always made at the margin). Nowhere is this reality more apparent than in the real estate industry and, in particular, in commercial real estate.”

105: “If the emergency practice of working remotely becomes an established and widespread habit, it is hard to imagine what companies (if any) will absorb this oversupply by rushing to lease excess office space. Perhaps there will be few investments funds ready to do so, but they will be the exception, suggesting that commercial real estate still has much further to fall. The pandemic will do to commercial real estate what it has done to so many other issues (both macro and micro): it will accelerate and amplify the pre-existing trend. The combination of an increase in the number of “zombie” companies(those that use debt to finance more debt and that have not generated enough cash over the past few years to cover their interest costs) going bankrupt and an increase in the number of people working remotely means that there will be far fewer tenants to rent empty office buildings. Property developers (for the most part highly leveraged themselves) will then start experiencing a wave of bankruptcies, with the largest and systemically important ones having to be bailed out by their respective governments.”

106: “In May or June of 2020, in the midst of lockdowns, students were forced to study and graduate remotely, many wondering at the end of the term if they will physically return to their campus in September. At the same time, universities started to slash their budgets, pondering what this unprecedented situation might entail for their business model. Should they go online or should they not? In the pre-pandemic era, most universities offered some courses online but always refrained from fully embracing online education. The most renowned universities refused to offer virtual degrees, fearful that this might dilute their exclusive offering, make some of their faculty redundant and even threaten the very existence of the physical campus. In the post-pandemic era, this will change. Most universities – particularly the expensive ones in the Anglo-Saxon world – will have to alter their business model or go bankrupt because COVID-19 has made it obsolete. If online teaching were to continue in September (and possibly beyond), many students would not tolerate paying the same high tuition for virtual education, demanding a reduction in fees or deferring their enrolment. In addition, many potential students would question the pertinence of disbursing prohibitive costs for higher education in a world marred by high levels of unemployment. A potential solution could lie in a hybrid model. Universities would then massively expand online education while maintaining an on-campus presence for a different population of students.”

107: “For those fortunate enough to find themselves in industries “naturally” resilient to the pandemic, the crisis was not only more bearable, but even a source of profitable opportunities at a time of distress for the majority. Three industries in particular will flourish (in aggregate) in the post-pandemic era: big tech, health and wellness. In other industries that have been hit hard by the crisis, proving resilient is what will make the difference between bouncing back from the COVID-19 sudden exogenous shock or falling victim to it. The banking, insurance and automotive sectors are three different examples of industries that have to build greater resilience to pass through the deep and prolonged recession caused by the health crisis.”

108: “Also, the role of public health will evolve and expand. Well-being has to be addressed holistically; we cannot be individually well in a world that is unwell. Therefore, planetary care will be as important as personal care, an equivalence that strongly

supports the promotion of principles we previously discussed, like stakeholder capitalism, the circular economy and ESG strategies”

109: “Like for any other industry, digital will play a significant role in shaping the future of wellness. The combination of AI, the IoT and sensors and wearable technology will produce new insights into personal well-being. They will monitor how we are and feel, and will progressively blur the boundaries between public healthcare systems and personalized health creation systems – a distinction that will eventually break down. Streams of data in many separate domains ranging from our environments to our personal conditions will give us much greater control over our own health and well-being. In the post-COVID-19world, precise information on our carbon footprints, our impact on biodiversity, on the toxicity of all the ingredients we consume and the environments or spatial contexts in which we evolve will generate significant progress in terms of our awareness of collective and individual well-being. Industries will have to take note.”

110: “As it is now well understood that physical activity greatly contributes to health, sport will be increasingly recognized as a low-cost tool for a healthier society. Therefore, governments will encourage their practice, acknowledging the added benefit that sports constitute one of the best tools available for inclusivity and social integration. For a while, social distancing may constrain the practice of certain sports, which will in turn benefit the ever-more powerful expansion of e-sports. Tech and digital are never far away!”

111: “Four industries that have been grappling with a host of particular challenges posed by the pandemic crisis illustrate the diverse nature of resilience. In banking, it is about being prepared for the digital transformation. In insurance, it is about being prepared for the litigations that are coming. In automotive, it is about being prepared for the coming shortening of supply chains. In the electricity sector, it is about being prepared for the inevitable energy transition. The challenges are the same within each industry, and only the most resilient and better prepared companies within each will be capable of “engineering” a successful outcome.”

112: “With COVID-19, the risk doubled in intensity. First, banks have to prepare for the possibility that the consumer liquidity crisis morphs into a major corporate solvency crisis, in which case their resilience will be severely tested. Second, they have to adjust to the way in which the pandemic is challenging traditional banking habits, a different form of resilience that requires further capacities of adaptation. The first risk belongs to the category of “traditional” financial risks for which banks have had years to prepare. It is being dealt with through capital and liquidity buffers that have to be robust enough to withstand a major shock. In the case of the COVID-19 crisis, the test of resilience will come when the volume of non-performing loans starts rising. The situation is entirely different for the second category of risks. Almost overnight, retail, commercial and investment banks were faced with an(often) unexpected situation of having to move online. The impossibility to meet colleagues, clients or fellow traders in person, the necessity to use contactless payment and the exhortation from regulators to use online banking and online trading in conditions of remote working all meant that the entire banking industry had to move towards digital banking at the stroke of a pen. COVID-19 has forced all the banks to accelerate a digital transformation that is now here to stay and that has intensified cybersecurity risks(which could in turn raise systemic stability implications if they are not properly mitigated). Those that have lagged behind and missed the high-speed digital train will find it very hard to adapt and to survive.”

113: “In the insurance industry, many different COVID-19 related claims have been made under various types of household and commercial insurance, which include commercial property and business interruption, travel, life, health and liability (like workers’ compensation and employment practices

liability). The pandemic poses a particular risk to the insurance industry because its existence and functioning are based upon the principle of risk diversification, which was effectively suppressed when governments decided to impose a lockdown. For this reason, hundreds of thousands of businesses around the world have been unable to successfully file claims and are either facing months (if not years) of litigation, or ruin. In May 2020, the insurance industry estimated that the pandemic could potentially cost more than $200 billion, making it one of the most expensive events in the history of the insurance industry(the cost will rise if the lockdowns go beyond the period under consideration when the forecast was made). For the insurance industry, the post-COVID-19 challenge consists in meeting the evolving protection needs of its customers by building greater resilience to a broad range of potentially “uninsurable” catastrophic shocks like pandemics, extreme weather events, cyberattacks and terrorism. It has to do so while navigating an environment of exceedingly low interest rates while preparing for anticipated litigation and the possibility of unprecedented claims and losses.”

114: “In the last few years, the automotive industry has been engulfed in a rising storm of challenges, ranging from trade and geopolitical uncertainty, declining sales and CO2 penalties to fast-changing customer demand and the multifaceted nature of the rising competition in mobility (electric vehicles, autonomous cars, shared mobility). The pandemic has exacerbated these challenges by adding to the considerable uncertainty the industry is facing, in particular with respect to supply chains. In the early stages of the outbreak, the shortage of Chinese components had a detrimental impact on global automotive production.”

115: “Despite the considerable challenges posed by cyberthreats and changes in demand patterns, electricity held on, proving its resilience to shocks. Moving forward, the electricity sector has to embrace the challenge of accelerating its energy transition. The combination of investments in progressive energy infrastructure (like in renewables, hydrogen pipelines and electric vehicle charging networks) and industrial cluster redevelopment (like the electrification of the energy required for chemical production) has the potential to support the economic recovery (by creating employment and economic activity) while increasing the overall resilience of the energy sector in terms of clean energy production.”

116: “The micro reset will force every company in every industry to experiment new ways of doing business, working and operating. Those tempted to revert to the old way of doing things will fail. Those that adapt with agility and imagination will eventually turn the COVID-19 crisis to their advantage.”

117: “Like for macro and micro effects, the pandemic will have profound and diverse consequences for all of us as individuals. For many, it has already been life-shattering. To date, COVID-19 has forced a majority of people the world over to self-isolate from families and friends, has thrown into complete disarray personal and professional plans, and has deeply undermined their sense of economic and sometimes psychological and physical security. We have all been reminded of our innate human fragility, our frailties and our flaws. This realization combined with the stress engendered by the lockdowns and the concurrent deep sense of uncertainty about what is coming next could, albeit surreptitiously, change us and the way we relate to other people and to our world. For some, what starts as a change may end up as an individual reset.”

118: “As the whole population went into lockdown at home, innumerable examples showed that, as a result, people not only had more time for each other but also seemed to be kinder to one another. The outlets for this enhanced collective sensitivity ranged from famous opera singers performing for their neighbours from their balcony, to a nightly ritual of the population singing health workers’ praises (a phenomenon that extended to almost the whole of Europe) plus diverse acts of mutual help and support for those in need. Italy in a sense led the way, and since, throughout the period of confinement and throughout the world, there have been comparable widespread examples of remarkable, personal and social solidarity. Everywhere, simple acts of kindness, generosity and altruism appear to be becoming the norm. In terms of what we value, the notions of cooperation, communitarian ideas, the sacrifice of self-interest for the common good and caring came to the fore. Conversely, manifestations of individual power, popularity and prestige were frowned upon, even eclipsing the appeal of the “rich and famous” that faded as the pandemic progressed.”

119: “Many questions came to mind, like: Might the pandemic give birth to better selves and to a better world? Will it be followed by a shift of values? Will we become more willing to nurture our human bonds and more intentional about maintaining our social connections? Simply put: will we become more caring and compassionate?”

120: “If history is any guide, natural disasters, like hurricanes and earthquakes, bring people together, while pandemics do the opposite: they drive them apart. The reason could be the following: confronted with a sudden, violent and often brief natural disaster, populations bond together and tend to recover relatively fast. By contrast, pandemics are longer-lasting, prolonged events that often elicit ongoing feelings of distrust (vis-à-vis others) rooted in a primal fear of dying. Psychologically, the most important consequence of the pandemic is to generate a phenomenal amount of uncertainty that often becomes a source of angst. We do not know what tomorrow will bring (Will there be another wave of COVID-19?Will it affect people I love? Will I keep my job?) and such a lack of surety makes us uneasy and troubled. As human beings, we crave certainty, hence the need for “cognitive closure”, anything that can help erase the uncertainty and ambiguity that paralyse our ability to function “normally”. In the context of a pandemic, the risks are complex, difficult to grasp and largely unknown. Thus confronted, we are more likely to retrench rather than look to the needs of others as tends to happen with sudden natural (or not) disasters(and in fact contrary to the prevailing first impressions conveyed by the media). This in turn becomes a profound source of shame, a key sentiment that drives people’s attitudes and reactions during pandemics. Shame is a moral emotion that equates with feeling bad: an uncomfortable sentiment that mixes regret, self-hate and a vague sense of “dishonour” of not doing the “right” thing.”

121: “Psychologists tell us that cognitive closure often calls for black-and-white thinking and simplistic solutions[143] – a terrain propitious for conspiracy theories and the propagation of rumours, fake news, mistruths and other pernicious ideas. In such a context, we look for leadership, authority and clarity, meaning that the question as to whom we trust (within our immediate community and among our leaders)becomes critical.”

122:” But there is a darker side to this. It also triggers a rise in patriotic and nationalist sentiments, with troubling religious and ethnic considerations also coming into the picture. Int he end, this toxic mix gets the worst of us as a social group. Orhan Pamuk (the Turkish author who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006 and whose latest novel, Nights of Plague, is due to be published at the end of 2020) recounts how people have always responded to epidemics by spreading rumours and false information and portraying the disease as foreign and brought in with malicious intent.”

123: ” The examples of previous pandemics are not very encouraging, but this time there is a fundamental difference: we are all collectively aware that without greater collaboration, we will be unable to address the global challenges that we collectively face. Put in the simplest possible terms: if, as human beings, we do not collaborate to confront our existential challenges (the environment and the global governance free fall, among others), we are doomed. Thus, we have no choice but to summon up the better angels of our nature.”

124: “The pandemic has forced all of us, citizens and policy-makers alike, willingly or not, to enter into a philosophical debate about how to maximize the common good in the least damaging way possible. First and foremost, it prompted us to think more deeply about what the common good really means. Common

good is that which benefits society as a whole, but how do we decide collectively what is best for us as a community? Is it about preserving GDP growth and economic activity at any cost to try to prevent unemployment rising? Is it about caring for the most fragile members of our community and making sacrifices for one another? Is it something in between and, if it is, what trade-offs are involved? Some schools of philosophical thought, like libertarianism (for which individual freedom matters the most) and utilitarianism (for which the pursuit of the best outcome for the greatest number makes more sense) may even dispute that the common good is a cause worth pursuing, but can conflicts between competing moral theories be resolved?”

125: “Actually, almost every single decision related to how best to deal with the pandemic could be reframed as an ethical choice, reflecting that, in almost all instances, human practices labour under moral considerations. Shall I give to those who have nothing and show empathy to those whose opinion differs from mine? Is it all right to lie to the public for some greater good? Is it acceptable not to help my neighbours who are infected with COVID-19? Shall I lay off a number of employees in the hope of keeping my business afloat for the others? Is it okay to escape to my holiday home for my own enhanced safety and comfort or should I offer it to someone whose need exceeds mine? Shall I ignore the confinement order to assist a friend or family member? Every single decision, big or small, has an ethical component, and the way in which we respond to all these questions is what eventually enables us to aspire to a better life.”

126: “The argument put forward by some groups like “Americans for Prosperity” is that recessions kill people. This, while undoubtedly true, is a fact that is itself rooted in policy choices informed by ethical considerations. In the US, recessions do indeed kill a lot of people because the absence or limited nature of any social safety net makes them life-threatening. How? When people lose their jobs with no state support and no health insurance, they tend to“die of despair” through suicides, drug overdoses and alcoholism, as shown and extensively analysed by Anne Case and Angus Deaton.[145] Economic recessions also provoke deaths outside of the US, but policy choices in terms of health insurance and worker protection can ensure that there are considerably fewer. This is ultimately a moral choice about whether to prioritize the qualities of individualism or those that favour the destiny of the community. It is an individual as well as a collective choice (that can be expressed through elections), but the example of the pandemic shows that highly individualistic societies are not very good at expressing solidarity.”

127: “The pandemic also compelled us to (re)consider the critical importance of fairness, a highly subjective notion, yet essential to societal harmony. Taking fairness into consideration reminds us that some of the most basic assumptions we make in economics have a moral element embedded in them. Should, for example, fairness or justice be considered when looking at the laws of supply and demand? And what does the response tell us about ourselves? This quintessential moral issue came to the fore during the most acute phase of the pandemic in early 2020 when shortages of some basic necessities (like oil and toiletpaper) and critical supplies for dealing with COVID-19 (like masks and ventilators) started to occur. What was the right response? Let the laws of supply and demand work their magic so that prices rise high enough and clear the market? Or, rather, regulate demand or even prices for a little while? In a famous paper written in 1986, Daniel Kahneman and Richard Thaler (who were subsequently awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics) explored this issue and concluded that rising prices in an emergency is simply unacceptable from a societal standpoint because it will be perceived as unfair.”

128: “It is hard to tell whether these moral considerations constitute a reset, and whether they will have along-lasting, post-coronavirus effect on our attitudes and behaviours. At the very least, we could assume that we are now more individually aware of the fact that our decisions are infused with values and

informed by moral choices. It might follow that, if (but it is a big “if”) in the future we abandon the posture of self-interest that pollutes so many of our social interactions, we may be able to pay more attention to issues like inclusivity and fairness. Oscar Wilde had already highlighted this problem in 1892 when depicting a cynic as “a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.””

129: “For years now, an epidemic of mental health has engulfed much of the world. The pandemic has already made it worse and will continue to do so. Most psychologists (and certainly all those we talked to) seem to concur with the judgement expressed in May 2020 by one of their peers: “The pandemic has had a devastating effect on mental health.””

130: “In 2017, an estimated 350 million people around the globe were suffering from depression. At that time, the WHO predicted that depression would become the second main cause of disease burden globally by 2020 and that it would overtake ischemic heart disease as the leading cause of disease burden by 2030.”

131: “For months, COVID-19 became almost the only news, news that was inevitably almost exclusively bad. Relentless reports of deaths, infectious cases and all the other things that might go wrong, together with emotionally charged images, allowed our collective imaginations to run riot in terms of worry about ourselves and our closest loved ones. Such an alarming atmosphere had disastrous effects on our mental well-being. Furthermore, media-amplified anxiety can be very contagious. All this fed into a reality that for so many amounted to personal tragedy, whether defined by the economic impact of income loss and job losses and/or the emotional impact of domestic violence, acute isolation and loneliness or the inability to properly grieve for deceased loved ones. Humans are inherently social beings. Companionship and social interactions are a vital component of our humanness. If deprived of them, we find our lives turned upside down. Social relations are, to a significant extent, obliterated by confinement measures and physical or social distancing and, in the case of the COVID-19 lockdowns, this occurred at a time of heightened anxiety when we needed them most. Rituals that are inherent to our human condition – handshakes, hugs, kisses and many others – were suppressed. Loneliness and isolation resulted. For now, we know neither whether nor when we might return completely to our old way of life. At any stage of the pandemic, but particularly towards the end of lockdowns, mental discomfort remains a risk, even after the period of acute stress has passed, something that psychologists have called the “third-quarter phenomenon”[152] in reference to people who live in isolation for a protracted period of time (like polar explorers or astronauts): they tend to experience problems and tensions towards the end of their mission. Like these people, but on a planetary scale, our collective sense of mental well-being has taken a very severe knock. Having dealt with the first wave, we are now anticipating another that may or may not come, and this toxic emotional mix risks producing a collective state of anguish.”

132:” For many people, the strains and stresses of the immediate dilemmas that followed the end of lockdowns will last for months. Is it safe to go on public transport? Is it too risky to go to a favourite restaurant? Is it appropriate to visit this elderly family member or friend? For a long time to come, these very banal decisions will be tainted with a sense of dread – particularly for those who are vulnerable because of their age or health condition.”

133: “For many, an explosion of mental problems occurred during the first months of the pandemic and will continue to progress in the post-pandemic era. In March 2020 (at the onset of the pandemic), a group of researchers published a study in The Lancet that found that confinement measures produced a range of severe mental health outcomes, such as trauma, confusion and anger.[153] Although avoiding the most severe mental health issues, a large portion of the world population is bound to have suffered stress to various degrees. First and foremost, it is among those already prone to mental health issues that the challenges inherent in the response to the coronavirus (lockdowns, isolation, anguish) will be exacerbated. Some will weather the storm, but for certain individuals, a diagnostic of depression or anxiety could escalate into an acute clinical episode. There are also significant numbers of people who for the first time presented symptoms of serious mood disorder like mania, signs of depression and various psychotic experiences.”

134: “Domestic violence has risen during the pandemic. It remains difficult to measure the precise increase because of the high number of cases that remain unreported, but it is nonetheless clear that the rise in incidences was fuelled by a combination of anxiety and economic uncertainty. With the lockdowns, all the requisite ingredients for an increase in domestic violence coalesced: isolation from friends, family and employment, the occasion for constant surveillance by and physical proximity to an abusive partner (often themselves under more stress), and limited or no options for escape. The conditions of lockdown magnified existing abusive behaviours, leaving little or no respite for victims and their children outside of the home. Projections from the United Nations Population Fund indicate that if domestic violence increases by 20% during periods of lockdown”

135: “The impact of the COVID-19 has given rise to a wider and deeper array of mental health problems affecting greater numbers of the population, many of whom might have been spared in the immediate future had it not been for the pandemic. Viewed in these terms, the coronavirus has reinforced not reset mental health issues. However, what the pandemic has achieved with respect to mental health, as in so many other domains, is the acceleration of a pre-existing trend; with this has come heightened public awareness of the severity of the problem. Mental health, the most significant single factor affecting people’s level of satisfaction with their lives,[156] was already on the radar screen of policy-makers. In the post-pandemic era, these issues may now be given the priority they deserve.  This indeed would constitute a vital reset.”

136: “Existential crises like the pandemic confront us with our own fears and anxieties and afford great opportunities for introspection. They force us to ask the questions that truly matter and can also make us more creative in our response”

137: “This period of enforced collective reflection could give rise to a change in behaviour that will in turn trigger a more profound reconsideration of our beliefs and convictions. This could result in a shift in our priorities that would in turn affect our approach to many aspects of our everyday lives: how we socialize, take care of our family members and friends, exercise, manage our health, shop, educate our children, and even how we see our position in the world.”

138: “There is little doubt, for example, that in the next few years we will witness an explosion of creativity among start-ups and new ventures in the digital and biotechnological spaces. The pandemic has blown following winds into the sails of both, suggesting that we will see a good deal of progress and much innovation on the part of the most creative and original individuals in these sectors. The most gifted entrepreneurs will have a field day! The same may well happen in the realms of science and the arts”

139: “Isaac Newton, for one, flourished during the plague. When Cambridge University had to shut down in the summer of 1665 after an outbreak, Newton went back to his family home in Lincolnshire where he stayed for more than a year. During this period of forced isolation

described as annus mirabilis (a “remarkable year”), he had an outpouring of creative energy that formed the foundation for his theories of gravity and optics and, in particular, the development of the inverse-square law of gravitation”

140: “Scholars argue that the closure of theatres in London forced by the plague of 1593 helped Shakespeare turn to poetry. This is when he published “Venus and Adonis”, a popular narrative poem in which the goddess implores a kiss from a boy “to drive infection from the dangerous year”. A few years later, at the beginning of the 17th century, theatres in London were more often closed than open because of the bubonic plague. An official rule stipulated that theatre performances would have to be cancelled when the deaths caused by the plague exceeded 30 people per week. In 1606, Shakespeare was very prolific precisely because theatres were closed by the epidemic and his troupe couldn’t play. In just one year he wrote “King Lear”, “Macbeth” and “Antony and Cleopatra”

141: “Alexander Pushkin had a similar experience. In 1830, following a cholera epidemic that had reached Nizhny Novgorod, he found himself in lockdown in a provincial estate. Suddenly, after years of personal turmoil, he felt relieved, free and happy. The three months he spent in quarantine were the most creative and productive of his life. He finished Eugene Onegin – his masterpiece – and wrote a series of sketches, one of which was called “A Feast During the Plague”.

142: “We cite these historical examples of flourishing personal creativity in some of our greatest artists during a plague or pandemic not to minimize or distract from the catastrophic financial impact that theCOVID-19 crisis is having on the world of culture and entertainment, but instead to provide a glimmer of hope and a source of inspiration. Creativity is at its most abundant in the cultural and artistic sectors of our societies and history has shown that this very creativity can prove a major source of resilience.”

143: “many people in lockdown felt the sameness of the days, with every day similar to the previous and to the next, and barely any distinction between the working day sand the weekend. It is as if time had become amorphous and undifferentiated, with all the markers and normal divisions gone. In a fundamentally different context but within a similar type of experience, prisoners who face the harshest and most radical form of confinement confirm this.”

144: “We live in an era of extreme velocity, where everything goes much faster than ever because technology has created a culture of immediacy. In this “real-time” society where everything is needed and wanted right away, we constantly feel pressed for time and have the nagging feeling that the pace of life is ever increasing.”

145:” Might the experience of the lockdowns alter this? Could we experience at our own individual level the equivalent of what “just-in-time” supply chains will do in the post-pandemic era – a suppression of time acceleration for the benefit of greater resilience and peace of mind? Might the need to become more psychologically resilient force us to slow down and become more mindful of the passing time? Maybe.”

146: “This could be one of the unexpected upsides of COVID-19 and the lockdowns. It made us more aware and sensitive about the great markers of time: the precious moments spent with friends and our families, the seasons and nature, the myriads of small  things that require a bit of time (like talking to a stranger, listening to a bird or admiring a piece of art) but that contribute to well-being. The reset: in the post-pandemic era, we might have a different appreciation of time, pursuing it for greater happiness.”

147: “the pandemic has acted as a dramatic eye-opener to the public at large on the severity of the risks related to environmental degradation and climate change. Heightened awareness of and acute concerns about inequality, combined with the realization that the threat of social unrest is real, immediate and on our doorstep, might have the same effect. When a tipping point is reached, extreme inequality begins to erode the social contract and increasingly results in antisocial (even criminal) behaviour often directed at property. In response, consumption patterns must be seen to be changing. How might this play out? Conspicuous consumption could fall from favour. Having the latest, most up-to-date model of whatever will no longer be a sign of status but will be thought of as, at best, out of touch, and, at worst, downright obscene. Positional signalling will be turned upside down. Projecting a message about oneself through a purchase and flaunting expensive “stuff” may simply become passé. Put in simple terms, in a post-pandemic world beset by unemployment, insufferable inequalities and angst about the environment, the ostentatious display of wealth will no longer be acceptable.”

148: “Japan possesses two distinctive features that are intertwined: it has one of the lowest levels of inequality among high-income countries, and it has since the burst of the speculative bubble in the late 1980s had a lower level of conspicuous consumption that sets it apart. Today, the positive value of minimalism (made viral by the Marie Kondo series), the lifelong pursuit of finding meaning and purpose in life (ikigai) and the importance of nature and the practice of forest bathing(shirin-yoku) are being emulated in many parts of the world, even though they all espouse a relatively more “frugal” Japanese lifestyle as compared to more consumerist societies. A similar phenomenon can be observed in Nordic countries, where conspicuous consumption is frowned upon and repressed. But none of this makes them less happy, quite the opposite.”

149: “This might be another personal reset: the understanding that conspicuous consumption or excessive consumption of any kind is neither good for us nor for our planet, and the subsequent realization that a sense of personal fulfilment and satisfaction need not be reliant on relentless consumption – perhaps quite the opposite”

150: “Neuroscientists, psychologists, medical doctors, biologists and microbiologists, specialists of physical performance, economists, social scientists: all in their respective fields can now explain why

nature makes us feel good, how it eases physical and psychological pain and why it is associated with so many benefits in terms of physical and mental well-being. Conversely, they can also show why being separated from nature in all its richness and variety – wildlife, trees, animals and plants – negatively affects our minds, our bodies, our emotional lives and our mental health.”

151: “Even in the countries with the strictest lockdown regimes like France, health authorities insisted on the need to spend some time outside every day”

152: “Throughout the pandemic, we were reminded that rules of social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing (plus self-isolation for the most vulnerable people) are the standard tools to protect ourselves from COVID-19. Yet, two other essential factors that are strongly contingent upon our exposure to nature also play a vital role in our physical resilience to the virus: immunity and inflammation. Both contribute to protecting us, but immunity decreases with age, while inflammation increases. To improve our chances of resisting the virus, immunity must be boosted and inflammation suppressed. What part does nature play in this scenario? She is the leading lady, the science now tells us! The low-level of constant inflammation experienced by our bodies leads to all sorts of diseases and disorders, ranging from cardiovascular conditions to depression and reduced immune capabilities. This residual inflammation is more prevalent among people who live in cities, urban environments and industrialized areas. It is now established that alack of connection with nature is a contributing factor to greater inflammation, with studies showing that just two hours spent in a forest can alleviate inflammation by lowering cytokine levels (a marker of inflammation).”

153: ” not only the time we spend in nature, but also what we eat, how we sleep, how much we exercise. These are choices that point to an encouraging observation: age does not have to be a fatality. Ample research shows that together with nature, diet and physical exercise can slow, even sometimes reverse, our biological decline. There is nothing fatalistic about it! Exercise, nature, unprocessed food… They all have the dual benefit of improving immunity and suppressing inflammation.”

154: “Rising inequalities, a widespread sense of unfairness, deepening geopolitical divides, political polarization, rising public deficits and high levels of debt ,ineffective or non-existent global governance, excessive financialization, environmental degradation: these are some of the major challenges that existed before the pandemic. The corona crisis has exacerbated them all.”

155: “To avoid such a fate, without delay we need to set in motion the Great Reset. This is not a “nice-to-have” but an absolute necessity. Failing to address and fix the deep-rooted ills of our societies and economies could heighten the risk that, as throughout history, ultimately a reset will be imposed by violent shocks like conflicts and even revolutions. It is incumbent upon us to take the bull by the horns. The pandemic gives us this chance: it “represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine and reset our world”

156: ” The deep crisis provoked by the pandemic has given us plenty of opportunities to reflect on how our economies and societies work and the ways in which they don’t. The verdict seems clear: we need to change; we should change. But can we? Will we learn from the mistakes we made in the past? Will the pandemic open the door to a better future? Will we get our global house in order? Simply put, will we put into motion the Great Reset? Resetting is an ambitious task, perhaps too ambitious, but we have no choice but to try our utmost to achieve it. It’s about making the world less divisive, less polluting, less destructive, more inclusive, more equitable and fairer than we left it in the pre-pandemic era. Doing nothing, or too little, is to sleepwalk towards ever-more social inequality, economic imbalances, injustice and environmental degradation. Failing to act would equate to letting our world become meaner, more divided, more dangerous, more selfish and simply unbearable for large segments of the globe’s population. To do nothing is not a viable option.”

157: ” Some may resist the necessity to engage in it, fearful of the magnitude of the task and hopeful that the sense of urgency will subside and the situation will soon get back to “normal”. The argument for passivity goes like this: we have been through similar shocks –pandemics, harsh recessions, geopolitical divides and social tensions – before and we will get through them again. As always, societies will rebuild, and so will our economies.[…] Almost all the key indicators that measure our collective welfare (like the number of people living in poverty or dying in conflicts, the GDP per capita, life expectancy or literacy rates, and even the number of deaths caused by pandemics) have been continuously improving over pas centuries, impressively so in the last few decades. But they have been improving “on average” – a statistical reality that is meaningless for those who feel (and so often are) excluded. Therefore, the conviction that today’s world is better than it has ever been, while correct, cannot serve as an excuse for taking comfort in the status quo and failing to fix the many ills that continue to afflict it.”

158: “The absolute prerequisite for a proper reset is greater collaboration and cooperation within and between countries. Cooperation – a “supremely human cognitive ability” that put our species on its unique and extraordinary trajectory – can be summed up as “shared intentionality” to act together towards a common goal.”

159: “Seeing the failures and fault lines in the cruel light of day cast by the corona crisis may compel us to act faster by replacing failed ideas, institutions, processes and rules with new ones better suited to current and future needs. This is the essence of the Great Reset.”

160: ” They range from a poll in the UK showing that a majority of people want to fundamentally alter the economy as it recovers, in contrast to one-fourth wanting it to return to how it was,[170] to international surveys finding that a large majority of citizens around the world want the economic recovery from the corona crisis to prioritize climate change[171] and to support a green recovery.[172] Worldwide, movements demanding a “better future” and calling for a shift to an economic system that prioritizes our collective well-being over mere GDP growth are proliferating.”

161: ” We are now at a crossroads. One path will take us to a better world: more inclusive, more equitable and more respectful of Mother Nature. The other will take us to a world that resembles the one we just left behind – but worse and constantly dogged by nasty surprises. We must therefore get it right. The looming challenges could be more consequential than we have until now chosen to imagine, but our capacity to reset could also be greater than we had previously dared to hope.”


163: ” In all likelihood, unless the pandemic evolves in an unforeseen way, the consequences of COVID-19 in terms of health and mortality will be mild compared to previous pandemics. At the end of June 2020 (at a time when the outbreak is still raging in Latin America, South Asia and much of the US), COVID-19 has killed less than 0.006% of the world population. To put this low figure into context in terms of lethality, the Spanish flu killed 2.7% of the world’s population and HIV/AIDS 0.6% (from 1981 to today). The Plague of Justinian from its onset in 541 until it finally disappeared in 750 killed almost one-third of the population of Byzantium according to various estimates, and the Black Death (1347-1351) is considered to have killed between 30% and40% of the world population at the time.”



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