In the wake of Covid-19

The time could not be riper to unleash the change agency capable of turning fake messiahs redundant. It is about breaking the chain of despair, dumping knowledge silos and bracing ourselves for a war on status quo

 By Samad Ramoly

By internalising a development model where the Wall Streets of the world, the price of a barrel of oil and the swings in the price of luxury real estate act, on the one hand, as benchmarks in structuring public policies, and on the other hand, as a barometer of our well-being, we have transformed ourselves into an echo chamber of the whims and desires of the Growth Addicts, a cynical partnership between Big Business and governments. Social media is still overwhelmingly a platform that “incentivises engagement and disincentivises truth”, as in the words of researcher Gordon Pennycook, to lay out the desired channel for a paradigm shift.

Now that our systemic failures are cruelly exposed by Covid-19, any societal metamorphosis will depend on our awakening and the scale of our reaction. To begin with, we will have to cure ourselves of the virus that has trickled down among the majority of us: FOMO (Fear of missing out). Once embarked in this coveted comfort zone and spiritual void that has enabled some of the most privileged to play God (the means of acquiring an entry visa being irrelevant), it is the feeling of being immune to any harm that has spread simultaneously with the quasi-denial of the pervasive social divide.

As long as this virus plagues our ecosystem, we will have to learn to bear with the expansion of psychological disorders, environmental damage, economic turbulence, and settle for palliative measures to mitigate collateral damage. History, so we are reminded, teaches us that after a catastrophe, the world changes. To what extent the future will tell us. Alternately, we must realize that it will be in an era of intensifying geopolitical conflicts and in a climate of mistrust in governments and the mainstream media, multinationals and conglomerates, and “experts”.

The time could not be riper to unleash the change agency capable of turning fake messiahs redundant. It is about breaking the chain of despair, dumping knowledge silos and bracing ourselves for a war on status quo. This lockdown is providing us with ample opportunities to ponder a systemic overhaul. The situation is begging for radically modified consumption habits that can potentially alleviate the impact of market failure and reduce our carbon footprints while also contributing to the emergence of a world less toxic. Because it is far from granted that after the Covid-19 catastrophe it won’t be business as usual for the Growth Addicts, with nothing but a mere rewiring to accommodate the disruption of supply chains and a revamped Corporate Social Responsibility pledge to camouflage greed.

(www.tchombo.blogspot.com)


* Published in print edition on 14 April 2020

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