Viewpoint: The Great Reset After COVID-19 Must Put People First
By Amol Mehra
Much has been written in recent months around the challenges and responses to the pandemic of COVID-19. The debate originated with the relative preparedness of our healthcare and crisis systems to deal with unexpected disasters, but quickly morphed into a discussion of the underlying structural and institutional inequities that have been revealed. These conditions – poverty, marginalization and social exclusion – are not themselves products of the coronavirus, but magnify its impact.
This highlights an aspect of our current market system, where those that are marginalized face the highest risk precisely due to the nature and consequences of their exclusion. Farm workers, factory workers, migrant workers and platform workers toil with minimal or no protections, including access to healthcare. The Brookings Institution has explored the differential impacts of the pandemic on class divides in America, noting the wide gaps by income class in both the risk being posed by infection and levels of response. The World Bank has also released a thorough study on south Asia, noting the impact of the pandemic will hit hard on low-income people, especially informal workers in the hospitality, retail trade and transport sectors who have limited or no access to healthcare or social safety nets. Even further, the study reveals that a protracted crisis may threaten food security, particularly for the most vulnerable.
Photo courtesy of Tai’s Captures.