Ten Lessons For A Post-Pandemic World

“There are decades when nothing happens and weeks when decades happen.” – Vladimir Lenin

That quote is highlighted in a new book by best-selling author Fareed Zakaria. In “Ten Lessons for a Post- Pandemic World”, Mr. Zakaria helps readers to understand the nature of a world that emerges after the pandemic: the political, social, technological, and economic consequences that may take years to unfold. He does this by focusing on ten lessons:

  • Buckle up
  • What Matters Is Not the Quantity of Government but the Quality
  • Markets Are Not Enough
  • People Should Listen to the Experts—and Experts Should Listen to the People
  • Life is digital
  • Aristotle Was Right—We Are Social Animals
  • Inequality will get worse
  • Globalization is not dead
  • The world is becoming bipolar
  • Sometimes the Greatest Realists Are the Idealists

The book offers a great look at history and the Catalysts that forced human action in the past. Whether COVID-19 proves to be a catalyst remains to be seen, as some believe it will be a hinge event that alters human history, and others believe it will accelerate, versus reshape it. Past events like the bubonic plague were in the former category, altering human history in a considerable way. As the author describes, it prompted an intellectual revolution. Many fourteenth-century Europeans asked why God would allow this hell on earth and questioned entrenched hierarchies – which had the ultimate effect of helping Europe break out of its medieval malaise and setting in motion the Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment.

The book delves into the origins of COVID-19 and the reasons that we can expect more of these viruses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that three-quarters of new human diseases originate in animals – and in many parts of the world, we are living closer to wild animals. The more we extend civilization into nature, the odds that animals will pass disease to us increase. Fighting disease takes global cooperation – something that is lacking in the current virus response. Compare and contrast the current virus with another historical comparison: the eradication of smallpox is a story that is only partly about science and mostly about extraordinary cooperation between rival superpowers and impressive execution across the globe. This was a story of cooperation between two rival powers (Russia, U.S.) dating back to 1958. By 1980, smallpox was eradicated. Global cooperation is an important theme throughout the book, as you cannot defeat global diseases (or deal with climate change, govern the path of AI, etc.) without some level of global governance.

Governance in the context of innovation does not mean slowing it down or blocking its path. Innovation will continue at incredible speed, and there is nothing we can/should do about that. Extreme events are likely to grow more frequent, and that phenomenon is mostly out of our hands as well. But the author hits the nail on the head when he says: “What we can do is be far more conscious of the risks we face, prepare for the dangers, and equip our societies to be resilient.” Education, awareness, and a willingness to think differently will go a long way towards realizing all three. I really enjoyed this book and have added it to my Library.

Explore other pandemic topics via the links below.

FEATUREDA Post Pandemic Society

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