The COVID-19 Solidarity Test
If the COVID-19 crisis has taught us one thing, it is that the relentless focus on hyper-efficiency and short-term gains of recent decades has given rise to a highly fragile global system. The time has come to build a more resilient world order, based on economic, generational, and international solidarity.
WASHINGTON, DC – The COVID-19 crisis represents an unprecedented test of human solidarity. Will the wealthy – or, indeed, all those with stable incomes or savings cushions – embrace measures to support the poor and economically insecure? Will the young, among whom the mortality rate is lower, make sacrifices to protect the old? And will people in rich countries accept resource transfers to poor countries?
Only if the answer to all three questions is yes will the world be able to minimize the fallout of the pandemic that has killed nearly 38,000 people and crippled the global economy. And yet that outcome is nowhere near guaranteed.
The first form of solidarity that is being tested – across income groups – may be the easiest to secure. COVID-19 has infected the likes of the United Kingdom’s prime minister and crown prince, professional athletes, and multiple Hollywood celebrities, showing that it has no regard for whether a person is rich or poor.