folke1_Romolo Tavani_Getty Images_globe pandemic Romolo Tavani/Getty Images

Valuing Resilience After the Pandemic

The world’s failure to value resilience means that shocks this century will hit harder, be more disruptive, and have longer-lasting impacts. Building resilience requires promoting greater income equality and technological and social innovations that support a sustainable future.

STOCKHOLM – If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world one thing, it is the high price we pay – in lost lives, damaged economies, and wasted human potential – when we undervalue resilience. By applying this lesson, we can bolster our ability to weather future shocks.

Over the last few centuries, societies have found a simple formula for progress and prosperity: economic growth. A steady increase in output and productivity is seemingly the panacea for all troubles, including food insecurity, poverty, and disease. But have we now reached a point where the strategy of growth is becoming a trap, generating new problems on an ever-larger scale?

It appears so. In a recent report published in advance of this month’s first-ever Nobel Prize Summit, “Our Planet, Our Future,” my colleagues and I argue that the world’s failure to value social and ecological resilience means that shocks this century will hit harder, be more disruptive, and have longer-lasting effects over centuries and even millennia. But we can build social resilience by promoting equality, trust, and collaboration, and ecological resilience by valuing diversity and complexity over efficiency and simplicity.

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