fischer171_Romy Arroyo FernandezNurPhoto via Getty Images_protest Romy Arroyo Fernandez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Responsibility or Ruin

Although the top priority today is to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its economic fallout, we must not ignore the long-term implications of the crisis. Our actions now determine the fate of all other species on the planet, yet we are not fully in control of nature.

BERLIN – After many months, the global economy is still reeling from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic. Never before in peacetime has our technology-driven modern society experienced anything remotely similar to this.

Will there be a “second wave,” followed by more waves thereafter? That frightening question is now preoccupying people around the world, but particularly policymakers and national leaders. Nobody knows the answer. There is no playbook for a scenario in which a high-tech world economy interconnected by global supply chains is brought to its knees by a microscopic pathogen.

It would be a mistake to assess the meaning of this abrupt stop only from a short-term perspective. To be sure, the immediate priority is the fight against COVID-19. The pandemic has had dire economic and social implications for billions of people, and it seems to be hastening a global shift in political and economic power.

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