A Multicolored New Deal
The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified socioeconomic disparities between and within countries around the world, offering a disturbing preview of what awaits us on a warming planet. To get ahead of both current and looming crises, the world must commit to a recovery agenda that is not only green, but also blue, purple, and red.
NEW DEHLI – The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an unprecedented economic crisis, deeper and wider than any since the Great Depression. After months of turmoil, there is still no certainty as to how severe, widespread, and prolonged the damage will be.
What we do know is terrifying. Globally, extreme poverty is rapidly increasing, owing to the destruction of livelihoods and incomes, many of which will never be regained. Hunger is becoming more widespread, and health conditions are worsening even beyond the spread of the coronavirus. Income and asset inequalities have reached new highs in many countries, and gender and other group disparities are worsening. Political power imbalances are increasing as governments seize the opportunity to pursue greater centralization, control, and suppression of dissent.
This massive global crisis is playing out against the backdrop of climate change, which demands an equally bold and comprehensive response. The time has passed for “business as usual,” or for tinkering with existing structures in the hope that a relief measure here or a tax cut there will spur a sustainable recovery. Unfortunately, the emergency measures implemented by most governments this year have been of this weak variety, especially in developing countries, where the current fiscal responses are even more limited than they were after the 2008 financial crisis. Short of ambition, these policies are doomed to fail.