As the world continues to suffer the implications of the severe Covid-19 pandemic, it is worth examining how the global economy can be reshaped for the better
As the lockdown has expanded throughout the world a number of critical industries have been damaged, possibly beyond repair. Oil and gas, travel and tourism and most services and retail industries are unlikely to be reformed in the same way in which they existed in the past.
Partially, this is because of the length of time it will take to overcome the virus. However, the worst aspects of human behavior are also clearly demonstrated in these types of industries. Kick-starting those with huge government stimulus packages would be a squandered opportunity to reshape for the better.
Global economy needs to take the climate emergency seriously
Despite constant reminders over the past few decades of the impact that our use of fossil fuels has on the environment, consumption levels have done nothing but climb. Now as the world economy pauses, millions of barrels of oil are left unburned and cities all over the world have been breathing easier for weeks.
Using this opportunity to change consumption patterns and nurture alternative energy with serious investment could result in current climate goals becoming achievable, which at present they are not.
Travel and tourism represents the world’s worst excesses
Cheap holiday flights and weekly business trips have helped to bring the world together but they have also resulted in excessive business practices that have encouraged millions of unnecessary trips every day, burning jet fuel.
The coronavirus pandemic has shown that the majority of office based jobs can function at the same level of operating efficiency working from home, with none of the travel. Businesses are beginning to see that endless travel around the world and even commutes in and out of the office are largely obsolete.
Retail and services industries could be significantly less wasteful
Most societies have been organized around encouraging massive consumption of items such as clothing, food and all manner of disposable goods. The success of a country’s economy can largely be measured, by modern standards, as purely the cash amount of goods bought and sold.
As shopping and consumption levels have been reduced to a minimum, consumers have had a glimpse into what products are necessary for their wellbeing and what are not. There are vast swathes of retail company’s that it might not be beneficial to support with government aid after COVID-19 ends.
Central banks should act with extreme caution when attempting to restart the global economy
Already central banks have prepared and given out huge amounts of cash to these failing industries. However, it should be noted that even during crisis, many troubled businesses have been giving out dividend payments and maintaining executive bonus’.
A good portion of these industries won’t actually be able recover or even operate at their previous capacity. Taking on nation debt to protect industries highly likely to fail is not operating in the general interest.
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