Geopolitics and anthropology of the coronavirus: 42 consequences for humanity18.05.2020 | Russkiy Mir Foundation
Online lecture by Vyacheslav Nikonov, Chairman of the state Duma Committee on education and science, Dean of the faculty of public administration of Moscow State University, Chairman of the Board of the Russkiy Mir Foundation, delivered on may 14, 2020 at the expert platform of Moscow state University.
During the pandemic, many, if not all, had more time to think. Everyone, without exception, follows the news, thinks about what is happening, what will happen. I am doing it, too. Indeed, it is time to think about yourself, about the human community, about the future.
Why be interested in the future? At the very least because that is where we all have to live.
As Winston Churchill observed, every true politician must anticipate what will happen in a week, a month, a year, or a decade, and then be able to explain why it didn't happen.
It is better to predict what will happen by the end of the century, and even better – millennia. None of your contemporaries will be able to check, but you have all the chances to be considered a great visionary. Short-term forecasts are made only by people who do not value their own reputation. But because I am so much better than my reputation, I sometimes try to anticipate things I am not very sure about.
The past and present, the fundamental immutability of human nature and basic stereotypes of consciousness, our views of the actors who make life-changing decisions for the world, give some hints about the upcoming changes.
In the face of rapid and dramatic changes, predictions are particularly difficult.
But many changes have already taken place or are taking place. Besides, Anna Andreyevna Akhmatova was right when she wrote, "The future is known to cast its shadow long before it enters."
The "'driving forces of history' was one of the basic concepts of the historical materialism. Today, I think there is no doubt that the main driving forces of history are so-called black swans. Events that are unpredictable and were not predicted. Someone predicted the current pandemic a year ago? No, of course not.
But the author of the "black swan" concept is Nassim Taleb - even in his eponymous acclaimed book named the epidemic among those black swans that can change the world.
The common place of all today discussions is that the world has changed as a result of the pandemic.
But how different was the world? And has the world changed?
1. In my opinion, the pandemic did not break the old world, it didn't even break the old world agenda. It acted as a catalyst for the processes that were already underway, accelerated them and made them more obvious.
The virus, like an earthquake, destroyed unstable structures, even those whose facade looked quite attractive.
2. The world system is becoming more fragmented.
It would seem that nothing unites the people and the state as a common enemy. Has such an obvious challenge as the coronavirus become this common enemy? No, although they often say the opposite.
After all, the question immediately arose: how will we fight the global challenge-with the joint efforts of the world community or each for himself? The answer is clear - everyone for themselves. National egoism was stronger. The G20 summit, held at the height of the pandemic, did not result in any concrete decisions.
3. Deglobalization. The pandemic has accelerated the process of returning to its own state shell.
Globalization was understood as a process of free transnational movement of money, goods, services, and labor. Anti-globalization measures - protectionism, sanctions, currency manipulation, restrictions on migration, support for their own producers, etc., all that had a tendency to increase before the epidemic, now flourishe in full bloom.
4. The growing failure of supranational structures. International organizations have shown a complete inability to act in a critical situation.
The UN has failed all the draft resolutions proposed by Russia and has not taken any real measures or even recommendations. Even the planned summit of the founders of The United Nations is unlikely to bring the UN out of its lethargy.
The world health organization was not scolded only by the lazy, and the benefits of it are really not too noticeable. The United States, the largest donor, has stopped funding the organization altogether.
Where were the Bretton Woods institutions-the international monetary Fund, the World Bank – during the pandemic? I may have missed something, but I have not heard that they helped anyone much.
The world trade organization has generally remained completely silent on the background of violations of its basic rules of free trade by all without exception.
5. Further subsidence of the superpower status of the United States.
Probably we all remember from childhood the game of King of the Mountain. The USA is the world champion in this game. This is the essence of the American model of development after world war II.
At the heart of American policy is to defend a place at the top of the global food chain by preventing the rise of an alternative center of power that can challenge the global dominance of the United States (as the USSR before and China or Russia now), or simply centers of power that are not controlled by the United States (as Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Muammar Gaddafi's Libya, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba).
Any means - economic, political, military, informational - are used to combat alternative centers of power. I believe that all factors of American power - both hard and soft - will be weakened as a result of the pandemic.
The appeal of the American model has greatly faded. American leadership is under great question seen against the background of images we get from the US recently, which are very different from Hollywood stereotypes. Crowded hospitals. The highest death rate from Covid-19 in the world. Dozens of decomposing corpses in trucks and trailers. Skyrocketing death rates among the poor and African-Americans without health insurance.
A very strong blow to the economy. Estimates of a fall in the first quarter – up to 5% of GDP, in the second-there are estimates that up to 45%. This is largely due to the structure of GDP, where three quarters is accounted for by household consumption. This consumption shrank sharply, and the number of unemployed people increased by 20 million in April alone – from 4% to 14%. The ability of households to service loans (and America is all in debt) is under great question.
It turned out that the US produces almost nothing. And they are not even able to produce protective masks, but are forced to buy shipments of medical supplies and equipment from China for cash on the runway, which were sent to other countries (even those allied to America).
The pre-election period has only increased the political discord, and the socio-political polarization has reached unthinkable proportions. The parade of state sovereignty began, which became even more clearly divided into red and blue – Republican and Democratic. The presidential elections only exacerbate mutual accusations.
The United States still has the ability to create big problems for any country. But America as an example… Of what?
6. Crisis processes in the European Union as an integration Association.
Relations within the EU are becoming increasingly strained. Requests from Southern European countries - Italy, Spain - for help were blocked by Germany and the Netherlands.
According to forecasts, the economic consequences of the crisis will be most severe for Europe. This is bad, because despite all the sanctions, the EU countries are our main trading partners.
The EU did not have a unified anti-epidemic policy. Moreover, it turned out that in a number of countries (for example, in Italy) there is no epidemiological service at all. Schengen is no longer valid, and many borders are closed.
The European Union as an organization is losing its subjectivity. Little depends on Brussels. Russia's relations with the EU as a whole, which are already almost non-existent, will increasingly evolve towards relations with individual EU countries.
7. Sagging of the West as a whole. Western countries were among the leaders in terms of infections, deaths, and ineffectiveness of preventive measures.
Leadership in a crisis is how well the government understands the situation in its own country and acts in this situation. The crisis of leadership is obvious – all the leaders of the Big Seven do not show themselves in any way during the pandemic.
The rise of national egoism, the closing of borders, the inadequacy of the health system, and the restriction of freedoms to fight the virus are blurring the image of the West as the bearer of certain features of a future society that others should emulate. This is a very serious blow to the credibility of the Western ideological model.
The subsidence of the West is an extremely dangerous thing. Not so much because it will drag down the entire world economy, but because the West, especially the United States, will begin to fight even more fiercely to maintain its position at the top of the food chain, using any means.
8. The age of Asia will come sooner than many thought, if not already. The flow of power and influence to the East will only accelerate.
It is now clear that Asian countries are coping with the pandemic much more effectively than European countries.
In recent years, more than half of all growth in the world economy was accounted for by two countries – China and India, and more than a third by one – China.
I believe this share will increase significantly when economic growth resumes. This has already happened in Asia.
9. There is no chance that the United States will quietly leave ‘the top of the mountain’ . The American belief in its own exclusivity has not gone away.
The fight to maintain global hegemony will require them to increase their already inflated military spending. But the crisis will create a problem of limited or insufficient resources for the struggle for dominance, and the further, the more. The US will want to speed up tough conflict resolution before the process of relative, if not absolute, weakening of America's power goes too far.
10. The main conflict of modern times is now obvious – the fight between America and China.
In Soviet times, it was customary to search for and name the main contradiction of the era. The main geostrategic contradiction will take place between China and the United States.
China in 2014 became the world's largest economy by PPP and continued to grow at a rate of more than 7% per year. China at the top of the food chain is an option that the Americans are absolutely not satisfied with.
In the United States, an anti-Chinese domestic political consensus quickly took shape – at the level of both parties and public opinion.
In America, they no longer hide their openly hostile attitude towards China.
The topic of the Communists who were not finished off in the early 1990s came up. Many regrets that the cold war ended prematurely, celebrating only the collapse of the USSR and the socialist camp, but not communism as such.
It is China that the United States holds responsible for the pandemic and intends to make it pay. And it is clear that we are talking about multi-trillion dollar amounts. American courts have already received claims from American States to recover damages from the PRC. Guess three times who will win in these courts?..
11. China is to accept the challenge; it looks like a stronger side.
China's strategic culture does not treat strategy as a confrontation and a zero-sum game. And it does not set goals for global hegemony.
But China will not be able to avoid confrontation if the Americans impose it. And they will do it.
China will not pay and will accept the challenge.
China looks like a stronger side. It has a more resilient economy and demographic dividend. It seems that China will have positive dynamics in the economy in this or next quarter.
Beijing is weaker in the component of strategic offensive weapons, but it is unlikely to reach them. However, the topic of the Sino-American war – not a trade war, but a real one – is actively discussed in the media. Trump has already said that the pandemic caused by China is worse than pearl Harbor. After pearl Harbor, there was a Declaration of war on Japan. And if the pandemic is even worse, what can we expect from America?
12. Transatlantic solidarity has been called into question. It is not guaranteed that the United States will enlist the support of all its allies in the struggle to maintain its hegemony.
One of the key issues is the future of the Western Alliance.
Will the US want to pull Europe to go along with it?
If you pull, the diredtion is clear – a confrontation with China and Russia.
Will Europe want to be pulled in this direction?
Will the EU want to be in the same team with a weakening and aggressive America?
Nothing is heard about NATO during the pandemic, except that the largest ever exercises on our borders have been canceled.
While there is an erosion of transatlantic ties, which will try to cure traditional strong drugs – Russophobia and Sinophobia. NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg praised the Czech authorities for demolishing the monument to Marshal Konev.
Anti-Russian hysteria in connection with the 75th anniversary of the Victory is off the scale, but I assure you, it would be much stronger if we celebrated in full.
There is no doubt that the Americans will be looking for a coalition willing to fight China. "Five eyes" have manifested themselves, accusing China in the fact that it hid for a long time early sources on the coronavirus. And so far, it is the countries of the "five", they are also Anglo-Saxons – the United States, great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand.
But even in this Alliance, there will be problems. For each of these countries, China is the main trading partner. Australian economy has always been geared to export raw materials, in recent decades to China.
13. The pandemic will relatively weaken Russia. There is a great threat of a severe economic recession.
In the development of the epidemic, we followed the European path rather than the Asian one, although with some delay, which gave us a margin of time.
But the economy has been hit hard by the disastrous fall in the price of oil.
A third of Russian enterprises recorded a drop in revenue by more than 50% in April, while only 6% increased revenue. The largest losses were incurred in the automotive industry, airports, tourism, real estate, industrial production, retail, transport, and logistics.
Unemployment will be high and will affect the most popular professions in Russia – driver, salesman and security guard. Transport is in crisis, as is trade, and the ability of the private sector to maintain security structures will decrease (although the need is likely to increase due to increased crime).
It will take a lot of money to support the unemployed, families with falling incomes, and serious state injections, which the government and the Central Bank have never done before. The advantage of Russia is that, unlike most other countries, we still have money.
14. Russian-American relations will deteriorate.
The desire of the United States and the West to sit at the top will encourage a policy of suppressing alternative centers of power, one of which, of course, is Russia.
Relations with the United States will deteriorate against the background of statements by a number of American leaders that they need to get closer to Moscow in order to drive a wedge in Russian-Chinese relations.
I quote an article from the not-so-Russophobic national interest: "the Kremlin is using the pandemic in its political war against the West… This is a toxic mix of propaganda, campaigns, disinformation, cyber attacks, subversion, economic pressure, inciting military hysteria and other measures on the verge of military conflict."
On the eve of Victory day, American strategic aviation conducted exercises: two bombers took off from an airfield in South Dakota and "bombed" Estonia. The American-British fleet conducted exercises in the Barents sea during the same pre-holidays and holidays period.
15. Arms control, which was once the Foundation of strategic stability, is now history.
The increasing aggressiveness of the United States and its focus on confrontation with China do not leave a chance for Russian-American agreements on arms control. Mike Pompeo said on may 5, 2020: "We will not risk the Arsenal of strategic deterrence, we must definitely modernize it."
Statements about readiness to continue negotiations on arms control, but with the indispensable condition of involving China in them, lead nowhere, since Beijing is not going to agree on limiting its strategic arsenal, which is several times smaller than the American or the Russian one.
And why, even if Beijing is involved, do other nuclear powers remain on the sidelines-with a nuclear Arsenal comparable to China's?
During recent telephone conversations between Putin and Trump and Lavrov and Pompeo, it became clear that the US does not intend to extend the start-3 Treaty.
16. The problem of biological warfare and bacteriological weapons was updated.
Even if a particular virus has a natural origin, this does not mean that even more dangerous infectious agents are not created.
We do not know what they are working on, even in the many Biolabs in the former Soviet Union that are supported by the us Department of defense.
The creation of a system of control over biological weapons has become the most urgent task of the world community.
17. Economically weakened Ukraine will be even cheaper to support as an anti-Russian project.
Ukraine will continue to be needed by the West solely as a source of problems for Russia. We will see a falling interest in protecting the interests of Kiev from Europe. On the part of the United States, interest will not decline, and if Joseph Biden wins the election in 2020, it will grow.
18. Russian-Chinese relations are likely to strengthen.
The American strategy of double deterrence of Russia and China has not gone away, on the contrary, it has become more consistent. We were put in the same boat, in my opinion, extremely recklessly. America itself will not be able to withstand a double deterrent.
In our country, American accusations against the PRC are perceived as greediness and a desire to complicate the development of China.
In addition, if we can maintain and, in the future, increase our exports, it is to China. By the way, it is better to have a growing power center like China as a trading partner than a stagnating one like the European Union.
19. The increased activity of the United States will be felt in all regions that are of primary strategic interest to them.
The middle East is certainly one of them.
There is oil, there is Israel, there is a massive American military presence. Hence the US threats against Iran. Hence the aggressiveness on the ground in Syria, the emergence of roadblocks where they should not have been.
20. Inexplicable phenomenon: South Asia, Africa cope better with the coronavirus.
At the beginning of the pandemic, there was an alarm that developing countries, especially the poorest in sub-Saharan Africa, would suffer a real catastrophe. The medical situation there is very bad: there are more Vice-presidents in South Sudan than there are artificial lung ventilation systems. Vice-presidents – 5, ventilators – 4 for the whole country.
But nothing disastrous happened there.
Maybe just fewer tests? May be.
Maybe there are no death statistics? May be.
But so far we have no images of the horrors of the coronavirus in African countries, although almost all residents have mobile phones.
It seems that there is reason to talk about a greater resistance of societies to infection. Whether it's the warm climate, or the fact that people there have been ill with all possible infections, were vaccinated against other diseases, and they have an increased immune system.
The immediate damage to the African continent is insignificant, which may increase the role of Africa in the world table of ranks.
But for developing countries, the damage from the pandemic will be enormous, and it will be associated with a drop in their export potential due to the lack of demand for commodities from developed economies.
21. Strengthening of states and statehood.
How much has been written in previous years that states are outgoing natures, giving their place to transnational corporations and institutions of public organization. That the Westphalian system of nation-States is a thing of the past.
So where are these TNCs and NPOs? Charity and volunteering are good, but clearly not enough. System focused only on profits, in the conditions of pandemic is not able to provide the public good. Huge multinational corporations have been generous, at best, only to buy masks for individual hospitals.
Only the state was able to take major anti-epidemic measures.
The most successful countries to deal with the crisis were those with very strong and organized state institutions that were able to strictly implement anti-epidemic measures: China, South Korea, Vietnam. The West has demonstrated the relative weakness and inefficiency of state institutions.
And measures were taken precisely at the level of individual national States and governments.
The importance of state sovereignty and the sovereignty of States is increasing. Repeatedly ridiculed, especially in the West, the concept of national interests is not only regaining its right to exist. As we see, countries are guided by the priority of their own national interests, and not by certain universal values.
States with the so-called liberal structure apear much less stable.
Disillusionment with democracy and a wave of populism are predicted by many. Since I am not quite sure what exactly different authors mean by "democracy" and "populism", I will refrain from making a forecast – the problem requires special analysis.
I will only say that anti-epidemic measures are by definition anti-democratic in themselves.
22. Diplomacy has gone online and will remain partially there.
Online diplomacy allows you to hold more meetings-in absentia. Allows Foreign Ministers to get enough sleep, saving them from life on planes. But live communication is gone, and most importantly – confidentiality.
23. International law and just the rules of decency will have to be forgotten.
The price tag of 15 million dollars for information about Maduro, put up by the United States, a symbol of new rules and new morality. This was followed by an invasion by Colombian and American special forces, much like the American operation in the Bay of Pigs.
Trump's claims to have a monopoly on the Moon and the creation of a consortium of US allies to develop minerals there are from the same series.
Not to mention the demands for China to pay for the epidemic.
24. The world of post-truth has already arrived. Information wars will only get worse.
The award of the most prestigious Pulitzer prize for journalism to the New York Times for an endless series of fake articles about Russia and Putin is a very clear example.
The line between experts, amateurs, and professional misinformers is rapidly blurring.
Western thinking has always been based on a superiority complex: we are better, wealthier, smarter, and more civilized than everyone else, so we have a natural right to tell others where to go. This is the ideological foundation of colonialism, racism, Nazism, liberal interventionism or humanitarian interventions.
The superiority complex in some implies the presence of an inferiority complex in others, in those who were led by the carriers of the "higher mind" to a bright future known only to them. The arrogance is shot down, but not too much. The stereotypes of Western thinking, as we have already seen, do not change.
The dichotomy of ‘democratic (good) versus authoritarian (bad)’ is back, even though before it had nothing to do with reality.
The same enemies are China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. Only their hostility, in the Western perception, has grown even more. Russia is accused of all the deadly sins, even for helping other countries in the fight against coronavirus.
The self-superiority complex in the West was only lightly (or severely?) eroded. But the inferiority complex of the others began to disappear rapidly.
25. The result of the pandemic will be a deep economic crisis.
Nouriel Roubini, who famously accurately predicted the financial and economic crisis of 2007-2009, is now predicting a " Very great depression." I'm inclined to agree with him.
Humanity as a whole is noticeably impoverished.
26. Budget deficits as a result of emergency anti-epidemic measures are beginning to go off the scale (Russia is not yet included).
Public investment for recovery growth may not be available later.
Private sector debt will become increasingly unaffordable, leading to a large number of defaults and bankruptcies. The whole world is waiting for mass destruction of small and medium-sized enterprises.
The pandemic will force States to pump more and more funds into the health sector. This may not be a bad thing for people, but the economy is at risk of underfunding other sectors or rising public debt.
27. Serious structural changes will take place in the economy.
It is obvious that there will be a transfer of finance to the digital economy sector. One of the consequences of this will be increasing inequality, because the digital economy gives jobs to a very small number of people.
We will see a relative increase in the importance of the real economy and digital technologies at the expense of the service sector market. This will give an advantage to countries with producing economies, which is again bad for the West, which has long produced little.
The industrial policy that was ridiculed recently will return, and to Western countries as well. As well as the policy of supporting domestic producers, which Trump started even earlier.
Many sectors of the economy that had recently seemed very promising – transport, tourism, trade, and the restaurant business – have fallen sharply and for a long time. Transportation will not return to its previous volumes soon, if at all. The tourism industry is unlikely to recover in any foreseeable future. Subsidence of the offline retail sector with the growth of online retail (a 90% drop in clothing sales in Moscow, half of clothing stores will not open after the pandemic).
28. Deflation trap.
The growth of government deficits and rampant emissions in the West will lead, many believe, to inflationary consequences.
Others (including aforementioned Roubini) believe that there is an even greater threat of deflation due to the accumulation of huge inventories and the presence of a large amount of excess production capacity.
29. The obvious blow to consumerism, rampant consumption, people will start saving money, which is basically bad for the economy due to reduced demand.
This will be the consumer's market more than the producer's.
30. We are entering an era of cheap raw materials – simply because the entire world economy will shrink and demand will fall for everything, and therefore the demand for energy.
It will benefit producing countries industrial products (besides China), and will be a serious blow for countries with commodity-dependent economies (most developing countries, Russia, Canada, Australia, the Gulf monarchies).
31. The overall economic downturn will reduce the burden on the environment.
Greta Thunberg's dream will come true: the anthropogenic load on the environment will be reduced. Humanity will produce less, eat less, and increase its population more slowly.
32. Well-organized and cohesive societies performed much better than atomized ones.
But the result of the pandemic will be a growing atomization of society, which will have different manifestations.
Society will become more introverted, more closed, more "masked". It will be a much more digital world than before.
Perhaps this will curb the scale of the protest potential, which will grow due to economic problems.
33. The pandemic will push suburbanization – the flight of people from overpopulated cities closer to clean air.
The ant cities – the product and generic feature of the industrial revolution – will take a serious hit from the coronavirus.
In Russia there is pleny of room for deurbanization and suburbanization.
34. Education and science will increasingly go online.
The demand for distance learning has grown over the long term.
This will be driven by both demand – the desire for isolation, and supply – almost all teachers, whether they wanted it or not, have mastered distance teaching methods.
As if the coronavirus did not start the process of dying out of traditional universities in favor of distance education. Nothing can replace teacher-student communication, but I am sure that traditional universities will have to actively develop distance forms themselves.
The situation of the pandemic, by undermining the ability of scientists to communicate at conferences, contributes to the creation of international professional online communities. So, scientists from different countries work together on medicines and vaccines, bypassing governments.
35. The coronavirus is with us for a long time. And it is dangerous in itself.
The lethality of Covid-19 is comparable to that of the plague. Modern medicine cures 90-95% of cases of plague, but it is considered to be deadly.
It is very important to learn from the first months of the pandemic. The best result was shown by countries that implemented strict quarantine measures in the epicenter of the epidemic.
The Chinese firmly closed Wuhan. People were forbidden to leave their homes. Shops are closed and all transport is stopped. Specially trained and equipped people bring food to your home. Everyone has a QR code, all movements are strictly controlled, and leaving the house is severely punished. China managed it in a month and a half.
Where this was not done, we received a flash. In Russia, it is the middle way, and we have far surpassed China in the number of infected people – with a population 9 times larger than ours.
36. The pandemic has already given a new impetus to research in the fields of medicine, biology and pharmacology.
The inadequacy of the anti-epidemic situation on a global scale, even in the vaccination calendar, and the insufficient level of expertise in modern Virology (as many experts as there are opinions) were revealed. For a long time, prominent Western experts have argued that the coronavirus is not too dangerous, because fewer people die from it than from a heart attack or flu. In this case, the static assessment was imposed on the dynamic situation.
The race for a coronavirus vaccine and medication has begun. The winner will receive a large moral and material gain.
The Russian Ministry of health promises to give the vaccine at the end of July. If this happens, the developers will need to put up a monument.
37. Nationalism will be on the rise.
Anti-immigrant sentiment will certainly increase.
But at the same time, we can expect an increase in re-emigration. A lot of people remembered that they have a homeland. The mass migration of people who had been living abroad for years began. And suddenly they realized that no one would help them there.
This has already prompted re-emigration. However, and the epidemic too, since many of them arrived already infected.
38. Increased poverty will generate a surge in crime. So far, this is being held back by measures of self-isolation, in which conditions only apartment thefts are growing where the owners are fleeing for the city.
39. The consequences of the pandemic are bad news for demographics. Demography consists of three parameters: birth rate, mortality, and migration.
Sexuality is more likely to decline – a quarter of respondents in one of the studies stated a sharp decrease in libido. At the same time, however, there was an emotional rapprochement of the spouses. The desire to go to the side, obviously, has decreased, as, in fact, and the opportunity. But it seems that the desire to have new children has decreased.
The disease itself caused a spike in mortality. In Moscow in April - by 15% compared to April 2019. Here, of course, is the death rate from Covid-19, and from its consequences – such as a surge in alcoholism.
The migration growth of the population will also have to be forgotten.
I would assess the demographic consequences as unambiguously negative.
40. The world and society will change more and more rapidly. People will need to catch up with changes.
Yuval Noah Harari, a very curious modern Israeli thinker, rightly observed: "If someone describes the world of the middle of the twenty-first century to you and this description looks like science fiction, it is most likely incorrect. But if this description doesn't sound like science fiction, it's definitely wrong. We are not able to foresee specific details, but the only thing that is not in doubt is the changes."
People are basically afraid of change. The new environment will require considerable flexibility of thinking. Originality will turn into a new normality. You will need to constantly update yourself.
The new world will create an obvious demand for greater emotional stability and stress tolerance of each person.
This will increase the demand for a variety of methods of self-improvement and self-control. Maybe even a request for a healthy lifestyle.
41. The pandemic will generate discussions about the system of human values – a topic that has not been the most fashionable in recent years, or that has been discussed exclusively in the context of the values of democracy and human rights. I have nothing against democracy and human rights.
But, in my opinion, it is now clear to everyone that the main value is human life and security.
On the agenda, however idealistic it may sound, is the development of a new humanistic philosophy.
42. We are still at the beginning of a pandemic in terms of assessing its consequences and the consequences themselves.
We don't know how long it will take to create vaccines and medicines. We don't know how the virus will mutate, or whether it will be immune to it.
There are not many unemployed or hungry people yet.
And we don't know what other "black swans" we can expect.
One thing is clear: the pandemic has not made the world a better place. It got worse.
Therefore, we must prepare for the worst.
Two and a half millennia ago, Pittacus – one of the seven ancient Greek sages, the elected ruler of the city of Mytilene – observed: "It is the task of the clever to anticipate trouble before it comes, it is the business of the brave to deal with trouble when it happened"
Let’s get to work!