Will it take a second wave of COVID-19 to sweep across Europe for us to finally understand that we are on the wrong track? I am not talking about the medical field here, which I will refrain from expressing an opinion about, but rather about the economic, technological, social, political and ethics fields.
Must COVID-19 impose a new massive lockdown for us to realize that it is not with the means of the past that we are going to solve a radical and new type of crisis?
The reaction to the first wave of the pandemic was, following a brief period of shock, to give every economic actor the monetary and banking resources to wait for the disease to dissipate, and to give every employee the resources to live without working.
When it became clear, however, that this pandemic was not a temporary phenomenon, and that it would have a very profound and lasting impact on the economy, every government, in every country, launched competing investment plans through a reach of imagination.
Well, not exactly “imagination.”
In all of these plans, including the European and French plans, we were content to bring to the forefront investment projects that had been buried in boxes. As such, announcements were made about modernization projects for the most affected sectors, such as the automotive and aeronautics industries. As if these sectors had the slightest chance of maintaining the same outlook that they were expected to have before the pandemic. And because it was not sufficient, increased funding was allocated to major green programs, which were long overdue, but for which we had sworn up until now that we did not have the resources to fund.
All in all, so far, the first response to this crisis has been: “wait and see.” Then: “more of the same.”
During these times, no one was really surprised that the answer to a global health crisis was: “competitiveness and the climate.”
Both are praiseworthy ambitions; in particular, in France, whose foreign trade is running a disastrous deficit because of the lack of competitiveness; and where each passing day aggravates the ravages of global warming; in this field, excellent programs have been reinforced, especially in the area of housing renovation.
But in doing so, we are not answering the new questions posed by COVID-19:
For there is nothing, or almost nothing, in these recovery plans to develop the sectors with cruel inadequacies, which the first wave of COVID-19 revealed to us. These are the sectors that together create what I call “the economy of life”: the pharmaceutical industry, medical devices, digital education, public health, healthy foods, water, clean energy, insurance, media, security and training (especially for the workers we will need to put into action and implement these investments).
Finally, nothing has been said and no thought has been spent on new regulations that would have to be implemented to promote the economy of life. This is an exciting field of action, not costly, but totally neglected.
All in all, we hoped to resolve a 21st century crisis with resources that were thought out at the beginning of the 20th century.
One day, historians will ask themselves how almost every government could have made such an error in their analysis. How they could have been so overwhelmed by these events.
Unfortunately, if a second wave is confirmed, we will realize that there is still a cruel shortage of what the economy of life should massively produce: for example, when schools are closed schools and students are on lockdown, we will realize that we should have spent the summer ordering computers for teachers and students and preparing the necessary courses. And it will be understood that in terms of housing, it is not only necessary to isolate the buildings, but also allow everyone to have a room to work from home; and that in the meantime, a large part of our hotels should be transformed into places for teleworking. And so much more.