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Yes, I know, I am often accused of only seeing what is wrong, of only predicting the worst. Nothing could be further from the truth: I spend a lot of time, here and elsewhere, detecting the good news, showing the extraordinary progress that is being made. In fact, it is not very difficult: not a week goes by without the announcement of one or two major discoveries, one or two technologies, which will soon change our relationship with pain, health, education, water, air, food, climate, mobility, effort, and all the major dimensions of our lives. In particular, we do not marvel enough at the fact that, less than eighteen months after the emergence of an unknown virus, more than two billion doses of a radically new vaccine have been injected, of which almost no one had any idea a year ago.
The life economy is gaining ground everywhere and laying the foundations for a happy future for humanity. If we want to secure it, we must not be lulled by this good news alone and remain vigilant against the dangers that are still out there: the most harmful sectors of our production continue to undermine our future; inequality is greater than ever (hundreds of millions of people have fallen back into extreme poverty, even in Europe); armed conflicts continue, civil wars drag on, armaments continue to accumulate in private and public hands, (there are now over 400 million weapons in private hands in the US and Iran has accumulated sixteen times more enriched uranium than the embargo agreements allowed).
And even what we think is good news may be a denial of reality: the pandemic is still very powerful in many emerging countries, and there is no reason to think that it could start up again in our countries in the autumn or even before, given the incredible carelessness with which governments and citizens are managing this transitional phase, which should have been done with great caution.
All precautions are being thrown overboard. Masks, testing, isolation and quarantine are being abandoned. We want to go back to consuming, but not really to producing. We are so happy with all kinds of aid that we would like it to last. In short, we would like to have the best of the pandemic (aid as a substitute for work) and the best of its disappearance (the right to have fun and consume).
However, this is not the real world. And we can’t go on like this for long. We will have to cut aid to reduce public spending, go back to work to reduce imports, and increase tax revenues.
We will also have to prepare for a new wave of pandemic, a new need for containment, unlikely as it may seem to many. If this happens, with public opinion so unprepared for this risk, which is currently unlikely, the worst is possible, socially, politically and economically, as we will not have the budgetary resources to finance the necessary aid.
Some people are already imagining that this could be the first use of future public digital currencies, issued by central banks, which would come to replace the current mechanisms for financing debt through the purchase of securities, the limits of which are already stratospherically exceeded.
Of course, all this may seem very distant and unlikely. And nothing is more tempting than to simply predict the best case scenario. Yet nothing is more tragic, in private as in public life, than the advent of the worst improbable, that the denial of reality makes it even more improbable.
We must therefore dare to think about these scenarii, do everything to make them even less likely, and be ready, in all humility, to face them, should they become reality…