Matthew Taylor in iai:
Covid 19 is a challenge to which we are all seeking to respond. Some major social upheavals lead to fundamental and progressive shifts, think for example of the way the AIDS crisis accelerated the fight for LGBT rights; while others, most obviously the global financial meltdown of 2008, fail to precipitate major reform despite causing immense hardship. Indeed, the widespread assumption on the left that the financial crisis would lead to a reaction against inequality and global finance was not only disappointed but confounded as the political momentum was, in many countries, seized by nationalist populism.
Of the conditions that turn an immediate crisis into long term change, three stand out, all of which need to be in place:
- Latent potential, an underlying desire and logic for things to be different;
- Precipitating factors, events that create momentum for change;
- and Workable mechanisms, concrete ways of embedding change in social structures
Where might be the spaces in society and policy areas where these conditions could apply?
Let’s start with inequality and insecurity. Overall, there has for some time been a strong public feeling that inequality is excessive. Even politicians on the right have accepted the problem of real and perceived unfairness. The pandemic doubly amplifies the inequality story. On the one hand, it reminds us of our common humanity and vulnerability, on the other, it brings into sharper relief how much more vulnerable are some citizens whether it’s casual workers, children in poorer families, isolated older people or even prisoners.