How COVID-19 Disrupts the Status Quo

COVID-19, and the ensuing crisis, has clearly shown a host of flaws and cracks in the old common. The following are the most important ones.

To begin with, our culture is lacking in diversity and inclusion. Many minority groups are underrepresented, viewed unfairly, or even discriminated toward. Women, people of migrant origin, disabled people, and people of certain sexual orientations are also affected. A pandemic is often seen since a great "equalizer," since everyone could become ill. In fact, however, the burden of a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic is not evenly distributed and falls mostly on the poorer classes. It works in a very selective manner.

Despite the government's support for businesses and staff, groups of migrant workers were vulnerable to high risks of COVID-19 infections due to unsafe working conditions and a shortage of opportunities to avoid working or work from home. This was shockingly obvious in the beef industry and slaughterhouses in the Netherlands and Germany, for example. Following the lifting of many of the lockdown restrictions in Spain, the Ségria area near Barcelona, which has 200,000 residents, was forced to close again due to a new outbreak in sectors with many migrant workers.

Second, our culture continues to be generational in nature. For the first time in history, a sociological transition is underway, which began before the Corona crisis and in which new generations do not have better futures than their parents or grandparents. This is true for job security, debt, insurance, the right to purchase or rent a home, and, as a result, the effect all of this has on the formation of partnerships and families. COVID-19 struck the elderly the hardest, without a doubt. The limitations on going out and being together, the lockdown of their schools and jobs, and the economic changes all had a significant impact on young people's welfare, morbidity, and isolation. Young jobs on short contracts are seeing a surge in unemployment, as they are the first to be laid off. As a result, a "corona generation," "Generation C," or a group of "Coronials" could emerge. During one of the crisis press conferences, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte urged the youth to speak up.

Finally, when it comes to universal unity, our modern culture is lacking.

According to the UNHCR, almost 70.8 million people were internally displaced worldwide by the end of 2018 due to persecution, war, abuse, or human rights abuses, a new peak. According to the most updated statistics on global poverty, 690 million people go to bed hungry every night.

Migrants are at the hands of Western states, which are ambiguous, disorganized, and self-centered.

Refugees are sometimes used as political props. Many countries and regions are unable to combat the spread of the coronavirus due to a lack of resources and infrastructure, especially among certain populations, such as refugees. Simultaneously, Western nations are unable to find an agreement on assistance mechanisms and rules, and others are attempting to stockpile medicinal supplies, including potential drugs and vaccines.

Finally, the old common is, to a large extent, human-centered, lacking the planet's larger ecological environment, of which we humans are a member. Humankind has entered the modern revolution after Thomas Newcomen's commercial invention of the first prototypes of the steam engine that could transfer continuous power to a machine in 1712. Much has been accomplished in the following man-dominated Anthropocene, but much has also been lost, discarded, and irreversibly harmed. The concepts of "externalities" and "ecological fingerprints" of human activity and the environmental infrastructure we have built are relatively new and still in their infancy.

This is why, considering all of the information that has been created, the old popular is incredibly fragile. COVID-19 tends to be a zoonotic disease that begins in animals and then spreads to humans under certain conditions. A virus, according to various virologists, restores an ecosystem.

In other words, the COVID-19 crisis is a "systemic" crisis underpinned by a capitalist, neo-classical economic system in which, according to economist Mazzucato, "anything that fetches a price is of worth," while "anything that has value used to fetch a price" in classical economics.

Many of these flaws stem from two seemingly opposing desires or beliefs, which can be defined as global vs. local and group vs. individual problems, respectively. Indeed, Krastev recently argued that the COVID-19 pandemic is distinct from previous global catastrophes due to the unprecedented degree of globalization that has been achieved by the year 2020, as well as the unprecedented level of political influence that many nations, including China, have placed on their people. Furthermore, according to Krastev, the crises amplify a number of paradoxes, including the looming inter-generational conflicts, the dilemmas states face in deciding whether to stimulate the economy or contain the spread of the virus in order to protect people's health, and the national government's tendency to control its citizens versus the fundamental right to privacy.

Krastev organizes his observations into the seven lessons below, all of which are focused on a European perspective.

1. The return of "large governments": people want the government to mobilize a national defense against the pandemic.

2. The importance of boundaries is growing: the nation state's position in securing national interests is becoming more significant.

3. A growing faith in scientific expertise: while their own lives are on the line, people are more willing to trust scientists and listen to evidence.

4. The capacity for big data authoritarianism: to combat the crisis, governments can use information media to quickly and easily regulate people's mobility and actions.

5. The message that politicians must spread: in order to contain the pandemic, people must radically change their lifestyles, because advice to "be cool" and "get on with life" is incorrect.

6. The significant effect on intergenerational dynamics, when older members of society are far more vulnerable to COVID-19 and feel endangered by millennials' apparent inability to change their lifestyles.

7. At this stage, policymakers would be forced to choose between halting the pandemic's progression at the expense of the economy's destruction or tolerating a greater human cost in order to save the economy.

You may also want to read more about COVID-19 here.


Benkler Y (2006) The wealth of networks: how social production transforms markets

and freedom. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, p 3. ISBN 978–0–300-11056-2

Bostrom N (2014) Superintelligence: paths, dangers strategies. Oxford University

Press, Oxford

Buck Cox SJ (1985) No tragedy on the commons. Environm Ethic 7(1):49–61.

de Sousa Santos B (2002) Toward a new legal common sense. Law, globalization, and

emancipation. Butterworths, London

Dignum V (2019) Responsible artificial intelligence: how to develop and use AI in a

responsible way. Springer Nature, Berlin, Germany


 The Dawn of a New Common


Etzioni A (2003) In: Christensen A-DK, Levinson D (eds) Communitarianism,

encyclopedia of community: from the village to the virtual world, vol 1. Sage

Publications, Thousand Oaks, pp 224–228

Etzkowitz H, Zhou C (2013) The triple helix. In: University-Industry-Government

Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Routledge, London

Eurofound (2020) Living, working and COVID-19 first findings (April). Eurofound,



FAO (2020) Worldwide hunger report.


Giordano P (2020) Nel Contagio. Giulio Einaudi Editore, Torino, Italy

Harari YN (2017) Homo deus: a brief history of tomorrow. Vintage, London

Hardin G (1968) The tragedy of the commons. Science 162(3859):1243–1248

Hoek M (2018) The trillion dollar shift: achieving the sustainable development goals.

Taylor and Francis Inc., New York

Kleinfeld R (2020) Do authoritarian or democratic countries handle pandemics bet-

ter? CEIP, March 31, 2020.


Kolb J, Kolb J (2013) The big data revolution. Independent Publishing Platform,


Krastev I (2020a) Is it tomorrow, yet? Paradoxes of the pandemic. Penguin

Books, London

Krastev I (2020b) Seven early lessons from the coronavirus, The European Council for

Foreign Relations.


Lovelock J (2019) Novacene: the coming age of hyperintelligence. Penguin Random

House, London

Mak G (2020) Epiloog bij Grote verwachtingen. Atlas Contact, Amsterdam, in Dutch

Mayer-Schönberger V, Cukier K (2013) Big data: a revolution that will transform

how we live, work and think. John Murrau Publishers, London

Mazzucato M (2019) The value of everything. Penguin Randhom House, London

Merriam Webster Dictionary (2020).


Norberg J (2016) Progress: ten reasons to look forward to the future. Oneworld

Publications, London

O’Connor D (2018) Accelerating progress towards the SDGs: enhancing the role of

the high-level political forum, report of the 2018 sustainable development transi-

tion forum: United Nations Office for Sustainable Development. https://sustain-

Peris-Ortiz M, Ferreira J, Farinha L, Fernandes N (2016) Introduction to multiple

helix ecosystems for sustainable competitiveness. Springer, Berlin, pp 1–14

Putnam RD (2016) Our kids: the American dream in crisis. Simon &

Schuster, New York


 E. Aarts et al.

Rosling H, Ola Rosling O, Rosling Rönnlund A (2018) Factfulness: ten reasons we’re

wrong about the world-and why things are better than you think. Flatiron

Books, New York

Schot J, Ghosh B, Bloomfield G (2020) Conversations on COVID-19: consequences

for the second deep transition and the sustainability revolution, deep transition



Sneader K, Singhal S (2020) Beyond coronavirus: The path to the next normal.

McKinsey, New York.


Spinney L (2018) Pale rider: the spanish flu of 2018 and how it changed the world.

Random House Books, London

St. James Town (2020) Website: Together, for the common good of St. James Town.

Sustainable Development Goals (2020) Website: About the sustainable development


Vinuesa R, Azizpour HA, Leite I, Balaam M, Dignum V, Domisch S, Felländer A,

Langhans SD, Tegmark M, Fuso Nerini F (2020) The role of artificial intelligence

in achieving the sustainable development goals. Nat Commun 11:233. https://

Wilthagen T, Bongers P (2020) Resilience in an infected society. In: Netherlands

Institute for advanced studies, food for thought, reflections on the corona crisis by

fellows from the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies. NIAS,

Amsterdam, pp 64–68

Wilthagen T, Schoots M (2019) Building TrusTee, the world’s most trusted robot.

Tilburg University, Tilburg.