Showing posts with label public. Show all posts
Showing posts with label public. Show all posts

COVID-19 Economic Growth vs. Public Health


Many have found instances of sectarianism that occur when government actors adhere to divisive ideals or partial interests in support of or opposition to COVID-19-related public policies. However, there is another problem that we would like to consider in the light of collective justification: the relationship between various democratic ideals. That is, policies can be irrational not because they are based on sectarian ideals, but because they unreasonably balance various non-sectarian political values. 

In liberal democratic cultures, there are sometimes conflicts between broadly held political ideals. While this does not exclude democratic justification, it does necessitate that those arguing for or against specific laws and regulations have arguments that "reflect a plausible balancing of political principles." Even if it is founded on a political principle that stands alone, a statement struggles to be a legitimate public rationale if it does not plausibly resolve other political values that might be at stake.' Different interpretations of how the same shared category of political value can be better realized are one example of balancing. Consider the basic principles of democratic liberalism and civic reason, the "values of the common good." 

There has been continuing discussion within the framework of COVID-19 on the possible trade-off between public health and economic development, arguably two policy agendas that advance the common good. People have conceptualized the harms caused by COVID-19 in various ways as a result of the conflict between public health and economic development, with some prioritizing the damage to health and others prioritizing the long-term harm to the economy and livelihoods. Any countries strongly adopted a public health-oriented agenda from the start of the pandemic, including the almost inevitable economic costs. 

For instance, in March, Working from home is not easy whether you work in a hotel, drive a taxi, plan parties, or freelance to cover your bills, according to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. If you work in the oil and gas industry, or the tourism and seafood sectors, you're undoubtedly concerned about the global economy's instability and worrying not just how long it will last, but also how long your investments will last. This is a moment when you should be concerned with your own welfare as well as the health of your neighbors, regardless of who you are or what you do. Not whether or not you'll risk your career. 

Just if you'll run out of money for necessities like groceries and prescriptions. Similarly, before implementing strict lockout measures to combat Australia's second outbreak of COVID-19 pathogens, Premier Daniel Andrews of Victoria demonstrated to the public: "As Premier, I've spent every day fighting for employment and fighting for employment." I completely understand: a career provides financial support, but it also provides continuity, meaning, and a basis on which to develop the future. To be honest, I never imagined I'd be in a situation where I had to ask people not to come to work. Still, if we're serious about bringing this thing down – which we must be – we'll have to take unprecedented measures to limit people's mobilization, and therefore the spread of the virus. 

It's crucial to note that Trudeau and Andrews, like other politicians who recognized the urgency of putting public health priorities first, could not ignore the pressing economic situation they were in. In addition to recognizing the potential job cuts and economic consequences that stringent lockdown policies would entail in order to save lives, these officials took steps to assist companies and employees threatened by government responses to the pandemic. 

Other government figures, on the other hand, emphasized the importance of putting the economy ahead of public health results from the start. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, for example, downplayed the pandemic's seriousness, calling it "just a little fever" and insisting that "the economy must come first." ‘[l]ife must go on, employments [sic] should be retained, people's income should be maintained, so all Brazilians should return to normal,' Bolsonaro said in late March. Similarly, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in the same month, "My message is that let's get back to work." Let's get back to enjoying our lives. Let's do it the same way... For those of us who are overweight will look after ourselves. So don't put the nation in jeopardy... I just imagine there are a lot of grandparents out there like me—I have six grandchildren—who are concerned with the same thing... And while I want to live wisely and see it clearly, I don't want the country as a whole to be sacrificed. That's what I'm doing... No one approached me and said, "As a senior citizen, are you ready to risk your life in order to save the America that all Americans cherish for your children and grandchildren?" 

And if that's the deal, I'm on board. Even in Italy, one of the first countries to enact a near-total quarantine at the start of the pandemic, the propensity for certain segments of the population to prioritize the economy led to the delay in closing down main industries and factories, arguably aiding the virus's dissemination in its early stages. This was especially true in the Bergamo province, which is one of Italy's wealthiest and most prosperous, with a strong work ethic. Confindustria Bergamo, a trade association representing, companies hiring, workers, sent a reassuring letter in English to the region's international export partners in February and launched a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #BergamoisRunning. Stefano Scaglia, president of Confindustria Bergamo, delivered the central message that "research continues, we remain free." 

As a result of the above scenarios, there seems to be a trade-off between public health and economic development targets as two distinct means of achieving the greater good. However, a closer examination of the scientific reality reveals that there could be a synergy between public health and economic security. Contrary to the concept of a trade-off, we find that countries that saw the most extreme economic downturns – such as Peru, Spain, and the United Kingdom – are generally among the countries with the highest COVID-19 death rate. The opposite is also true: countries with a small economic influence, such as Taiwan, South Korea, and Lithuania, have managed to keep their mortality rates low. More scientific research could be required in this field, and policymakers are likely to face difficult trade-offs in the future, particularly when policies like lockout and stay-at-home orders put companies under more pressure. 

The more general argument is that politicians should partake in some kind of reflection to ensure that the policies they adopt follow the expectations of justifiable civility by considering all of the relevant democratic interests at stake, as well as various conceptions of them. And, of course, things aren't quite as they seem. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, for example, said in October when announcing new measures to combat a second wave of infections, "[w]e must act, deploying all the measures possible to prevent a new generalized lockdown." The nation cannot risk another loss that will put the whole economy in jeopardy.' Public officials will almost certainly have to change policies in response to emerging conditions, thus balancing public health and economic challenges. From the standpoint of justificatory civility, it's critical that they understand the trade-offs that come with prioritizing any target.

COVID-19 Hate and Discrimination in the Public Sphere

In the public domain more generally, the pandemic has intensified religiously uncivil acts of prejudice and hate. We also seen an increase in blatant anti-Chinese bigotry and racist cases in many parts of the world as a result of the virus's geographic roots. Stop AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Hate has gathered data on incidents in the United States to demonstrate the scope of the issue, who it impacts, and where these types of incidents occur. According to descriptive figures in a recent US survey, the most prevalent forms of abuse are verbal harassment in workplaces and on the street, which overwhelmingly affect women. 

The report's qualitative data contains illustrative instances. 'I'm a hospital professional,' one New York City plaintiff recalled. On the metro, I saw a man without a mask sitting across from me. He led me on the other side of the train compartment. On the subway, he spit and coughed while shouting racist slurs. There was no one who stood up for me.' ‘I was in line at the pharmacy when a lady hit me and poured Lysol all over me,' said another survivor in Georgia. “[y]ou're the infection,” she screamed. Return to your house. “You are not welcome here!” As I walked out of the house, I was in shock and sobbed. Nobody comes to my aid.' Some of the terminology used by political figures in the media to characterize COVID-19, such as "kung flu" and "China virus," can embolden those who might engage in more blatant acts of bigotry and racism in the public domain. 

Hate and prejudice cases also represent pre-existing social divisions based on race, gender, and other factors. When we met with Erin Wen Ai Chew, the Founder and National Convener of the Asian Australian Alliance, she said, "COVID-19 is not the source of anti-Asian rhetoric; it's just a sign of a larger crisis." The pandemic, on the other hand, has both escalated and normalized those events. 

This tense atmosphere has been fueled by leaders from various political parties across the political spectrum. Public views against people with Chinese ancestry and other Asian backgrounds have been exacerbated by media messaging and wider geopolitical conflicts. This social and political environment, as Erin Wen Ai Chew points out, "has normalized the notion that it's cool to wander around, that if you see an Asian person walking down the street, it's okay to name them "the Chinese flu," and it's okay to warn them not to eat dogs, bats, or some sort of wild species." As a result, the concept has become much more mainstream, especially during COVID. Individuals and organizations may have additional ways to promote agendas inspired by religious and ethnic animosity as a result of the pandemic. Some, for example, have used increased media ‘strain' to promote Islamophobic messaging. Key "trigger" incidents, such as the current COVID-19 crisis, will cause surges in both offline and online anti-Muslim sentiment. 

Many ethnic organizations fall under the same category. According to Tel Aviv University researchers, the pandemic "unleashed a unique worldwide surge of antisemitism." Conspiracy theories and disinformation fuel prejudices and may contribute to erroneous guilt attributions aimed against religious communities. According to a survey of the English population conducted by Oxford University, almost a quarter of respondents agree to some degree with the assertions that "Jews developed the virus to crash the economy for financial benefit" and "Muslims are spreading the virus as an assault on Western principles." 

The wider far-right has been particularly interested in using COVID-19 to further a variety of goals. Far-right parties have blended populist and anti-egalitarian rhetoric into their media commentary on the global pandemic in Australia, where the far-right mainly pursues a complex and changing anti-Islam, cultural, and ethnic hegemony platform. 

Anti-Chinese bigotry is common, as is anti-globalist propaganda directed at organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO). Public myths of self-sufficiency and alienation that surface as a result of the global pandemic can now resonate with more Australians, whose views on globalization are nearly doubled from percent in to percent in. Countries facing parallel changes in public opinion must be proactive in addressing and counteracting socially uncivil expression and actions associated with populist and anti-globalization views and policies. As a result of the COVID-19 virus's disruption of social and political life, ideologies promoting xenophobia, bigotry, and religious intolerance could find a more welcoming audience. 

Outside of the public health crisis, leaders may learn from tactics to tackle hate speech and behavior. A plan of action, for example, would enable officials and partner organizations to track and analyze data, recognize and resolve root causes, collaborate with a variety of civil society groups to create cross-sector coalitions, and integrate media and emerging technology into the development of program delivery tools. States must collect data in order to analyze and comprehend the problem. This campaigns will help raise concerns of bigotry and hate crimes while also offering a more solid factual basis for policy recommendations. Solutions will range from voluntary programs to more concrete policies aimed at better protecting victims and prosecuting offenders through the rule of law (e.g., updated anti-racism legislation). 

Governments should also be aware of some of the limitations imposed by structural responses. While a government may pass laws, make rules, and set procedures to combat bigotry and hatred in general, it might not be prepared to respond to micro-incidents. The Australian Human Rights Commission, for example, uses a conciliatory or reconciliation mechanism to handle those cases. Because of the limits of mobility and face-to-face contact, it is impossible that a suspect and survivor will consent to participate in this sort of process during normal times, and much less likely in a case like a pandemic.