I wonder as many other people, how the world would be re-configured after this pandemic and its socioeconomic effects. Crises are opportunities as we have heard since ancient times. Opportunities mean many alternatives, some better than others. I am guessing that liberals are trying to keep the hope high, as optimism is a key feature of liberalism. I also prefer to be optimistic and dream with a chance to transition towards a more inclusive development that provides equal opportunities. 

As an economist, I cannot avoid acknowledging an increase in socioeconomic inequality, at least in the short term. This would go by the hand of poverty upsurge. What measures could be applied to tackle these pandemic effects? As we have seen around the world, monetary policy, fiscal packages, employment and payments protection, private initiatives, and temporary measures such as direct transfers to persons who have lost the means to generate income (temporal UBI for example). We have also seen an intergenerational behaviour that makes me think these measures are insufficient at least in the long term if we want to be better prepared in the eventual case of a future global threat.

Now, what about the medical inputs required all around the world for this pandemic? What about the electro-mechanical ventilators market? It suddenly became a sort of pirate bid. “In war all is fair” means that any strategy is allowed in wartime. Do we have rules for pandemic time? I think any person can relate to the situation of having to get certain medical inputs required by her loved ones to survive, but in doing so that person needs to skip certain rules. I would at least think about it. Then, we do not only need rules for situations like this, but we also need to enforce them. Can we evolve to be up to the rules or do we need military or machine enforcement? 

Situations like this would force us to re-think production allocation and its costs. In doing so, we cannot forget to also rethink and account for the social value of the new production allocation. We are also pushed to rethink the value of labour. Probably, many people around the world have questioned these weeks the income received by those in charge of disinfection and sanitation of the places essential for the daily work in conditions that are consistent with public healthcare, and delivery workers of basic supplies, to mention a few. Would it be useful to review the relative value assigned to different types of labor and its evolution in the last half century? Wage gaps used to be smaller in earlier decades. These gaps are explained very well in socioeconomic terms, but many times the assumptions and details receive small attention. One of these details is the social value assigned to different activities.  How much is a fair price for an hour of a low-skilled but indispensable worker? Fair price should be at least above the costs of minimum needs. Above, means that there would be room for savings depending on the individual preferences and priorities. 

Can we demand from our governments more resources and better spending if as individuals we prefer to spend all our budget on holidays, but as soon as an external shock hits, our budget weakness becomes evident? Can we demand better prioritization if we do not practice it? 

To surpass the crisis requires to identify the opportunities. I think we need to upgrade how we value adaptability features at all levels, organizational, firms, and individuals. This is an opportunity to re-think our dynamics. Hard times force innovation and experimenting. We are seeing the fastest race for vaccines, hundreds of labs and academic institutions are competing for producing one. Others are studying and experimenting to understand humans’ reactions and conditions that made them more capable of facing certain risks, and this also includes genetics. The impact in the supply chains is also to be seen. This will include new products, processes, learning, and their derivatives that we are going to advance in this period at both physical and digital levels, and will depend on the application of digitization, transparency and visibility principles. So it is important to use this time to not only think and question our systems but to imagine and dream better ones.