The Corona crisis is a great opportunity for a permanent rethink


People are still in the middle of the fight against coronavirus infection. No one knows how long it will take or if it can be won. But no one knows what will remain of the current slowdown. Experts are hoping for a permanent rethink.

The health and economic consequences of the corona pandemic are still not fully understood. Nevertheless, experts are thinking about what the virus wave could do for everyday life in the long term.

One assumption: solidarity is more in demand than ego-thinking. The researchers’ assessment of possible crisis effects in everyday life is divided into two parts – depending on the time horizon.

“It is already clear that the 2020 travel season will suffer losses and that the annual holidays of a large proportion of German citizens will probably not take place as planned,” says Ulrich Reinhardt, head of the Hamburg Foundation for Future Studies. Among other things, the experts there make tourism analyses.

However, after the Covid 19 wave has abated, the travel industry as a whole will recover again: “We know from the past that neither the euro nor the financial crisis, neither epidemics such as SARS nor natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes or terrorist attacks have permanently prevented German citizens from packing their bags and travelling.

All in all, Institute Director Reinhardt expects that the longer-term trend towards more deceleration in everyday life will gain in strength: “Once this crisis is over, we will perhaps appreciate even more to spend a warm summer’s day with friends in the park or to end the evening in a restaurant instead of jumping from highlight to highlight and trying not to miss anything,” he told the dpa.

Tristan Horx of the Frankfurter Zukunftsinstitut has a similar view: “Crises act as accelerators of developments,” he told dpa. “Even if it sounds unusual, it is precisely this crisis that gives more momentum to deceleration.”

Solidarity and trust
Futurologist Tristan Horx expects that people’s experiences during the corona pandemic can strengthen the value of solidarity. And that the sense of community will gain in importance.

He also observes a change in trend: “Recently, parts of society have presented politics and science as untrustworthy. Now people sit spellbound in front of screens and radios, they want scientists to tell them as much as possible about the virus. And they hope that politicians will steer citizens well through the crisis.” Trust as a value becomes more important that way.

Ulrich Reinhardt of the BAT Foundation for Future Studies has a similar assumption: “As difficult and dramatic as crises are, life goes on beyond them,” he said. “It is important to learn from crises and draw appropriate conclusions. And especially in times that are marked by perceived permanent crises, upheavals and changes, all Germans, regardless of age, gender or place of residence, agree: “We must stick together more”. (hau/dpa)


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Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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