OP-ED

 

 

ONE MORE CRISIS FOR A FINAL WAKE-UP CALL! THE VERY LAST ONE?

ALAIN COHEUR

FINANCIAL, ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, FOOD, MIGRATION, SECURITY, ENVIRONMENTAL ... CRISES ... AND FINALLY ... HEALTH CRISIS, NOT THE FIRST ONE BY FAR. THROUGH THE MARKETING OF FEAR, WE ARE BEING PUSHED FROM ONE CRISIS TO ANOTHER AND THE WORLD IS BEING PUSHED DANGEROUSLY DEEP INTO A CRISIS, DELIBERATELY PARALYSED BY AN UNWILLINGNESS TO FUNDAMENTALLY QUESTION THE ECONOMIC MODEL OF DEVELOPMENT WHICH FOR YEARS HAS GIVEN PRIORITY TO FINANCIAL INTERESTS BY PRIVATIZING ITS PUBLIC SERVICES AND WEAKENING ITS SOCIAL PROTECTION, HAS SEIZED WEALTH FOR THE BENEFIT OF SOME, HAS DISMANTLED THE STATE AND SACRIFICED THE WEAKEST ON THE ALTAR OF AUSTERITY SERVED AS THE RITORNELLO "THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE", HAS UNFOLDED DOGMAS AS SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECIES, AND HAS ATOMIZED THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN HUMAN BEINGS TO MAKE THEM COMPULSIVE CONSUMERS OF PLEASURE.

THE SACRIFICED OF TODAY WERE ALREADY THE SACRIFICED OF YESTERDAY: ALL THOSE ANONYMOUS, ALL THOSE PROFESSIONS THAT HAVE BECOME INSIGNIFICANT IN THE EYES OF THE POWERFUL, TRIVIALIZED, LITTLE VALUED OR EVEN DEVALUED ARE NOW IN THE SPOTLIGHT. PROFESSIONS THAT WE HAVE FORGOTTEN ARE ESSENTIAL TO SOCIAL COHESION; PROFESSIONS THAT HAVE FOR YEARS RESISTED THE BLOWS OF PROFITABILITY, PRODUCTIVITY AND ECONOMIC EFFICIENCY; DESPITE THE PROTESTS, DESPITE THE CALLS MADE IN THE FACE OF A STAGGERING, SIDEREAL POLITICAL VACUUM. THESE WORKERS ON THE FRONT LINE OF OUR HEALTH, AND OUR HEALTH SYSTEM, ARE THE NURSES, THE CARETAKERS, THE HOME HELPERS, THE GENERALISTS, THE EDUCATORS, THE PSYCHOLOGISTS, THE CHILDCARE WORKERS, THE SOCIAL WORKERS, ALL THE PROFESSIONALS WHO ACCOMPANY THE SICK, EXCLUDED OR SUFFERING, MARGINALIZED, DEPENDENT, HOMELESS, UNDOCUMENTED...

WE HAVE FORGOTTEN, WE HAVE NEGLECTED THE SENSE OF THE COMMON, THE IMPORTANCE OF THE COMMON GOODS, THOSE THAT UNITE US, THOSE THAT BRING US TOGETHER, THOSE THAT DEFINE US IN OUR HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS, IN OUR EXISTENCE. OUR SOCIETY IS DRIFTING FURTHER BECAUSE IT WAS ALREADY WEAKENED, DELIBERATELY SEGMENTED, DISORIENTED, SURROUNDED BY THE DEADLY SHADOWS OF NATIONALIST AND POPULIST REVIVALS.

THIS HEALTH CRISIS REVEALS ALL THE EXCESSES AND INEQUALITIES OF OUR SOCIETIES: FROM THE STATE AND QUALITY OF OUR HEALTH SYSTEMS TO ACCESS TO HEALTHY HOUSING, HIGHLIGHTING THE PRECARIOUSNESS OF FAMILIES, JOB INSECURITY, INDECENT WAGES UPWARDS FOR SOME AND DOWNWARDS FOR MOST PROFESSIONS, OFTEN IN HIGHLY FEMINISED SECTORS.

AND IT WILL HAVE TAKEN ONLY ONE VIRUS, FED BY THE AVIDITY AND GREED OF SOME, FOR ALL THIS TO BE REVEALED, AND FOR THE WHOLE OF OUR ECONOMY TO BE DESTROYED IN THE SAME MOVEMENT, AND FOR MANY CERTAINTIES TO BE SHAKEN.

FROM THEN ON, BOTH THE POLITICAL AND THE ECONOMIC WORLD WILL BEAR A HEAVY RESPONSIBILITY FOR IMAGINING THE WAY OUT. FOR THERE WILL ONLY BE TWO POSSIBLE OUTCOMES: EITHER WE CONSIDER THIS CRISIS TO BE ONE OF THE HAZARDS WE HAVE TO FACE ON AN AD HOC BASIS AND WE WILL ORGANISE SOCIETY TO RESPOND BETTER TO IT, OR WE RADICALLY CHANGE OUR PERSPECTIVE AND CHOOSE ANOTHER DEVELOPMENT MODEL. "THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE" POST-HEALTH CRISIS, A NEW DEAL, A NEW SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL PACT WHOSE PILLARS WOULD BE THE VALUES OF SOLIDARITY AND EQUALITY, INSPIRED AMONG OTHER THINGS BY THE SUCCESSES OF THE SOCIAL ECONOMY, PUT INTO PRACTICE BY STRONG GESTURES SUCH AS THE RELOCATION OF OUR PRODUCTION THROUGH SHORT SUPPLY CHAINS, LOCAL AND SECURE, THE CREATION OF JOBS THAT PROVIDE A DECENT INCOME FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US, AND REVITALIZED PUBLIC SERVICES, RECOGNIZED AS ESSENTIAL, CAPABLE OF CARRYING OUT THEIR MISSIONS PROPERLY, UNDER THE AUSPICES OF A SOCIAL AND REGULATORY STATE THAT IS FREE OF FINANCIAL MARKETS.

IF WE MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE, WE NOT ONLY HAVE A CHANCE TO EXPERIENCE THE "DER DES DER" OF CRISES, BUT ALSO TO CHANGE OUR RELATIONSHIP TO SOCIETY AND ITS ENVIRONMENT. IF WE DO NOT, WE WILL RELIVE THE WORST MOMENTS IN HUMAN HISTORY.

ALAIN COHEUR

CO-PRESIDENT SSE iNTERNATIONAL FORUM