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Long Reads

The Pandemic Opportunity

With so much of “normal” social and economic life put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic, there is no better time to consider new approaches to development. Until we have achieved environmental, social, and economic sustainability, we as a species will be racing against the clock.

DHAKA – The pandemic has thrown a wrench into the global economic machine, curtailing growth in many parts of the world. Governments and businesses are now directing all of their energy toward restoring the old normal and the pre-pandemic growth rate. And yet, our policy mantra really should be the opposite: “No going back.”

After all, in the pre-pandemic world, we were hurtling toward the very end of human existence on this planet, owing to climate change, the concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands, and the development of artificial intelligence (AI) applications that will render more and more of the remaining hands redundant.

Scientists have long been warning us that runaway global warming will sharply limit our time on this planet. The countdown has already begun. Humanity has made itself an endangered species. It would be suicidal to return to the pre-pandemic world. Why should we get back on a track that will lead us off a cliff?

25 years of the World's Opinion Page

Project Syndicate celebrates its 25th anniversary with PS 25, a collection of our hardest-hitting commentaries so far.

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