​COVID-19 and the Rhetoric of Social Overhaul

Considering the pandemic as social critique gives us clues for how not to think about the overhauling of social systems.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many of our systemic vulnerabilities to the surface. Healthcare, admi­nistrative efficiency, and supply chain management have all been found wanting in the face of the destruction unleashed by this disease. In response, many have asked how our world should emerge at the end of this dark tunnel. How should we redesign our healthcare, change the capita­list economy, and build systems that are sustainable and ­resilient?

Michael Sandel, the celebrated justice theorist, has talked about designing a more equitable system that rewards the underdogs of the economy—the nurses, delivery executives, police officers, and doctors who are saving us—rather than continue to disproportionately compensate investment bankers and corporates. Many have said that we missed an opportunity to make the world a better place after the 2008 economic meltdown, but here is a second chance; squandering this one too is going to be costly and criminal. For convenience, let’s call people with such advice, the system-haulers. But, alas, they have misunderstood the very nature of the crisis.

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Updated On : 2nd Jun, 2020

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