Every country needs to start planning now for our post-coronavirus recovery, just as a previous generation took on the huge task of post-war reconstruction.
The Governments all over the world have done a lot on the economic side to “build a bridge” for the businesses and workers.
In some countries already have hundreds of thousands of people out of work and we will have hundreds of thousands of more jobs gone in the weeks and months to come.
Many businesses will simply not re-open – that’s the reality of what we are facing. We need to have a nation-wide recovery and building program ready to roll out.
So even though there are many immediate and daunting problems to deal with today, tomorrow and next week, the Governments need to be getting post-pandemic recovery planning underway.
It’s worth remembering that while World War II ended in August 1945, some Government’s post-war planning began more than three years earlier.
We are still in the early stages of a great health battle – nothing less than the medical equivalent of a major war. However, we have to be planning for the other side of the coronavirus crisis now.
It is highly likely we will have at least an additional million people out of work, and perhaps many more than that: no one is quite sure right now. But it’s pretty much guaranteed that not all the businesses that had employed those people will return.
We need to have a huge recovery and nation-building plan ready to roll out.
That plan will need to lay out how we return people into useful employment until many small to medium businesses get back on their feet, and new businesses emerge.
That plan will need to be mindful of the lessons learned from the coronavirus crisis: the risks of deep global interconnectedness, and the consequent need to drop our free market obsessions in place of policies that ensure greater national self-reliance moving forward.
In the mindset of many politicians and bureaucrats, that work could very easily go to China-based strictly on price consideration – that cannot even be a choice now.
Similar to what we did in the past, in 2020 we need to start working to establish something like a Department of Post-Pandemic Planning and Reconstruction.
We have a huge nation-building task ahead of us, and we can’t start work on that too soon if we are to manage the transition from this health crisis to a prosperous future.
By Rex Patrick, edited by Vietnam Insider’s staff