Over the last few decades, we have been living in what some people call “no risk society”, where we want to live in a world where there are no risks, and think that we have been living in one. That false sense of control was metaphorically blown to smithereens by the terrorist attacks and further undermined by the pandemic, even if the growing climate emergency has still not been fully felt by the majority.
It has taken our societies’ eyes off the ball — shown by the lack of preparation for the pandemic, but also made us less resilient to shocks because we aren’t used to having to prepare for being one harvest away from famine, or one child birth away from death or one flu away from death, as our ancestors were.
Instead, many people are retreating into either deep pessimism about the future where 45% of people think their children will be poorer than them or conspiracy theories.
Except many of the innovations our ancestors created were to mitigate these impacts, be it creating granaries in case of bad harvests, improved health care and disease prevention.
Will we try and take refuge in gated communities, nationalism or instead work with our neighbours to build community resilience?
Global Values Map below was produced before the pandemic. How would it be different now?
You could argue that values which very strong like climate emergency, trust in medicine and aspiring to health would stay that way if not be reinforced, but would there be greater or less individualism or wealth redistribution as people have been scared of catching the virus off other people but also experienced the solidarity or even dependency on others too?
Will there be a greater data anxiety, need to regulate big tech and technophobia because of governments and companies trying to track our every move and breath or instead a technophilia, data sharing or even desire to get immortal through science as technology & science in general has shown through online delivery of essentials and potentially vaccine its staying power as helping us meet our needs?
Will people continue to brand worship, go instashopping and have faith in capitalism as being able to window shop online has become much more of a habit or will they be discerning consumers, where provenance matters and want to shop in the real world because they want to be more self sufficient and reconnect to their neighbourhoods?