By the Diversity Europe Group

Alain Coheur

Financial, economic, social, food, migration, security and environmental crises ... and finally ... the health crisis.

Through the marketing of fear, we are being pushed from one crisis to another and the world is being deliberately paralysed by an unwillingness to fundamentally question the economic development model that for years has given priority to financial interests by privatising public services and weakening social protection.

It has seized wealth for the benefit of some, dismantled the State and sacrificed the weakest on the altar of austerity with the refrain "there is no alternative". Our economic system has led to self-fulfilling prophecies and fragmented relationships between human beings to make them compulsive consumers of pleasure.

The ones who are being sacrificed now were also sacrificed before: all those professions that have become insignificant in the eyes of the powerful, that have been trivialised, little valued or even devalued are now in the spotlight. Professions that we have forgotten are essential to social cohesion; professions that for years have resisted the blows of profitability, productivity and economic efficiency, despite the protests, despite the calls made in the face of a staggering political vacuum.

The workers on the front line of our health systems include nurses, care workers, home helpers, GPs, educators, psychologists, childcare workers, social workers, and all those who help people that are sick, excluded or suffering, marginalised, dependent, homeless, undocumented, and so on. This health crisis reveals all the excesses and inequalities of our societies.

We have forgotten the meaning of the common good and neglected the importance of common values that unite us, bring us together, and define us in our human relationships and our very existence. Our society is drifting further from these values because it was already weakened, deliberately segmented, disoriented and surrounded by the deadly shadows of nationalist and populist revivals.

From now on, both the political and the economic worlds will bear the heavy burden of determining 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 so we help society to better respond to such events, or we change our perspective to "there is an alternative" once the health crisis is over.

This could be done by implementing a new deal, a new social and environmental pact based on the values of solidarity and equality, inspired among other things by the successes of the social economy, which should be put into practice by taking decisive action such as relocating our production by favouring short, local and secure supply chains, as well as creating jobs that provide a decent income for each and every one of us. 

We need public services to be revitalised, recognised as essential and able to carry out their tasks properly, under the auspices of a social and regulatory State that is not bound to financial markets.

If we make the right choice, we not only have a chance to experience the "crisis to end all crises", but also to change our relationship with society and its environment.