An alternative vision for a post-Covid society
This paper presents a vision for a post-corona society that is more egalitarian, resilient and sustainable, and the conditions to bring it about.
Lodewijk Asscher, Leader of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA), explains how the global health crisis, which metastasised in an economic and social crisis, illustrates a crucial point: the era where the market was king, the individual the solution, and the state the problem is bankrupt, both technically and morally.
To avoid that in this crisis, we again sacrifice the most vulnerable and mortgage our future, he considers it is high time to rein in shareholder-capitalism, whilst favouring cooperation over competition when rebuilding after the crisis.
This approach requires collective action. Asscher recalls the importance of an inclusive welfare state and the need to align public crisis support with long-term goals. But beyond that, he envisages a public sector that takes a bigger role in the economy, in those areas where markets blatantly failed to produce equitable outcomes. This firstly concerns the development of affordable medicine but extends as well to the provision of sufficient housing, the availability of sustainable energy, and the access to information (data).
It is noted that such a programme is ambitious, but feasible if Europeans cooperate and organise solidarity not just within, but also beyond national borders. Notably on taxation, emergency support and green investment, he considers the EU can and should play an important and progressive role.