Hope in the Time of COVID-19

The virus seems well-turned to exploit the specific characteristic of the world we’ve created for ourselves - with our massive population tightly linked by air travel, exotic tourist excursions and just-in-time supply chains, and marked by brutal inequalities in health care and physical well-being.

Taken together, humanity is now among the largest bodies of genetically identical, multicellular biomass on Earth; all told, we weigh nearly a billion tonnes. Combined with our proximity in huge cities and our constant travel around the globe, we’ve now an enormous Petri dish brimming with nutrients for cultivating new diseases.

Dominos may soon start falling in major financial systems, especially in the heavily indebted Chinese economy, as the downturn caused by the pandemic drives up the proportion of non-performing loans.

But is there a silver lining?

Today’s emerging pandemic could help catalyze an urgently needed tipping event in humanity’s collective moral values, priorities and sense of self and community. It could remind us of our common fate on a small, crowded planet with dwindling resources and fraying natural systems.
-- Thomas Homer-Dixon