Is Solidarity COVID-19’s Final Sufferer?

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We stay in an age of accelerated individualization — or so sociologists and social philosophers like Ulrich Beck have advised us for many years. We’ve accepted it, even when we didn’t essentially prefer it. The residents of the previous Soviet empire have been among the many first to take be aware. In East Germany, in Czechoslovakia, in Hungary they may have hated the system. After its collapse, nevertheless, they began to deplore the misplaced sense of group and mutual solidarity that had existed earlier than the autumn of the Berlin Wall.

In Germany, the ensuing temper has a reputation — Ostalgie, a nostalgic feeling for a time when neighbors nonetheless talked to one another and, maybe, even helped one another. Nostalgia, in fact, means trying again on the previous with rose-tinted glasses. And maybe the craving for the previous sense of group is simply that — a craving for one thing that by no means existed.

Solidarity Group

Solidarity is straightforward when the stakes are low.
Within the postwar interval, most superior liberal democracies developed comparatively
complete welfare states. This was comparatively painless, given full
employment and restricted life expectancy. Issues modified with declining development
charges, escalating fiscal deficits, mass unemployment, migration pressures and
falling beginning charges. The end result was what political scientists prefer to name welfare
retrenchment, or the reducing again on public welfare expenditures.

Welfare retrenchment mirrored no less than two realities: governments’ severely restricted house to maneuver given the pressures exercised by worldwide monetary markets, and governments’ lack of resolve to reintroduce progressive tax coverage schemes that characterised the postwar interval.

Solidarity is of the best order in instances of disaster. The present coronavirus pandemic is such a disaster. But the response on all ranges has been disastrous. Take the European Union: The German authorities continues to state that the EU is a Solidargemeinschaft — a solidarity group — the place the economically stronger assist the economically weaker. To make certain, the coronavirus pandemic just isn’t primarily an financial query. But it’s a problem for that Solidargemeinschaft that the German authorities extols.

The truth is a sobering. Germany, which is the primary producer of face masks and protecting gear in Europe, has launched all types of measures to stop firms from exporting this stuff to neighboring nations like Austria, main Austrian well being authorities to check with the Germans as trendy “robber barons.” The identical prices have been made by Swiss authorities. However then, Switzerland just isn’t a part of the European Union. Worse nonetheless, Italy, which is a part of the European Union, has largely been left within the rain, with disastrous penalties.

Or take the case of NATO. The alliance is meant to be a group based mostly on shared values. This week, German media revealed that the Trump administration tried to purchase a small German biotech firm, CureVac, that’s presupposed to have developed a promising anti-coronavirus vaccine, with the alleged proviso that “any inoculation can be out there first, and maybe solely, in the US.” Once more, this is likely to be true or it’d be false. But with the Trump administration, something is feasible, given the president’s determined makes an attempt to shore up his more and more dim prospects for reelection.  

Veneer of Civilization

But it’s too simple responsible politicians. The previous few days have obviously proven that the breakdown of solidarity or, higher, human decency, has reached all the way down to the person degree. The coronavirus pandemic has as soon as once more proven that the veneer of civilization could be very skinny and {that a} disaster tends to deliver out the worst in all of us. The by now notorious case of the person from Tennessee who purchased up 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer to make a killing on Amazon is simply the tip of the iceberg.

His equal is a younger German “entrepreneur
who appears to have made a small fortune with protecting masks. There isn’t a
query — distress attracts greed. Simply have a look at all of the web scams searching for
to take advantage of coronavirus fears.

In fact, web scammers have been round for ages. It ought to come as no shock if they’re making an attempt to money in on this most up-to-date disaster. However they’re hardly the issue lately. The actual drawback is all these odd grocery store prospects who fake the survival of the human race relies on the quantity of bathroom paper at their disposition. It’s relatively ironic that on this disaster, bathroom paper has change into the last word image of civilization. These older amongst us would possibly keep in mind a scene from “Seinfeld” the place Elaine is desperately asking for some bathroom paper solely to be advised by her stall neighbor that she “can’t spare a sq..”

The coronavirus pandemic will ultimately be contained. Life will return to regular: You’ll go to a grocery store and the cabinets shall be full of bathroom paper. The coronavirus scare of 2020 shall be nothing greater than an disagreeable reminiscence. And but, the pandemic is prone to go away traces in our collective reminiscence of incompetence within the face of risk, of particular person selfishness, of a profound sense of powerlessness. We’ve been challenged, and we’ve been discovered wanting.

The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially replicate Truthful Observer’s editorial coverage.

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