It is still early to propose some thoughtful summary of the hostile setting we have been experiencing in the COVID-19 pandemic. Every day, we are faced with new elements that challenge our beliefs, assumptions, and viewpoints on the incredible phenomenon affecting us. We are in the limbo of the conjugation between the past perfect and the future in the past.
Indeed, the vaccination itself is one of those elements of inflection in the context experienced. The true redemption for those who belong to at-risk groups; the thread of hope for so many affected by urban mobility restriction policies.
After all, the pandemic will not change the world completely after it has ended. There are no quantum leaps in nature nor in society; rather, there is a constant movement towards a dynamic balance of forces that always alters reality – pleasing us or challenging us. Major future events always cast their shadows on the present time.
In any case, let us look at some possible dimensions for the phenomenon:
1 Deep crises cause fissures
Yes. Deep crises widen the gap between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the marginalized, patriots and foreigners. The pandemic has tipped further the far-from-egalitarian relationships. Not only for the differences in access to healthcare, but also for the monetary resilience in times of scarcity.
2 Digital matrix
Decades ago, power revolved around intense capital assets. Nowadays, and increasingly so, the economic power surrounds digital platforms. Restaurants have gone belly up in the face of the exponential growth of delivery apps, well-known stores have succumbed before the supremacy of marketplaces, movie theaters and theaters alike have closed doors to the rise of streaming entertainment. The value axis has shifted from capital and work to bytes and pixels.
3 Social ineptness
Individual weaknesses have increased with social distancing. Children and adolescents have unlearned how to interact in schools, social media have become pandemonium, psychological disorders of all stripes have affected adults. Affective bonds have weakened in all spheres of social life; group identity has crumbled for the indifference to virtual rituals. Today’s joy requires more of an effort. We are more sickened.
4 The (lacking) moral of the story
Government authorities have failed dismally in articulating interests and mobilizing the social agents in support of an effective route in the face of the unfathomable. Neglectful and repugnant government leaders are still dazed before so much complexity, to which public policies have been ineffective or palliative. Even the business sector dominated by large economic groups has experienced its idiosyncrasies and existential conflicts: on the one hand, announcing humanitarian practices on behalf of the deprived; on the other, the accumulation of liquidity that has caused the massive bankruptcy of millions of small-sized companies and self-employed individuals.
5 Back to basics
The forced downtime has caused a temporal paradox: although time flies in the endless succession of virtual meetings, social networks and e-mails, it has also suspended the vitality of the daily life, the adventure of the unknown, the surprise at the happenstance. The sensation of house arrest has also brought to light basic elements of our existence: the quality of our family relationships, the comfort of our home, the elimination of the superfluous, the admiration for the sun and the moon, the need to walk, life in provincial community.
In the face of the interstice presenting itself with the awaited end of the pandemic, let us also see what else we will have around us after this unforgettable experience.
Daniel Augusto Motta is Managing Partner and CEO of BMI Blue Management Institute. Doctor in Economics from USP, Master’s in economics from FGV-EAESP and Bachelor’s in Economics from USP. He is Alumni OPM Harvard Business School. He also serves as Managing Partner of WhiteFox Corporate Venture Capital, based in San Francisco (USA) and as Senior Tupinambá Maverick at content tech Bossa.etc. He also serves as Strategic Planning Director of Unibes and the Deliberative Advisory Board of MASP He was a Founding member of Brazilian Finance Society. He was Professor of MBAs at Dom Cabral Foundation, Insper, FGV, ESPM, AND PUC-SP. He is author of several articles published by Valor Econômico, EXAME, VocêSA and Folha de São Paulo, and also has three articles published by Harvard Business Review Brasil. He is author of the best-sellers A Liderança Essencial and Anthesis.