Plagues severely weakened the Roman empire, Black Death was the death knell of the feudal system and the beggining of the end of literally throwing your shit out of your window and into the street (seems disgusting until you remember that our pets now do the same!). The ‘Spanish’ Flu saw a big increase in public health care with Russia being the first country to put in place a centralised public healthcare system.
The new pandemic is a stark reminder of our species vulnerability to the ultimate power of nature and could potentially see many changes in our culture and society. Some long term and some short term. Some good and some bad.
- Many idealistic people are hoping for some kind of Age Of Aquarius being heralded in after all this is over (that’s if we get the vaccine). The battle lines were already drawn before the virus stepped into the fray. On one side many people were calling for a greener world and on the other it was the Trump cabul of middle aged men more concerned with power and wealth than their ‘subjects’. The signs of this golden age coming are not great – the government of China are as oppressive as ever and the Disunited States Of Trump are in total chaos with the gap increasing further between two ideologies threatening to bring the whole nation down. Despite this the women leaders are emerging the clear winners in the new world order – their empathy and clear thinking is making a real difference in the virus ridden planet and opposing the macho tantrums of their male counterparts. Post virus this battle will continue. There will be no sudden shift to smarter thinking as the human race battles with its soul.
- Washing hands will become de rigueur. Will new homes have a wash basin outside the front door? will we be washing hands before we enter every building whether it’s a home or an office? Some shops already clean your hands now before you enter – will this become another future? will men wash their hands after taking a piss?. Will cleanliness become a godliness? How far will this go? will shoes have to be removed or cleaned? clothes changed?
- Testing – will we be getting tested every time we enter a building?: that’s assuming that western governments very get round to providing enough testing facilities and if they can be proven to work. Will this potentially become a way of life in the new normal? Will GPS surveillance become the new normal? health tagging? virus snobbery – who has the best antibodies, will shaking hands be something from the past? will meeting a new partner be a very awkward affair with chat up lines including getting a whole immunity history?
- Travel will be very difficult. Once the viral genie has been put back in its bottle there will still be potential flare ups and second, third, forth or fifth waves of infections, travel is one of the key spreaders. In the post lockdown ‘living with the virus’ phase will travel be a hardship? will space suited security be part of the airport experience? The security checks for getting on and off any form of transport will be complex and that gives for trains as well as planes. Then add on potential several days quarantine once you get there. Zoom and Skype are the new business meeting and we have jumped ten years into tech future in ten days. The planet that had once shrunk due to travel is suddenly a long way away. Airlines are already talking about sitting in separate seats, will trains follow? will passengers be in PPE?
- Insular thinking. Trapped at home. Trapped in our virus communities will our thoughts turn inwards. Will the feast of strangers increase or will we suddenly become very spiritual!
- home grown – One one level we need International co-operation more than ever and we have two think in terms of being joined together – science and joined ups thinking demand this. On another level we have seen just how fragile the world economy is. Dodgy world leaders grabbing we what they can for themselves and a realignment of the planet politically with a resurgent Chinas pushing a broken viral USA for top spot. post Brexit UK has some tough wheeling and dealing to do to survive – trade deals with China suddenly don’t seem so lucrative and dealing with the Disunited States Of Trump unreliable.
- New economy. Will nations have to become far more self reliant? is this the end of flying in apples from half way round the world? will we have to tune into out environment and our own agriculture – less exotic but more practical? is this the era of the potato! An oil based economy seems even more ludicrous now – the wind power of of Ecotricity and their portfolio of Eco solutions is no longer fringe hippie but at the heart of a 21st century forward thinking British economy.
- Will the experts get taken seriously? or will wacky theories still confuse the debate? will there be proper funding for scientists so they are ready for the next pandemic?
- Face masks…whether proven to work or not face masks will become the must have item of the early twenties. There will be a whole plethora of shapes and styles from the trad cloth to the plastic visor. High fashion to frontline survival – everyone will be living behind a visor. They will come branded and they will come in all materials from plastic to cloth to graphene…a masked future.
- Frontline workers and NHS staff will get paid properly. No politician will dare to laugh and cheer like they did in 2017 as they ‘successfully’ blocked a desperately-needed pay rise for nurses, along with firefighters – just a couple of weeks after the Grenfell Tower blaze. Who we value in society must change. The flip side of this is what role do celebrities have in this brave new world? It’s a question that has been asked for a long time but exactly who do the Kardashians do? who are they? what purpose do they have?