“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” works for society as well as individuals. Already it’s obvious that as the dust settles, and it will, there will be some lingering changes across society, politics and the economy, and some of them are good. I’ll try to keep my list waffle-light.
We’ll certainly come out of this with a greater appreciation of the value of life, taking it less for granted, more aware of our mortality, and make sure to value every day and make the most of the time we have.
We’ll value kindness more, the little things, the small gestures, things like making your neighbour know you’re there and willing to help if they need it, that you’ll try to pick up something they need along with your own shop, or if they run out of toilet roll, you’ll spare a few. Closer relationships with neighbours and more support for the elderly and vulnerable will be a big improvement for many parts of the UK, especially the South, where people are nor renowned for being close to their neighbours. Some friendships will be made through the adversity that will last.
We’ll all have a bit more self-reliance too, not expecting that everything will always work just fine, but that things might go wrong and we might have to rely on ourselves for a while.
We already have more appreciation of our loved ones, especially the elderly. Maybe we already say “I love you” a little more often, and that might last too. But we might also show a little more self-love, taking more care of ourselves, doing more exercise, eating better. Nothing focuses the mind on exercise better than knowing you won’t be prioritized for treatment if you are too frail.
While we’re on the theme of appreciation, we’ll all soon be desperate to get outside, enjoy the parks, countryside, and places we can’t go right now. Some of those places are closed and will need every bit of support once the doors open again, and I expect they will enjoy more traffic and custom than ever.
There is also a little re-levelling of attitudes in our class system. We’re being forced to realise which people are really essential in running our society and also that some really are just decoration.
Some benefits are political. Everyone right now appreciates the massive efforts of every health care worker looking after victims, but once it’s over, it is important that the NHS as a whole is reformed to make sure it is much better able to cope the next time, and sadly there will be a next time. There will be much greater willingness to reform the NHS and make sure it is fit for purpose, not badly managed, inefficient and poorly focused as it has been.
We’ll also have a better and long lived understanding of the dangers from globalisation, how easy travel with poor checks contributed to the rapid spread, and more willing to bolt the stable door before all the horses have gone next time.
Closer to home, with everyone familiar with home working, many will stay at home more often, so there will be a bit less commuting, with less congestion, less pollution, and lower CO2.
The markets will have had a thorough shaking, and a lot of weaker players will be bought or replaced by stronger ones, so whatever economy emerges from all this will surely be more robust, with better logistics, better managed, with support systems improved.
There has already been a marked shift in attitudes to celebrities and self-sanctifying SJWs, who are being put in their place very quickly as people get bored with their ‘me, me, me’ attitudes.
So, sure it’s bad, but it isn’t all bad, and some good things are already starting to show through.