Subscribe to our weekly International update on Health Policies
The weekly IHP newsletter offers a digest of key global health (policy, governance, research) reads.
Select a newsletter issue or browse the topics in the current issue.
Last week I stumbled upon a few nice articles in Courrier International on some of the intergenerational aspects of the global Covid-19 pandemic. I agree with them that we will certainly need a new social contract between generations ( amongst many other new social contracts needed post-Covid, within and between countries).
Courrier International labeled the generation born between 1996 & 2015, generation ‘Z’, the “Zoomers”. Suddenly we’re all “Zoomers”, though, it appears.
All of a sudden, Larry Summers starts to write op-eds on “How to Fix Globalization—for Detroit, Not Davos “ (that would be a first), explaining with the same aplomb “the new era” as he did with the decades before (bet he saw Covid-19 coming too, from miles away). The Economist wants to “seize the moment”, capitalizing on the Covid-19 pandemic to “flatten the climate curve”. At least two decades too late. And the WEF website now features blogs like “Here’s why the world’s recovery from COVID-19 could be doughnut shaped”. Wonder why Klaus Schwab was clapping overenthusiastically then when the Donald was around earlier this year. As the world is witnessing the neoliberal havoc of the past decades, and increasing planetary destruction, this belated ‘change of heart’ by some powerful media and Davos men feels cheap. Wish they had been ‘woke’ decades ago.
Anyway, chances are the real ‘Zoomer generation’ sees through this (well, at least part of them). And fortunately, other forces are more credible, when it comes to the “healthy and green recovery” we desperately need, see for example this Letter (signed by millions of health professionals) to G20 leaders from earlier this week. Or as Larry Elliot put it in the Guardian, “If not now, when?”
Meanwhile, although there’s still only Bundesliga football on tv (duh), there’s surely a wealth of high-level webinars these days, for every ideological taste one can think of. (The same is true for blogs, by the way, some global health people seem to have turned into ‘superspreaders’ of Covid19 blogs almost overnight 😊.) Earlier this week, when listening to a (Karolinska) webinar on decolonializing global health, I realized that at last, ‘global health’ has gotten rid of some of its “colonial” feel. Now that Covid-19 has hit Western Europe and the US badly, the term ‘global health’ will never again just refer to ‘health in those far-away places’. It’s a pity we needed a tragedy to realize this.
As the epicenter is now shifting to the Americas, it’s becoming ever more clear that Covid-19 ruthlessly exploits parts of human nature, not unlike other viruses (including the capitalist virus, although that one tends to exploit different traits). Already you can feel in many countries that “Covid-fatigued” people are getting tired of ‘social distancing’, not being able to hug each other or hang out with friends and family like before. The blatant “herd impunity” of some members of the political elite doesn’t really help.
Finally, we already want to flag the next important global health event on the agenda, the (virtual) GAVI replenishment (4 June). Personally, I hope not to see too many ‘Thank you, Bill, for your generous support’ tweets flying around in the virtual UK air next week 😊. GAVI is an important Global Public Good, no doubt about it, and I sure hope the 7.4 billion will be reached, but it’s really time to finance these GPGs in another way than via replenishment rounds. Replenishments are relics of the MDG era. More systematic GPG financing should be part of a new “global” social contract/Compact – one for the Global “New Normal”. I’m afraid the brand new WHO Foundation doesn’t exactly fit the bill. Quoting Thomas Schwarz (MMI): “hmmm…”.
We need progressive global taxation ànd also strong taxation of global public bads. Urgently. Given the current global political environment, ‘coalitions of the willing’ will have to take the lead. Let’s call them ‘Zoomer coalitions’!
Enjoy your reading.