Many countries in the world are struggling to return to the so-called normalcy by lifting curfew and lock downs allowing people to restart their lives. But,if the old “normal” is gone, are we just using old structures to try to address new issues? There are huge critiques on the so-called normalcy, and it is still functional. What would be the new realities in the post COVID-19 and are we getting back to the old or are there new dimensions evolving? “Saccam” talks with two independent social analysts in Switzerland and Sri Lanka.
Rev. Dr. Dölf Weder, former Secretary General of the European Alliance of YMCAs and the President of Evangelical-reformed Church of the Canton St. Gallen Switzerland.
” I do not expect too many fundamental changes. People normally return to the old normality relatively quickly. Probably some more awareness and action towards less global supply chains, more production closer to the markets, more IT, maybe a bit less business travel. More China-US tensions, Europe becoming independent from the US. Higher prices in air travel, maybe. But I don’t expect too fundamental changes in people’s behavior, and, thus, the climate, food, water, justice, equality etc. problems will remain.”
Maxwell Ranasinghe,B.Sc, Hon, Maat, Attorney at Law.Maxwell is a marketing professional with proven track record and 10 plus years of lecturing experience
” Although we need to adopt to the change taken place, most of the people will go back to pre-COVID-19 status. However, countries like Sri Lanka will be forced to curtail imports and look inwards rather than outward export-oriented economy. Government has to promote import substitution with regulating quality and price directions to meet the demand for goods that cannot be imported. We will lose almost the total income of about USD 5 billion expected from tourism and about 450,000 jobs related to tourism. Banks will have major issues in collecting loans, especially vehicle lease rentals. In addition, we will lose a big portion of the money sent by expat workers as their host countries will have economic issues that may lead to unemployment. Further, people who will become unemployed will start withdrawing their savings if any to survive. That’s would make a double blow to the banking system. In order to stay afloat, lot of companies will start cutting costs and as such there would be moves to reduce employees. Business community will propose that the existing labour laws should be changed to hire and fire as and when they want if businesses to operate profitably. The government will have to borrow more foreign loans to pay back the impending sovereign bonds and dollar loans that would be around 4 Billion US dollars within the next 12 months. We may have to change the norm of ” development” based on GDP and rethink about a new paradigm. However, it is very unlikely happen. Poor will become more prone to ill effects of the post COVID-19 economy.”