The first lesson is the importance of being able to count on strong public services to ensure the well-being and safety of our population. Proponents of the private sector have remained silent during this crisis. A society that abandons the public sector in favour of the private sector will sooner or later collapse.
The second lesson is to never underestimate the value of thousands of workers who risk their own health to provide essential services to our society.
We must acknowledge the importance of the work accomplished every day by workers in health and social services, childcare workers, community workers, grocery store and pharmacy staff, and all other workers whose work is too often undervalued.
Overnight, grocery stores increased employee wages for fear of losing them. Suddenly, raising their wages to $15 an hour is no longer a problem. We owe a huge debt to these unsung heroes and need to continue providing them with decent working wages and working conditions.
We also can’t ignore the work and efforts of teachers, support staff, and professional staff in the school system and higher education. Despite the uncertainty created by the current crisis, they adjusted quickly in order to continue to support thousands of students.
The third lesson is that people matter more than the economy. Our governments are aware of this and are daring to sacrifice the economy to save human lives. Hopefully this will inspire them to take up the challenge of the environmental crisis.
The fourth lesson learned from this crisis is the need to review our production and consumption patterns. We have to bring the production of essential goods back here so that we no longer depend on others. We saw the outcome of this with overbidding on the purchase of protective masks. Furthermore, reviving our economy requires policies that encourage local purchasing.
Let us hope that, through this crisis, our governments will have learned that the future demands change.