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The COVID-19 Solidarity Test

Summary:
If the COVID-19 crisis has taught us one thing, it is that the relentless focus on hyper-efficiency and short-term gains of recent decades has given rise to a highly fragile global system. The time has come to build a more resilient world order, based on economic, generational, and international solidarity. WASHINGTON, DC – The COVID-19 crisis represents an unprecedented test of human solidarity. Will the wealthy – or, indeed, all those with stable incomes or savings cushions – embrace measures to support the poor and economically insecure? Will the young, among whom the mortality rate is lower, make sacrifices to protect the old? And will people in rich countries accept resource transfers to poor countries?

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If the COVID-19 crisis has taught us one thing, it is that the relentless focus on hyper-efficiency and short-term gains of recent decades has given rise to a highly fragile global system. The time has come to build a more resilient world order, based on economic, generational, and international solidarity.

WASHINGTON, DC – The COVID-19 crisis represents an unprecedented test of human solidarity. Will the wealthy – or, indeed, all those with stable incomes or savings cushions – embrace measures to support the poor and economically insecure? Will the young, among whom the mortality rate is lower, make sacrifices to protect the old? And will people in rich countries accept resource transfers to poor countries?

Only if the answer to all three questions is yes will the world be able to minimize the fallout of the pandemic that has killed nearly 38,000 people and crippled the global economy. And yet that outcome is nowhere near guaranteed.

Kemal Derviş
Kemal Derviş, former Minister of Economic Affairs of Turkey and former Administrator for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), is a vice president of the Brookings Institution.

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