As we start returning to a new normal, we need to think about our economic recovery. Preexisting inequalities became strikingly apparent for the past months. We saw enormous gaps in many practices, policies and laws that benefited some people at the expense of others. Whole industries have plummeted and are completely shut down, whilst other are seeing an increasing demand.
As we emerge from this long battle for our health and well-being, it is clear that the economy will face an even longer and lasting crisis. The questions is: “how did we get here?” and “what needs to change to create a fair society and economy as a whole?”
But history tells us it can be done. Government investment rebuilt economies after the Second World War. Locally, economic diversification and industrialisation came to the forefront. We have a great opportunity to address the gaps and inequities we have seen throughout this global pandemic.
Raise our level of disaster preparedness to face eventualities especially pandemic diseases, be alert to their outbreak any wherein the world, use Big Data, and maintain an up-to-date website on diseases especially pandemic diseases for public information and awareness on a sustained basis.
Build on the strengths of our public healthcare system which has shown tremendous robustness and resilience in this crisis, overcome the gaps, introduce an improved and well-incentivised employment system for medical and support staff, have a ready contingency stockpile of medical supplies including appliances.
Confined to their homes, many employees face the stark reality of being thrown out of job and losing their income while many individuals and families are forced to dig deeper into their savings. It's not just an economic and financial issue. It is also a critical social issue that,if mishandled, can result in increased child labor or domestic violence. It’s important to avoid job layoffs turning into long-term unemployment and a fall in the labor participation rate.
The digital economy refers to a broad range of economic activities that use digitized information and knowledge as key factors of production. The internet, cloud computing, big data, fintech, and other new digital technologies are used to collect, store, analyze, and share information digitally and transform social interactions. The digitization of the economy creates benefits and efficiencies as digital technologies drive innovation and fuel job opportunities and economic growth. There has been efforts to spur the digital economy here, however shortages in human capital and lack of funding has set us back.
If this pandemic has shown us anything it’s that we need to act differently. True economic recovery cannot mean that we go back to our old ways – an economy with a widening income and gender gaps, ever-increasing rates of poverty and homelessness, increasing violence and inequality, and poorly-funded and inadequate public and community services. We can rebuild our economy by building a healthier, safer and more sustainable world.