It starts like this

Publish date 19-11-2020

by Daniele Rocchetti

It will take a long time to rework everything that has happened in recent months.
The speed and brutality of so many events need to be settled and filmed with patience. The death of many community figures, the violence with which they were torn, the loneliness of the end, require long and deep mending.
We have all been brought back to the fundamental experience of our fragility, of precariousness. We have seen that our life - so well organized and functioning - froze everywhere for a virus microbe within a couple of weeks. Unthinkable.
Who could have guessed it? In the society of technocratic certainty, we suddenly discovered that a certain type of story we have been making up to now no longer holds up. An order and a system has been subverted which, by means of technology and science, we thought was omnipotent.
We discovered vulnerability and really came to terms with death, a taboo subject of our time.
Mauro Magatti has repeatedly spoken of a "risk society" and recalled the lesson of Ulrich Beck, a German sociologist who died in 2015. Beck's thesis can be summarized as follows: modern society has not fallen ill for its defeats, but for his successes. International terrorism is the consequence of the victory of the modern, the climatic catastrophe of the success of industrialization, the mass unemployment of productivity gains and the aging of society threaten social security systems because medicine has extended human lives. Advanced society generates risks and, as it grows, multiplies them.

We therefore need "new paradigms" that lead us to accept the complexity of the world. It is necessary to recognize that the development model conceived solely as growth can and must be questioned. We knew this even before: the academic community has long recognized the impossibility of continuing with this model of development, either because of its drastic consequences on (irreversible) climate change, or because of the overcoming of the total ecological footprint of the planet, or because of the increase in the range of social injustice.

To all this, now we add the consequence of this crisis. We have been silent witnesses to an emergency that has questioned people's lives and questions the life of communities and territories, their future.
The social and economic scenarios after - when the freeze on layoffs and the support for layoffs will end - are worrying and affect the whole world. It is the first time since the end of the Second War that the world community has faced such a dramatic crisis.
The "black swan" of the coronavirus has turned governments, peoples and the real economy, factories, shops upside down.
This time the crisis was not induced by stock market speculators, but by an epidemic.
It will not be easy to leave.
But it will be necessary. Therefore, it is necessary to imagine "a new beginning". Because, as Pope Francis said in his homily during the first mass celebrated with the participation of the people after the restrictive measures that prevented community celebrations, "worse than this crisis there is only the drama of wasting it".
Pope Francis offers, once again, the right way to look at things.
The Pope says that we are given - despite the burden of pain and death behind us and the great uncertainty of the near future - the commitment not to close what has happened too quickly and that it is urgent to question the logic of we have set up our personal and community life. To do this, we need thought, we need the need to rethink the paths traveled so far, to explore possible new ones. A new beginning calls for resetting the course, sailing "in the open sea".

We need an economic model different from the current one that has destroyed the planet and increased inequalities because it is not ethical and sustainable. We need to "change the paradigm" by respecting the environment but also by giving social responses. Happy degrowth is not the right answer but sustainable development is. For everyone. Not just for someone. "The environment without social justice is only gardening", so it was written on a sign displayed by one of the many young people who took to the streets with Friday for future.

Daniele Rocchetti
NP October 2020

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