Yesterday was an important day. A possible, even probable vaccine for Covid 19 delivered in an astonishingly fast time, and a vindication of the many positive aspects of private enterprise, and the power of science.
It also had its shadow side. The stocks that rocketed up in value were mostly those carbon hungry businesses – airlines, travel firms – whose activities we need to wean ourselves off if we are to stand any chance of mitigating their impact. The market rection looked uncomfortably like an addict relapsing.
We are seeing, and will no doubt continue to see the lag effects of the disruption we have experienced. A spike in unemployment and the disappearance of fragile businesses (some viable starts ups, but many who would disappear anyway and for whom government support has provided life suuport, but no cure). It’s painful and disruptive.
At the same time, we have a chance to create different jobs in new sectors that stand a chance of growth, and in doing that, we have a chance to make those jobs better. Less minimum wage cog and more involved and creative as we get to grips with new opportunities as against wringing the last drop of value out of old ones.
We have a responsibility in that. It will be incredibly easy to slip back into the compliance market, taking what we’re given. That’s what we’ve been brought up and largely trained to do. That does not mean it’s compulsory.
As we begin the slow process of social recovery, and are able to shake hands and even hug people, we really can” build back better” and we shouldn’t rely on either government or existing businesses to do that. For them, the way it was is much more commercially and tax convenient.
If we want to grow, and to do things that matter, it’s down to us to exercise choice. We have so many opportunities, and we need to keep those in sight.
Right now, we have a chance of different futures, and those differences will fade as we get back into whatever habits we choose. We can choose relapse and easy comfort, or we can choose change, hard work, uncertainty and growth.
What we choose now matters.