Chinese journalist Zou Yue has a commendably mature message.
“Every nation needs a new contract, signed between its politicians, businesses and the public.”
This is correct. We need a more mature approach to governance, not just to handle the Coronavirus, but also to tackle the climate crisis and the ongoing humanitarian crises of poverty, wars and global inequality generated by our current structures of politics and thought.
Ultimately our problem as a species and as individuals is not Corvid-19, Climate Change or any particular challenge, however vast, it is our ability or inability to respond to the challenges in a way that is coherent, conscious and compassionate. It is a problem that has to do with our thinking.
Albert Einstein said “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Krishnamurti said “If we can really understand the problem, the answer will come out of it, because the answer is not separate from the problem.”
The problem is never simply about what is presented to us it is also about our ability to deal with what is presented to us. Corvid-19 is a global crisis that illuminates the structures of governance in different countries, the ethos that lies beneath those structures and the consequent ability of those structures to cope with crises.
The Telegraph asks ‘Why does Germany have such a low coronavirus death rate?’
Germany has seen just 52 deaths from the virus so far despite recording 18,361 infections — more than anywhere except China, Italy, Iran and Spain.
That represents a fatality rate of just 0.3 per cent, compared to 7.9 per cent in Italy — raising hopes Germany might be doing something right that other countries can follow.
The disparity has even led to allegations of a German cover-up by the Italian far-Right. But experts have cautioned that Germany may simply be at an earlier stage of the pandemic, and that death rates here may soon catch up.
“Intensive care beds can mean the difference between life and death for those who become seriously ill with the virus, and dire reports from northern Italy have told of doctors being forced to choose which patients get them.
Germany has 28,000 ICU beds. By contrast, the UK has just 4,000. And 25,000 of Germany’s already have the ventilators seriously ill patients need.
At the outbreak of the crisis, Germany had 29.2 intensive care beds per 100,000 people. Italy had 12.5. The UK had just 6.6.
In part, that is because of the different way healthcare is funded in Germany. Public health insurance is compulsory and collected at source alongside income tax — but it is passed directly to insurance funds and never enters government coffers, effectively firewalling health funding.”The Telegraph
We have to ask why we are so much less well prepared than Germany, and apparently even Italy. We have to ask a number of questions about our government and the whole structure of governance.
Tony Benn proposed five questions to ask regarding the power of government. The central question is “In whose interests do you use it [power]”
In addition to issues of prudence there are issues of morality. An article in the Independent is headlined “What coronavirus revealed about national mindsets across the world — and how Cuba came out on top”
In a sign of true global solidarity, Cuba today allowed MS Braemer, a British cruise ship, to dock on its shores despite having at least five confirmed coronavirus cases on board and another 52 passengers displaying symptoms. The ship, with over 600 mainly British passengers, had no Cuban nationals on board but had requested help from both Cuba and the US.
Cuba acted without self-interest. The ship had been anchored in the Caribbean over the last five days as it frantically searched for a place to dock. Diplomats from the British Foreign Office had urged US officials to allow the ship to dock on American soil but were met with obstacles. Cuban officials instead accepted the request, stating that there must be “a shared effort to confront and stop the spread of the pandemic”. After all, these are still humans suffering, regardless of the passport they hold.
Cuba itself has only had five confirmed cases of Covid-19, and the ship docking could threaten to increase that number exponentially.The Independent
Why does the US, our ‘ally’, turn away a British Ship, while Cuba, a nation against which we follow the US in imposing economic sanctions aid that same ship?
Surely we need to question the values that inform our foreign policy, our relations with other nations, as well as our domestic policies?
“If we can really understand the problem, the answer will come out of it, because the answer is not separate from the problem.”Krishnamurti
It is not about taking a particular political position, it’s about looking at the problem with sufficient intelligence. The answer lies in our understanding of the problem and our understanding depends on the depth to which we permit ourselves to look.