Every crisis is an opportunity - people like to say it flat when things are not going well again. Given the health consequences, economic upheavals and social costs of the pandemic, there is not much of an opportunity at the moment. The resilience of health and social systems is just as much to the limit as that of companies. This is the case worldwide - albeit in different forms. Because while in industrialized countries the costs of the pandemic are mostly offset against government debt in thousands of euros, the price for more than a hundred million people in emerging and developing countries is a relapse into extreme poverty.
Even if in the next few years we will mainly be busy cleaning up the global consequences of the corona crisis, even beyond the malicious dialectic of Chinese proverbs, every disruptive development - as we are experiencing it - opens up space for visions and opportunities. The spectrum is broad and ranges from the dystopian desire to virtually overcome capitalism and thus make the crisis permanent, to the breakthrough of the digital, the transformation to a green economy and decisive steps towards global sustainable development. And unlike the abolition of the market economy, failure on the latter issues is at least not inherent. This does not mean that the crisis alone, given its sheer size, is the ideal catalyst for these concerns. Because the visions are not new: climate protection has been on the agenda for a good 20 years, global sustainable development was last boosted in 2015 with the goals of the same name, and even in Austria a ministry has been leading digitization in the name for a few years now. Only: Until now, people have been busy formulating strategies and providing vague goals with possible future appointments. All of this had only limited practical relevance - there was a lack of financing and translation into everyday life and the day-to-day business of companies.
A global crisis in particular may contribute to change. For states and the international community have launched rescue packages and economic stimulus packages to an unprecedented extent. And announced in many cases to finally breathe life into said strategies. In addition to the distribution of cash and vouchers, even Austria's politicians have announced green billions in investments and - unlike before in times of tight budgets - increased development aid. However, money alone will not be enough to actually take advantage of the associated opportunities and prevent crises. To do this, the issues must arrive in practical reality - and even the greatest crisis cannot achieve this.Photo: Mihai M. Mitrea