Review by Richard Tutin
The global community has regarded the effects of the current Covid-19 pandemic with great fear. Concerns about the future have dominated news broadcasts and commentaries over the past eighteen months. This fear has not been frivolous. People, nations and businesses have suffered and will continue to suffer for the foreseeable future. What is going to happen next is the question on everyone’s lips.
Yet there are some, like Ian Goldin, who see opportunity amongst the chaos and uncertainty of the present time. “Covid-19”, he says, “has created a pivotal moment. Everything hangs in the balance.” This starting point gives Goldin the basis for both commenting on what has been happening in so many areas of life and offering thoughts about what a future world may look like. By seizing this historical moment Goldin believes that we can turn the tide to shape our individual and collective destiny. When we do that, we are in a position to rescue humanity from catastrophe and create a better world.
Goldin makes though an important point from the beginning of his thesis. We, as a global community, cannot and will not return to how we lived and related to each other before the pandemic began to control our present lives. Many commentators have talked about going back to business as usual or that some economies will bounce back once life returns to normal. From Goldin’s perspective, it was business as usual that led to where the world is now.
The idea of creating a better world has, for Goldin, exposed the need to urgently address some pressing issues that have occurred. Some have been caused by the pandemic while others have been building up for decades.
In order to begin moving along the path towards a better world, Goldin begins by addressing the issue of inequality. Reducing inequality in all its forms, encouraging solidarity of young and old and overcoming global poverty forms the base from which to commence the journey.
Goldin then moves on to look at the ways in which business and governments can both work better and serve their communities in more positive ways. This includes building cities for the future and improving mental health, especially among young people.
He then canvasses the prospects of more cooperation. This is important if we are to effectively respond to future global crises and the growing climate emergency.
Goldin’s thoughts and ideas are radical and compelling. He demonstrates that the world has covered some of this type of territory in the past as it recovered from the effects of two world wars with an economic depression in between. Great Britain, he points out, was preparing for life after hostilities during the early years of World War II. We should be doing the same even though the world is responding to the ever-changing landscape that Covid-19 inflicts on a daily basis.
Goldin acknowledges that the pandemic has accelerated many things including the development of vaccines and the economic response by governments to support those who are unable to work or open their businesses due to lockdowns and other restrictions.
Rescue From Global Crisis to a Better World is worth the engagement. Goldin is prophetic in that he clearly shows the consequences of what the global community has done and what it can achieve by grasping this opportunity for change and create a better world.
Ian Goldin is Professor of Globalisation and Development at the University of Oxford. He leads the Oxford Martin Programmes on the Future of Work, Technological and Economic Change and the Future of Work. He is a former Vice President of the World Bank and has served as Chief Executive of the Development Bank of Southern Africa and as an advisor to President Nelson Mandela.
Rescue: From Global Crisis to a Better World
by Ian Goldin
ISBN- 978 152 936 687 7