The coronavirus global pandemic should compel all of us to come together and chart a new economic destiny, rooted in human security and ecological preservation, Ronald Benjamin says.
I came across an interview in Al Jazeera with a World Health Organization official on the coronavirus crisis.
The WHO official advised governments around the world to reassess their globalisation ideology that has made human beings vulnerable to diseases that are deadly and have far-reaching consequences to the economy and wellbeing of the people.
He said it seems that coronavirus can be spread very easily from animals to humans through ecological proximity. The clearing of forests for economic reasons has resulted in animals moving away from their normal habitat and coming closer to human habitats, resulting in a speedy transmission of viruses.
The WHO official has raised an important point on the state and priorities of the current global economic ideology, which we Malaysians have also adopted to a certain extent. Our current economic system is very much rooted in the neoliberal ideology, originating from the Washington Consensus. Under this framework, concrete and effective environmental regulations are seen as the antithesis of economic progress.
Disproportionate logging, hill-top clearance to build luxury homes, and land reclamation to create artificial islands have not only caused harm not only to many species and animals, but also affected the livelihoods of indigenous people and coastal communities. This has triggered a chain of events, making it easier for the spread of unknown diseases, flash floods, and rising temperatures. We are witnessing all this today.
The coronavirus global pandemic should compel governments, economists, scientific communities and civil society to come together and chart a new economic destiny, rooted in human security and ecological preservation, that protects the natural habitat vital for the survival of human civilisation.
We have made ourselves vulnerable with our materialistic lifestyle that has little concern for what truly matters. Pope Francis put it well when he said that the crisis is not about God’s judgment but a sign to start living in a different way.