We’re not all in the same boat -Amitabh Behar
Fighting inequality must be at the heart of our economic rescue and recovery efforts
One of the most incisive and hard-hitting comments on the real import of the COVID-19 crisis came from none other than the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. He said: “COVID-19 has been likened to an x-ray, revealing fractures in the fragile skeleton of the societies we have built. It is exposing fallacies and falsehoods everywhere: The lie that free markets can deliver healthcare for all; the fiction that unpaid care work is not work; the delusion that we live in a post-racist world; the myth that we are all in the same boat. While we are all floating on the same sea, it’s clear that some are in super yachts, while others are clinging to the drifting debris.”
Oxfam International’s annual report on inequality for 2021, aptly titled The Inequality Virus, puts the uncomfortable but imperative spotlight on the obscene inequality between the few in “super yachts” and the overwhelming majority “clinging to the drifting debris”. The report was published on the opening day of the World Economic Forum’s ‘Davos Dialogues’.
Over the decades, India has faced mammoth challenges including wars and hunger. But the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a migrant crisis, lockdowns, and serious contraction of the economy, and highlighted a crumbling health system, is an unprecedented test of the republic. This is the moment to use the ‘COVID x-ray’ to recognise the deep fissures caused by the growing inequality in the country; and for post-pandemic recovery, resolve to plan a fundamentally different economic model for ensuring an equal, just and sustainable future for all.
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The Hindu, 27 January, 2021, https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/were-not-all-in-the-same-boat/article33669638.ece?homepage=true&fbclid=IwAR0CG935hcec2jHU4ZM1XdZjJKtWlVKGZ9gk5uAv3zjfyLPMRpF5B0QG1sg