Everybody agrees that the Corona Virus endemic will change the world. The world before COVID-19 will not be the same as the world after it. And although the earlier version of our realm had a lot of drawbacks, most people will still be nostalgic to their normal life and its routines before the endemic. No one denies that the lifestyle of human race, especially in civilized regions, had become significantly eccentric and fast in the last period. This mode of living brought about major concerns related to human relations, ethics, religion, governance, environment, competition, equality, freedom, social responsibility, and others. Civilization as we know it, has been slipping into oblivion, and was being replaced by a revolutionary technology-driven dynamic based on the World Wide Web and its tools of social networking, data algorithms, artificial intelligence, and new-wave marketplace economics.
The challenge with the World before Corona is that it was not evolving rather it was revolting. You see, our brains are made to evolve, and evolution is very slow. However, with the speed at which the World was changing, our brains were not able to adapt promptly, and that made way to a lot of the political, economic, and social confusion before the COVID-19 outbreak. The World was not at peace when it entered the Corona Age. This means that humanity was governed by a mindset of scarcity and not abundance. The difference between those two mindsets is that the first considers there is not enough for everybody, and hence we need to fight/compete to ensure our continuity. While the second believes that there is plenty for all on this Earth, and we just need to come together for a better world. Now mindset issue will be very critical in determining the shape of the World after the Corona endemic, and will highly affect the trends and tendencies that we will observe thereon.
Reading into it, one can predict too many straightforward outcomes related to all aspects of life after the endemic. However, few trends and tendencies that will emerge post COVID-19, will be more critical in shaping the world, and those are:
1. Scarcity or Abundance
It cannot be detected for sure whether the World after COVID-19 will emerge with a scarcity or abundance mindset. As mentioned above, the World entered the age of the endemic with a scarcity mindset. There were a lot of wars, tensions, and quarrels about politics and the world economy. Too many nations were torn apart by the politics of chaos that has been in the making since the end of the Cold War in 1991. Now the question is: “Will the World learn and shift into an abundance mindset, or it will continue to embrace that of scarcity?” This will definitely be determined by the experience that each nation went through during the fight against Corona, because among others, mindset is the outcome of experience. If most nations choose scarcity, we will see more economic protectionism, extreme nationalism, inter-nation clashes and fierce competition, with a high possibility of a global war. If the world chooses a mindset of abundance, then we will see global convergence, rejuvenation of the role of the UN, and focus on building a more harmonious and balanced World by the global powers.
2. Shape of the new Regimes
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has exposed political regimes and politicians. The manner through which the ruling parties managed the endemic in each country revealed the mediocrity or robustness of the regime. Some were fast to act, other were a bit slow. Still, some regimes were overwhelmed and significantly sluggish in dealing with the corona virus. Although many would argue that citizens’ compliance with the lockdown procedures played a role in the spread of the virus, the responsibility of maintaining law and order still falls on the ruling regime. The significance of this observation, is that the way regimes handled the crisis will determine if there will be a top down or bottom up change in the regimes of those nations. After COVID-19, we will see significant unrest in the political regimes that didn’t handle the endemic period appropriately. This can range from basic political opposition up to the emergence of violent movements aiming to topple the regime. On the other hand, regimes that responded well to the endemic will embark on a comprehensive revamping of their socioeconomic, healthcare, and educational paradigms.
3. Responsiveness, Safety & Soul into Healthcare again
The healthcare system of the World has been the main protagonist in fighting COVID-19. Heroism shown by the medical and nursing bodies all over the world has positively recharged our perception of the healthcare industry as a whole. Prior to the Corona crisis, the healthcare system has been significantly drifting towards a more materialistic paradigm that rendered the Medical World more of a business sector for making money, rather than a mission for saving lives. In the past few decades, the World has been significantly short of medicinal breakthroughs for diseases including above all Cancer and other chronic ailments. Much focus has been made on introducing technology into medicine, on preventive and wellness practices, and on esthetic medicine than on curative medicine. Lessons learned from the Corona endemic however will lead into the following trends and tendencies:
a. Building and sustaining the responsiveness of the healthcare sector: When COVID-19 broke out, the biggest challenge for the healthcare system was the speed at which it responded to this endemic. Hospitals and Medical Centers did the best they can to accommodate the inflow of patients, but the problem was with the availability of needed space and equipment. This included the availability of testing kits, dedicated quarantine space, beds, breathing equipment, and safety outfits for medical teams. In the aftermath of COVID-19, the healthcare system will become more sensitive to the subject of responsiveness and readiness for the possibility of a black swan happening in the sector.
b. Safety of the Medical Teams: The level of contamination risks that medical teams were exposed to during the corona outbreak will raise the question of safety of those teams. Many doctors, nurses, and first aid staff were infected by the virus despite measures to protect them, and this brings about two key concerns. First is the basic right of medical teams to be safe (despite their risky profession), and second is that the healthcare sector cannot afford losing much needed medical staff to endemic due to lack of sufficient protection. As such, healthcare research and investment after the Corona endemic, will highly rely on the introduction of more ‘human to machine’ technology used during endemics and episodes of with high contamination risks.
c. Focus on Curative Medicine: Standing helpless in front of the Corona endemic, the world of medicine will be stimulated to focus on finding cures for various diseases and illnesses. The outbreaks of Ebola, SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 repeatedly showed that the world of medicine is being taken by surprise at the spread of those epidemics. It also revealed that not enough research and breakthroughs are being made in the area of curative medicine, including finding cures for Cancer and other diseases. As such, and if the healthcare sector rejuvenates its mission, we should witness governments and private Medical Research centers channeling a major chunk of their funds to find cures for viruses and chronic diseases that have been nibbling on human souls for long.
d. Rethinking Healthcare ethics: The COVID-19 battle had brought to mind existential questions related to the right of every human being to get decent healthcare. It is undeniable that many healthcare systems in developed, developing, and under-developed nations were unable to accommodate the huge number of Corona patients. This led to unintentionally compromising the health of thousands of people, many of whom could have been saved had the healthcare system been ready for COVID-19. But surely not even the most advanced healthcare systems could have been able to accommodate. In this respect, the healthcare system will have to rethink its patient assessment and cases prioritization procedures to ensure that a scientific and defendable selection process is embraced. God forbid, come a new endemic, medical staff need to be clear about selecting to attend to one patient and not another with a clear conscience.
4. Rethinking the Means of Education
The fact that Education Systems globally had to face the Corona endemic is a once in a lifetime opportunity to think about the effectiveness of our current education means. Undoubtedly, blended education and the introduction of technology into educational institutions has been on the rise all over the world. However, what was missing is that those new means were not stress-tested for a global scale disruption like the one caused by COVID-19. The challenge could be put in five dimensions:
a. The accessibility of schools and teachers to online teaching tools and channels.
b. The ability of teachers to deliver live online classes and monitor the learning levels of their students.
c. The Students’ (of various cycles) outreach to online tools and channels and their ability to concentrate on studying from home using online means.
d. The ability of educational institutions to track student attendance to ensure that certificates (where applicable) are issued for eligible students.
e. The ability of online tools and channels to accommodate 100s of millions of students accessing the web at the same time to attend their classes.
The Education world after Corona will witness three main trends and tendencies:
a. Boost in Blended Learning: Education will proceed with the trend of blended learning while granting more curricula time to online learning. Judging by their experience during the COVID-19 endemic, schools and universities will decrease their dependency on classroom learning and increase their emphasis on online means. In addition to resilience, this approach will secure limitless agility and allows for the globalization of the education system. It will allow more pupils (in schools and universities) to shift towards online learning in any institution of their choice, rendering them Global Students.
b. Educational Digitization: The Education world will witness more research and investment into the digitization of educational means. Shifting simulation from the military and engineering worlds to the arena of academic education will be the next hot investment opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors alike. In the new Education world, student will have to not only hear and see online, but also to experience and experiment what they have learned, within a virtual context.
c. Potential Globalization of Curricula: If we do not go into an amplified sense of nationalism that leads to more protectionism and distancing of the world nations from each other, we might witness a tendency for Globalization of Curricula. In addition to sustaining the sense of belonging to one planet, this tendency would secure a limitless number of teachers, ensure a much wider outreach of education even to the most under privileged children and students, and act as a source of monitoring what the brains of youth are being fed. Of course this will require the appropriate legal and operational framework, as well as a rigorous monitoring and evaluation system to mitigate any abuse.
5. Reengineering the Regulations of Crisis
Most governments and businesses in the world had long embarked on contingency planning, if not inspired by the aftermath of the world wars, then by the Y2K (Year 2000) bug. Contingency plans however emphasized on being ready for either a war, or a total crash of the Internet. Of course those scenarios were based on a comprehensive assessment of what can go wrong with the World in the 21st century, and what we should be ready for. This type of planning has been introduced into government regulations – albeit an aware and active government – and businesses’ SOPs that could potentially face the risks of the above assumptions.
However, the Corona virus crisis revealed that none of the regulations were set to sufficiently accommodate all the consequences of a worldwide endemic. It seems that regulators were so much focused on the usual causes of a crisis, like war, natural disasters, and technology crashes, while they failed to recognize that the biggest disruption in modern history will come from the most unusual of suspects; COVID-19. The regulatory failure appeared both at the national and international levels. Locally, so many governments seemed overwhelmed with managing national emergency and curfews, securing medical equipment, attending to the needs of people at home, as well as organizing education and other critical affairs of the population. In parallel, international organizations and unions also proved to be futile and almost impact-less.
This state of regulatory mediocrity will most probably lead to three main tendencies:
a. Amplification of Endemic Management Regulations: Governments will possibly overreact and amplify the emphasis on Endemic Management Procedures in their regulations. This would mostly apply to regulatory measures related to curfew procedures, legal action against non-obedient citizens, allocation of medical equipment, hospitals’ readiness, and human relations during endemics. At the international level, there will potentially be a new endemic related professional standard, like ISO, that would rate hospitals and medical centers with regards to their capacity to handle national and international crises.
b. Post-endemic Business and Workforce Regulations: There will be a tendency for governments to devise post-crisis/endemic regulatory measures related to managing unemployment, handling bankrupt businesses, management of public and private debt, as well as regulations that are in support of rejuvenating the economy. In addition, more regulations will be developed regarding work from home, compensating employees during times of crises, legal and contractual windows, and court procedures and rules during times of crises.
c. Distancing from former collective bodies and organizations: Given the way international organizations and unions attended to the affairs of their members during the Corona crisis, there will be a tendency for members of those organizations or unions to reassess the feasibility of that membership. This will trigger a two way regulatory momentum, where both national governments and international organizations will revise their regulations to address crisis situations, as well as drafting regulations for a fair exit from international bodies.
d. Austere Regulations for uploading and sharing content on Social Media in times of Crisis: There is no doubt that social media was very helpful in efficiently conveying important information to citizens. However, this benefit was dangerously contaminated by the overwhelming streaming of fake information and gossip-like content on all social media platforms. If this means something, it indicates the humongous number of silly minds all over the world who – intentionally or unintentionally – spread fake news to confuse other people or scare them to death, let alone hindering the efforts of governments (mainly health and security authorities) in beating the endemic. Accordingly, we should potentially see a tendency for regulators to develop special regulations for holding people who upload and share content responsible for what they do. This includes methods for verifying the credibility of information, and stating if the content is Share-approved by the author or not.
6. Organizational Reengineering and Human Resources Management
Macro and micro economics’ dynamics during the COVID-19 endemic were totally disrupted, potentially beyond all recognition. The conventional production and supply chain ecosystem will be bound to think, plan, and function according to new market rules that were unperceived before. This also applies to the Services’ Sector. Such a colossal disruptive power will require businesses and governments to comprehensively rethink their systems and practices to accommodate the post-endemic economy and market place. This includes reengineering their operating models, organizational structures, operating procedures, financial structures, and people policies and practices. Managing this dynamic will not be an easy mission because organizations will have to fix the train while it’s moving. Now is the time for thinking, because when the endemic is over, there will be no time but for action. Accordingly, the following trends and tendencies will be on the rise:
a. Accommodating available talent in the market: The World post Corona needs to embrace a positive mindset towards people who will emerge without a job. Thinking of those as unemployed means that the world will deal with them as a problem. However, thinking of them as a talent tank means that the world will attend to them as an opportunity, and a positive one. If businesses think clearly about it, then we will see a positive trend towards resurrection of previous jobs, and creation of new ones in the market.
b. Growth of Consolidation and Emergence of Micro Family Businesses: With so many companies going out of business or standing at the brink of bankruptcy, the world will witness a consolidation tendency embodied in the growth of mergers and acquisitions. Too many companies were doing very well before COVID-19 hit Earth. Those had excellent operating models, products, and service concepts that could still be saved if they merge with similar companies, or if they are acquired by larger more mature establishments.
In parallel, with so many professionals, engineers, technicians, etc. staying at home, there will be a tendency for those households to utilize their resident expertise to start small family businesses to ensure livelihood. This trend will set for a new wave of garage, basement, or garden based family businesses that will replace a lot of those that went bankrupt.
c. Virtual teams’ management and compensation: Given the remote operating mode of millions of employees during the corona endemic, governments and businesses will tend to build teams that do not only know how to work remotely, but also how function in a virtual workplace. Of course this will require close collaboration between HR experts, ICT engineers, and law makers. In addition, governments and businesses will tend to devise a special compensation scheme for virtual teams, focusing on finding and adopting the ideal means for measuring and compensating the performance of virtual staff.
d. Amplification of work life balance and wellness practices: The COVID-19 crisis revealed the hollowness of most modern lifestyles that people around the world were embracing. Having to go into a lockdown, made people rediscover normal life trends that have sustained civilization for hundreds of years. Spending time with the family and children, reconnecting and creating bonding among family members, reaching out again to parents, relatives, and friends who have been brushed out due to lifestyle priorities. Reconnecting with oneself, reassessing personal choices, and most important reconnecting with God are but few of the treasures that have been unearthed, thanks to Corona Virus. As such, there will be a trend towards leveraging work life balance to ensure this rediscovered value does not slip into the jaws of an imbalanced lifestyle again. Hence we will see shorter work schedules, a shift towards reestablishing the balance in the role of fatherhood and motherhood, and potentially new regulations related to the right of every child to get full scale parenting, and rich family time.
7. Endemic Inspired Marketplace
The World before the Corona endemic has been shifting towards alternative marketplace applications at a very high speed, rendering conventional markets and shopping centers obsolete or more of an entertainment destination. Online shopping, retail, and grocery have been gaining significant momentum for almost a decade now. It has proven to be an effective tool for time impoverished human beings, let alone being an effortless way to get whatever you want at a press of a button. Come the Corona virus, all marketplace options that required human-to-human personal interaction became forbidden. Banks were closed, and human needs shifted from lifestyle driven to basic living mode, merely focusing on consumables. This showed both customers and businesses that not being online can prove to be dangerous, especially if such conditions happen again. As such, the post endemic world will witness noticeable growth in the number of online marketplace applications. Those will embrace innovation and creativity as a means of competing in a global marketplace. Of course this dynamic will also lead to a more lean, affordable, and efficient logistics services that can reach anywhere in the world in just a few hours.
Given the operating costs of conventional marketplaces, and the allocation of those costs to items’ prices, and since people will emerge with a mediocre purchasing power, online marketplaces will be the destination of choice for the majority of consumers around the world. The meager purchasing power will also drive a large percentage of consumers to do without many of lifestyle related services and products, which will in parallel lead to a growing DIY (Do It Yourself) trend at homes.
8. A new World Order in Banking and Finance
The frequency at which public and private finance has been proving its technical and somehow ethical mediocrity since the dawn of the 21st Century, will definitely contribute to the shape of banking and finance in the Post-Corona Economy. The undoubted recession that will take place after the endemic, along with the depleted financial capacity of businesses and citizens due to months of spending while at home, and the skyrocketing levels of distrust in governments and banks, will play the key role in shaping the banking and finance arena in the future. Put simply, some of the high potential trends and tendencies that we will see are:
a. A growing merger and acquisition momentum among banks: Many banks will have to face two options; go into a merger or go bankrupt.
b. Governments as shareholders in Banks: In certain countries, there will be a tendency for Governments to buy equity in banks, especially doubtful ones. This would happen through national investment funds as a means of keeping the banking system in those countries from collapsing.
c. Amplification of the Cashless Society: There will be a growing tendency for governments and banks to move into a cashless society. Paper banknote proved to be extremely cumbersome and risky during the endemic. This included the risk of contamination, risk of transporting, and lack of access due to banks’ closure. Further, what will boost this tendency is the difficulty of handling piles of paper banknotes due to devaluation of money in many countries in the aftermath of the endemic.
9. A more Sensible Society
Social life before the Corona endemic has changed drastically. This need not be seen as good or bad, rather as a measure of what was the impact of this change on society. Although the world witnessed the invention of more communication tools, people were less communicative. Social media was supposedly made to keep you connected with family and friends, however, people became connected to the pics, vids, tweets, and posts of those family and friends. The whole world was living in a rat race where everybody was time impoverished. This rendered most people self-centered beings, focusing only on living an almost robotic lifestyle defined by global brands and figures that became the Messiahs of trend setting. IN fact, the World was literary practicing Social Distancing long before the outbreak of COVID-19.
Simultaneously, the social symbolism of dominant nations was losing a lot of its glitter, transforming them into human settlements that are lost between their legacy and the vagueness of their future. Europe was getting old; too old to continue to spearhead sober civilization. It became more controversial about everything including history, religion, traditions, Union, and sane social behavior. The United States shifted from supposedly being the guardian of freedom and symbol of abundance, to becoming a global prosecutor. China and India were rediscovering the crude power of numbers and their impact on monopolizing global economy. Russia was recovering from its modern ancestral history, claiming as many allies as possible. Still, too many nations in the rest of the world, were facing a lot of political and economic instability, violence, and turmoil fostered by the theory of creative chaos.
In the aftermath of this endemic however, we will probably witness the following tendencies:
a. Focus on Social Healing: The Corona endemic has been a traumatic experience for all the nations who went through it. This horrendous experience affected children and adults, families and individuals, young and elderly, and from all social segments and backgrounds. For many, especially youth and children, this has probably been their first experience of how tough can life be and how fast their world can tumble down; for no reason but a microscopic organism. Social distancing will have its toll on human relations, and people who looked death in the eyes will need a longer time to come out of their social distancing rituals. As such, many people and potentially nations, will have to go through a social healing process so that they can emotionally and physically become socially active again.
b. People will slow down: Slowing down is not going to be an option. The recession that will hit the world post COVID-19, will make people take things easy and slow on the pedal. So many of the wants we were all running after will no more be at reach or even available. We will see a lot of places that we love, go out of business, a lot of the possessions that we always wanted become unaffordable, and a lot of the lifestyle we were killing ourselves about turn into a burden; hence we will inevitably slow down.
c. A Self-reflective Society: Post corona times will witness a tendency for reflection and self- assessment for many peoples and nations. Humans are inquisitive, and they will ask why did this happen? Who caused it? What could have been done to dodge it? Did the government do enough? How was I treated during the crisis? Will this happen again? What do I want to keep, change, and toss away from my previous lifestyle? What matters most to me? And who matters most to me? All these are but few of the questions that people will tend to reflect on once this endemic is over. This however, will also make way for so many people to reconnect with God and put him back into their lives. Not to be religious, but from a psychological perspective, active believers prove to be stronger and able to cope with their difficulties during treacherous times as compared to non-believers.
There is no doubt that the World after COVID-19 will be in front of many options. For some nations the options might have already been made, others are in a wait-and-see mode, still others continue to be overwhelmed to even think of any tomorrow. So many questions are exploding in our minds, some personal and others global. On the individual level, we are all asking: when will this endemic end? And when it ends, will we come out of it in one piece? What will happen to me and my family, and how the global recession in the aftermath of COVID-19 will affect us? Will I still have a job? And how can I make a living afterwards? Will my children still be able to go to school? And will we be safe from another endemic?
On global questions, there is no doubt that many of us are asking: Will there be a New World Order after the Corona endemic or this too shall pass? Is it true that China will emerge as the new super power? Will the European Union continue to exist or we will witness new exits including potentially Italy, Spain, and some Eastern Europe countries to whom the Union proved to be futile? Is there still any use for the United Nations that stood somehow helpless in front of the crisis? Will we see change in regimes and ruling parties especially those who proved to be a total failure in handling the endemic? Will we see violence inside and among nations for the ever diminishing resources in light of the Corona crisis?
I believe that all the above questions, boil down to one essential and potentially existential one. What mindset will the World embrace after COVID-19? If it embraces a mindset of scarcity, meaning that there is not enough for all, then we will witness a mounting tendency towards fierce competition, nations’ distancing, protectionism, and extreme nationalism, all of which might eventually lead to a global war. In order to protect themselves in front of their failures, many regimes might resort to escalation. They believe that this helps them absorb the vengeful feelings of their people. In addition, many disturbed political theorists consider that wars kill a lot of people, and this leads to rebalancing the economy and stabilizing the political system!
Still, if the World embraces a mindset of abundance, meaning that there is plenty for all, then we will witness a revival of human civilization. The agonizing wounds suffered by all the nations of the World will be a reason for this world to come together. We will see a rational approach in addressing what happened and why it happened. We will witness a comprehensive approach to having a global plan for the resurrection of a heathy, fair, balanced, and ethical World Economy. If the World decides to embrace a mindset of abundance, we will see cooperation across all life activities including healthcare, education, human welfare, economy, finance, and possibly politics. We will see more harmony among religions who own the antidote for healing the hearts and minds of populations who feel they were deceived by politicians. We will witness an unprecedented humanitarian movement from less injured nations to heal the wound of badly injured ones.
If each one of us is willing, then we should all start from this moment to build, spread, and nurture the Mindset of Abundance in our and other people’s minds. All of us, intellectuals, professionals, thinkers, economists, financiers, teachers, consultants, employees, workers, business owners, should embrace a mindset of abundance as of today. We need and we can build a powerful momentum for positivity and abundance in our mindsets as of now; this is an intentional momentum that we can create and contribute to. To achieve this, all we need to start with are three simple actions that anyone can do as of today:
a. Train you brain to build a mindset of abundance; think that there is plenty for all. If you are religious, remember that no religion on this Globe preaches scarcity, fear, or human distancing. Think that all religions are religions of abundance, love, and human bonding. Even if you are not religious, train your brain on positivity and the art of giving. Ask what you can give to others rather than what you should expect from them. Positivity is the most effective healing power that every human being innately has; use it.
b. Protect yourself from negativity; isolate negative news from your life. In the age of Corona, there are three types of news out there: positive, real, and negative. It is this last one that all of us need to protect ourselves from. There are too many mal-intentioned people out there whose job is to spread poison to scare people. Those are the kings and queens of negativity who embrace a hardcore mindset of scarcity; those are the fire starters who just want to prove themselves right about their negativity and poison. Please isolate yourself from those!
c. Take action. Choose to spread the mindset of abundance. Do, write, communicate, and share positivity; I know it will not be easy amidst the gloomy world we are living in today. But remember, when the sun is blocked by clouds, it does not mean that it is no more there. It is just a matter of time before the sun shines again. Volunteer, blog, reach out, and participate in everything that is positive and that contributes to the mindset of abundance. You could be saving the World!
This is not a scene from a movie about Heaven; this is what humanity is really capable of choosing to do after the endemic; it is simply a matter of mindset.