Aftershock: Society and politics after the pandemic

A new series by Policy Network

The world is living through the greatest public health emergency for over a century, and the greatest political crisis since the Second World War. The aftershocks of this pandemic threaten to reorder every aspect of our economies and societies in fundamental ways. This is a defining moment.

There is much about the nature of Covid-19 as a form of infectious disease that we still don’t understand. The search is underway for a vaccine, various life-saving treatments, reliable antibody testing, alongside viable strategies to ‘exit’ from lockdown. Even so, the purpose of this Policy Network series is to think beyond the immediate crisis to consider what the world will be like in the aftermath of the pandemic. How can states and the global political community best deal with the aftershocks unleashed by the virus?

As outlined in my introductory blog post, we’ll consider six major themes that will redefine progressive politics across the globe, enabling centre-left parties to fashion a viable programme for government and a vision for society that will revive their fortunes after a decade in the doldrums.

Underlying each of these themes is a critical question: how exactly will our economies and societies change in the aftermath of the crisis, and how should they change?

Crises are rare moments where windows of opportunity for radical change open up. Yet they also provide impetus for far-reaching innovation and experimentation across the entire landscape of public policy. We must not let the current crisis go to waste.

― Patrick Diamond, co-chair, Policy Network