Regardless of whether you view 2020 as the start of a new decade or the final year of the existing decade, what is clear that the first 5 months of 2020 has been very concerning and worrisome.
So far, the world has witnessed:
- Coronavirus: 275,403 deaths (time of writing)
- Australia Bushfires: 46 million acres burnt and 36 deaths
- Indonesia floods: 66 deaths
- Huge increase world wide in government debt (Surprisingly, very difficult to find generally accepted figures).
It truly is mind blowing how governments were all crying poor when it came to improving the lives of their citizens pre 2020 sighting limited government funding as blocker. During COVID-19, all governments have found avenues to borrow massive amount of funds to save their economies. The prompt response from all major governments is commendable. However, we must not forget, money is a medium we humans came up with to exchange for goods and services. Therefore, we must put things into perspectives and as such, the priority list should always put humans before money. It’s simple, but if we were to reflect as mere civilians, we will recall countless examples where this hasn’t been the case.
For example, IMF published their World Economic Outlook in April 2020, where it forecasted that world output will decrease by 3% in 2020 and increase by 5.8% in 2021. This gives me some comfort that in terms of growth measured in GDP, yes there is some pain this year, but 2021 appears to more than cover for it. To put things into perspective (as we always should), the world output grew by 2.9% in 2019. The point being, economies have a way of surviving. People should also have a way of surviving as a life lost is a life that cannot be recovered.
My heart goes out to the people of Italy. Not because their GDP is projected to decline by 9.1% in 2020. More because it worries me that the country may choose to focus on improving their GDP instead of the countless lives lost and even more families that are mourning the loss of their loved ones. These families have not only tragically lost someone dear to them. They have lost someone who also had significant financial responsibility of the said family. I struggle to comprehend what my family will go through if they lost me.
Has the quality of life of mere civilians increased at a similar pace as GDP? Is there a measure that tracks the quality of life as fiercely as we track GDP?
It’s complicated, I know. But what isn’t complicated these days! Again, in my mind, quality of life ought to be prioritised over world output. This is NOT COMPLICATED.
Reflecting today, I’m a little concerned, little critical and a little hopeful.