In his third Reith Lecture, Mark Carney discusses the shift in emphasis that has occurred in the way governments are making decisions.
Historically, there was a growing tendency towards economic optimisation, but the pandemic has forced a choice between health, wealth and opportunity, prioritising human compassion over financial optimisation. He also notes that the values emerging during the crisis have seen governments needing to earn trust in return for compliance and the generous humanity of people going beyond compliance to charity. There is a stark reality that the crisis has not affected everyone equally, both in terms of the infection and the response. Importantly, the pandemic has revealed the underinvestment in resilience.
Prioritising the “now” and thinking short-term has left society with a far larger bill than it might otherwise have had. In his concluding remarks he notes that climate change will be a test of the values that have emerged during the pandemic.