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A senior American journalist has claimed that the COVID-19 Pandemic has taught the world 10 lessons! He did not have time to compile a list of them, point-wise. He could just mention that everyone is running crazy with a racing car… whenever, a car breaks down, the driver repairs it and then again joins the race. And, the danger, ahead of us, is becoming greater!

Will that trend continue after COVID-19… or the world will take a deep breath, think twice about the future and quit the race? The Global Community may restore peace and stability by reducing inequality, increasing investment in universal education and public health, and focusing more on the environment.

In his publication ‘Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World’, CNN host and best-selling author Fareed Zakaria has expressed hopes that the world might soon quit this sort of race. The author has admitted that his belief in Liberalism encourages him to hope so! Zakaria, who has penned the book to help readers understand the nature of a post-pandemic world: the political, social, technological, and economic impacts that may take years to unfold, recalled that Vladimir Ilyich Lenin had once said: “There are decades when nothing happens and weeks when decades happen.” He believes that the Liberal approach, despite all its flaws and imperfections, will certainly inspire people to build a healthy world through mutual co-operation.

Showering praises on Social Capital, Zakaria has stated that citizens of countries, which are rich in Social Trust, have been much more successful in dealing with the Pandemic. He has further expressed hope that the people of those countries, which lack Social Trust, would work hard to make ends meet and would follow the path of co-operation. The seasoned journalist is well aware of the fact that many would call such optimism unrealistic, and that is why the title of the chapter that deals with the 10th Lesson is ‘Sometimes the Greatest Realists are the Idealists’! In other words, without the ideology of co-operation, it is becoming increasing difficult for people to survive in this world. So, we, seemingly, have to accept that ideology.

Indeed, the initiative to explain co-operation through the framework of Realism, instead of Morality, is a good move. Zakaria has urged his readers to take care of themselves, stating: “Otherwise, no one will survive.” However, the problem is that those, who are controlling the racing car, may not follow the author’s suggestion. Zakaria has realised the fact that Inequality has a relationship with Social Capital. With the increase of Social Capital, inequality decreases. He has advised the Governments to work hard in order to reduce the level of inequality in the society.

Fareed Rafiq Zakaria

According to Zakaria, whether a Government is a big or a small one is not important… the most important issue is whether the Government is a good one. After going through the book, one can easily come to the conclusion that the author, perhaps, considers the Danish Model of Government as an ideal Government. He has also analysed the current World Order, apart from pointing out that the rivalry between China and the US is not avoidable, but the conflict is. He has concluded his arguments, saying that nothing is written, and it is up to the Global Community to decide the kind of World Order they want to live in: one based on co-operation or conflict, one based on isolationism or a globalised one. The book, which touches literary, historical, economic, political, social and even psychological aspects, is easily comprehensible.

It may seem odd to some that Zakaria has not mentioned in his book that inequality depends on the Economic Structure! In the end, he has relied on Tennyson’s verse that was kept in Harry S Truman’s wallet. “Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and I linger on the shore/And the individual withers, and the world is more and more.” (Locksley Hall by Alfred, Lord Tennyson) It is to be noted that former US President Truman carried a fragment of Tennyson’s poem Locksley Hall in his wallet from the time he graduated from high school in 1901. “The paper I copied it on kept wearing out, and I kept recopying it. I don’t know how many times, twenty or thirty, I expect,” Truman reportedly told journalist Merle Miller.

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