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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2020  /  April 2020  /  What the Covid-19 pandemic should teach us about governance

What the Covid-19 pandemic should teach us about governance

Peter Jones reflects on current events

What the Covid-19 pandemic should teach us about governance

Dr Peter Jones has written a commentary reflecting on the Covid-19 pandemic from a governance perspective:

When society faces a real crisis that needs strong coordinated action, it looks to the state and scientific/medical experts along with cooperation amongst civil society backed up by police enforcement.

The private sector plays an important role in various ways, such as ensuring food supplies in the face of selfish freeriding panic buyers, but many private sector companies look to the state for loans and bailouts.

While some libertarians may complain that this is an excuse for state control of our lives, few take this seriously when we face a crisis that gravely threatens societal wellbeing. The need for cooperation is also recognised amongst countries to provide for coordinated international action.

When things return to 'normal' and calls are resumed to shrink the state, ignore 'so called experts', revert to national isolationism, reassert 'that there's no such thing as society', or depend on the dynamism of the private sector, remember what we relied on to address this crisis.

Also, remember these events when arguments are heard that climate change is best addressed through private sector action, or that experts can't be trusted, the state should not try to steer society or that societal behaviour can't be changed!

Click here for the full commentary - The Ecologist.


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Peter at the helm


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