One of the worst revelations of the pandemic is that politicians may not be very bright or able to think innovatively. To them sustainable economics means drilling more oil wells. In the United States politicians seemed to be limited to declaring that they needed more ventilators and so forth. Medical remedies were important obviously yet so was prophylaxis against the virus. The latter is the area where creative imagination was sorely lacking and that made me wonder if American politicians generally are stupid.
A nation with stupid leaders unable to figure out how to keep the economy working well during a pandemic are also likely to be unable to discover ways to adapt the economy to the ecosphere in order to keep the human virus of consumption and displacement from destroying the ecosphere. It may be that in the average state of economic affairs with people learning a skill with blinders on to most everything else beside personal income through-put that the national I.Q. just is not very high, or high enough to overcome the case of stupidity and inertia that has attended the decline of several prior civilizations.
Some have suggested that humanity is like a bacteria eating everything it can from the environment until the petri dish planet is exhausted and incapable of sustaining human life. Old economic styles like those used today are like that. New ecological economics adapts human economics to one the ecosphere can sustain in vitality. It is a fundamental and necessary change. Economic sustainability does not mean drilling oil and using greenhouse gases until the atmosphere is 700 degrees; it refers to ecological sustainability in regard to rightly adapted human economic methods.
China addressed its Covid problem in Wuhan fairly swiftly because it has dictatorship when it is needed. The U.S. with its democracy (nominally at least) seemed a clattering junker in its response comparatively as so many states and governors fought about how and when to require that prosperous people stay at home for a couple of months to shelter in place while the homeless and poor where generally discounted. Public schools were closed for the year and church attendance was banned because of decrees forbidding public gatherings. The President considered giving money to oil corporations for relief to the fall in oil prices because they had suffered so much during their decades of years with record profits that they shared with the public then as higher prices at the pump. It is important to keep those engines of global warming gases rolling.
I would think that students should be rewarded a bit for their loss of much of a school year with some educational reform in a timely way so they don’t find their programmatic advance in higher education too disrupted. Consider that high schools developed in an era when the Internet did not exist and when local communities were actually local; a college was often quite distant. Today though, high schools and colleges can share the same space on-line.
High schools should all be paired with at least one college such that there is a continuous educational ladder from grade 9 to grade 16. A student making satisfactory progress in high school at some select level of g.p.a. would be entirely free to take higher classes from the college if pre-requisites are met. Every high school student would have automatic admission to at least one college- the paired college- while in high school. The sole requirement would be satisfactory academic progress for a degree program. For non-degree seeking students the sole requirement for taking college courses while in high school or after would be pre-requisites or tests to show a student would be at the right level in a particular course. It could be that some students would discover technical courses at college that were not available in high school although they have no plan to pursue an academic degree program.
I have wondered why there does not seem to be some new business such as an on-line ‘mask store’ that would sell designer complete face protective masks during the Covid crisis. With quality full face coverings with a price for everyone from free to hundreds of dollars people could ride school buses normally or go about business normally in urban areas though gloves should be used to- perhaps garden gloves that are washed frequently. Eyelids are a repository for viral germs when conversations occur. Eyes need to be covered with shields as well as nose and mouth; that’s why full face masks need include eye shields. Halloween mass full face coverings with the addition of clear eye plastic coverings are a basic template to adapt for the Wuhan virus. Clear masks may be better for mass use during the crisis rather than scary masks for example, with politician’s faces on them.
Logically people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions may need to stay in isolation with a federal subsidy until a vaccine is made and distributed. If medical authorities approve, younger people probably should return to work letting the virus burn out among them if that means they are thereafter immune themselves. If older people return to the work force without a vaccine they would in effect be playing a game of Russian roulette; safe enough until someone walks in to the store that is infected. Older people can wear clear entire-face covering masks with filters for nose and mouth in addition to eye protection when they need to go out in the public to shop. Of course, they too should be free to return to work with a mask like a hockey star if them want- yet the mask need be just very thin and snug to work.