BRICS Business Magazine English Issue #1 (27) 2021

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Victory Day, which we recently celebrated, brings to mind not only heroic or solemn images, but also conjures the idea of the "echoes of war". This understanding is most commonly used by demographers, but it can also be applied to economics, psychology and social, political or cultural life. Either way, we are talking about the long-term consequences of a certain shock, an event dramatically changing the usual order of things. Today, no one has yet forgotten the talk that the invasion of the coronavirus would lead to an explosive transformation of reality. But the world hasn't changed beyond recognition, developed countries flooded the impending crisis with an unprecedented amount of financial support, and the apocalyptic mood has disappeared by itself. And yet it is likely that years from now we will be talking about the "echoes of the pandemic".

The experience of being alone and locked away, the experience of obsessive control and strict regulations, the experience of prolonged fear and inability to comprehend what the near future will be like, the experience of accelerated digitalization, along with which the awareness of the value of live human communication went hand in hand. The pandemic proved to be a test of our ability to adapt, a stress test for individuals, businesses and entire nations. And of course, this test is not over yet. People and companies have already formed new habits, although these habits have not yet solidified. Some people are unhappy, some people enjoy working remotely, but no one can predict what will happen to us in 5 or 10 years (and not just for a few of us, but for millions of people). Some consider the restrictions imposed as inevitable and reasonable, while others are willing to sacrifice their livelihood and change their place of residence for the sake of personal freedom. Security is important to both, but they understand it differently.

The "echoes of the pandemic" will reverberate in many personal, business, and political decisions (or in the inability to make them). No one will want to return to a state of powerlessness and extreme uncertainty, which means that work will be undertaken around the world to improve predictive and regulatory practices. Algorithms that predict our behaviour and how we react will become ubiquitous, control by states and technology corporations is likely to become stronger, and drug and food security will not be off the global agenda for long. I also see a significant danger in the fact that by defending ourselves against unseen threats, many of us will become even more alienated, although the most healing elixir for planet Earth right now would be mutual trust and understanding. That said, life clearly tells us that we must be able to not only save and earn, but also benefit by giving back. Without a conscientious accounting of non-financial, non-materialistic indicators, we will never get on a sustainable development path. To understand this is to learn one of the most important lessons of the pandemic.

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