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Necessary distance: how will society after the pandemic
Material posted: Publication date: 02-04-2020
Pandemic could accelerate a change in technological structure and approach the beginning of a new long wave economic cycle, but many in order to catch it, have a lot of change in his views and habits.

Exclusion and inequality

The current crisis has many unusual features, but because the path out of it is not yet clear. But some possible changes are already visible. Social distancing understood as a temporary measure, may be a harbinger of increased atomization of society, rising inequality, encapsulating people in their own life problems on the background of further growth of virtual communities and identities.

The development of new technologies, accelerated coronavirus shock can lead to the emergence of new types of inequality between different groups of modern society, for example, in leisure practices. The art will be offline, as it was in the industrial society, a lot of mostly the rich and super-rich people. An evening at the Opera or a visit to the world-famous Museum will be considered a demonstration of status.

All of us will not only be integrated into new forms of employment, but also to get used to the new forms of virtual leisure, and the representatives of the Mediterranean culture, accustomed to the long joint celebrations and intimate fellowship, and Russians with their habit to invite and walk-in guests.

On the other hand, the current crisis can teach generation Z is not to live one day and make its members think about the near and distant future, to plan and make savings.

The decline of the middle class

Most not be good for the traditional middle class, associated with small businesses and private entrepreneurs, because he, unlike large corporations, as a rule, there is no financial cushion. You can expect a dramatic reduction in the number of small enterprises — with all the attendant consequences: the closure of firms, personal bankruptcy of the owners, etc. For the restoration of the business will go a long time. In fact, after bankruptcy you will need to create a new company and a long time to invest in it, before financial returns and it will be possible to pay off debts.

But a new creative class are big problems, even if his representatives will be more adaptive to economic stress. Obviously, many will require an enormous effort, and many will be forced to come to terms with the transition into the ranks of the precariat.

Not only the state

Today the thesis about the inevitable strengthening of the role of the state after the crisis seems to be shared by all. However, the pandemic revealed something else: without the neighborhood mutual aid and volunteerism at the local level, many elderly and sick people would remain without access to means of existence. Similarly, it is obvious that without such organizations as "Doctors without borders", it is impossible to solve global social and humanitarian problems — from hunger to climate change. While inter-state and supranational level, solidarity is often either declarative or require too much bureaucratic effort, leading to loss of time, which is not. Therefore, along with the request to strengthen the role of the state as regulator, is likely to increase, and support for NGOs and civil society. Fortunately, the development of crowdfunding already allows this. Although many of those who want to take part in such initiatives, can prevent a decrease in disposable income.

What's next for the experience economy

Key sectors of experience economy, which dominates in developed countries and determines the life of the Russian capitals and cities (show business, media, tourism, gastronomy, etc.), already under considerable pressure. They will be forced either to leave, or fundamentally modified.

Today we are witnessing a desperate attempt restaurants and cafes to survive at the expense of food delivery to the house, but without changes in technological processes, mainly the production of such attempts hardly will help to block the decrease in turnover.

Will require a fundamental restructuring of business: the transition from bulk purchasing of products and mass production to preparation and consumption of meals in restaurants and gastroparetic to the formation of communities of loyal consumers on the basis of taste preferences, time and frequency of consumption of certain dishes. Artificial intelligence and the Internet of things will become as a mandatory condition of success, as well as great chef. And from bulk purchases of products in store will have to switch to spot purchases depending on the incoming orders. If that doesn't do catering, it services will provide other economic agents.

Similar changes can be expected in other industries of leisure and hospitality. Movie faster will start to go online, museums and theatres have already started to compete with each other in creating their own virtual platforms on the Internet.

University 4.0?

The world of higher education will not remain the same. In place of the entrepreneurial University, or the University of the third age, is deserted University 4.0. But this is related not only opportunities but also dangers: appears new sophisticated forms of intensification of work of remote workers in terms of the disappearance of the traditional division into working and non-working time as well as complication of the control over a mode of work from the academic community.

For example, a teacher in the University now forced to learn new professions — the expert in online communications, designer, etc. Sharply increases the load on support courses. Even the housing quality of teachers is of paramount importance, in Russia (and in many other countries) it is not always possible in the midst of the household to fulfill their pedagogical responsibilities.

Will inevitably reduce the level of communication between the teachers of the Department and other components of socio-professional relations will lose its relevance, but it's unclear what will replace them and what the teacher will associate its corporate identity with the portal of the University online? Corporate presentation design? Most likely, it will increase level of alienation of teachers from the University as an employer.

The changes will affect not only teaching, but also such forms of academic collaboration as conferences, symposia, colloquia. Obviously, many of them will switch to online mode, which will continue to perform the function of conveying research findings to colleagues. But they do have other important functions, such as the formation of new research teams, agreements on joint writing of articles or monographs that involve some level of mutual human sympathy and trust. How is this?

Students mostly welcomed the opportunity to move to online — it's easier to combine study with numerous other things and temptations. It is no secret that many of them come to College with very low social interaction skills. They are unlikely to strengthen them, sitting in front of the monitor. Yes, group online discussion is also possible, but for collaborative project work still requires a certain level of socialization in the real world — where and how they acquire?

Of course, where universities will be able to strike a balance between online and offline modes, these dangers will be mitigated or completely removed, but should be wary of innovators-enthusiasts who think that new is not the withholding of beneficial advances the old to the new level of technology, and their complete denial.

Alexander Chepurenko


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