Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Le confinement

On both sides of the Atlantic, the rich are leaving for their sea-side homes, casting new light on age-old inequalities as others are left behind in cramped inner-city apartments. With temperatures rising in the Northern Hemisphere, I get flashbacks to Seoul where Anna and I spent two years in one small faculty dorm room with Eddie (with the big difference that we were allowed to go outside whenever we wanted).

After a morning with different Zoom meetings and thesis supervision, I went for a tempo run around Nydalasjön, thanking my lucky star that I now live by a lake in a house that can easily double as a summer cottage. On this theme, Jon sent me a piece that reinforced how different this crisis is depending on whether or not your salary keeps coming, and that there is something problematic in advocating strict “lockdown” while being among those whose income is secure. The most extreme version of this is perhaps the situation in India where the lockdown has forced millions onto the roads as their city income has suddenly vanished. This does not mean that letting the epidemic wash through society is necessarily any better, just that we need to realize that there are some real trade-offs here and that waiting 18 months or more for a vaccine may simply not be sustainable.

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