A “care society” against health “black swans”


The world is facing a health crisis shaking our socio-economic systems. From this crisis could emerge a more resilient “care society”, refocused on the activities of empathy (health, food, education, ecology) and which “rearms” our institutional, economic and societal around three key ideas: Return of a protective and caring state, immunization of the socio-economic body and strengthening of regional cooperation.

The Covid-19 health crisis has revealed the state of “health disarmament” of the health systems of many countries. The public authorities managed the scarcity. It is the result of management decisions based on budgetary and financial logic.

Reinvest in the commons

The evolution towards a “care society” (care: taking care) involves a transformation of the dominant logics in the management of common goods, by accepting forms of economic inefficiency (“idle” overcapacity, preventive stocks) when these These guarantee the resilience of systems. The post-Covid-19 health crisis society would thus be marked by the return of a protective and benevolent State, investing in human and material resources in order to restore the structural capacities for producing common goods (collective good, the use of which by one person reduces availability for everyone; Jean Tirole).

It is also about rethinking the roles of the private and public sectors in the production of common goods. Under the pressure of budgetary constraints, States have partially disengaged from the production of common goods, giving way to the private sector. With regard to “health rearmament”, the question is to know to what extent the private sector is ready to substitute the logic of resilience for the logic of profitability.

Containment is solidarity

Periods of crisis are conducive to anxieties and reflexes that test the cohesion of the social body. Conversely, benevolent initiatives and solidarity are manifested with families in difficulty or with nursing staff. Containment is a form of “passive solidarity” which aims to reduce the risk of contaminating oneself and others.

At the same time, we have seen the proliferation of “collective intelligence solidarity” for the manufacture of masks, respirators and the development of digital mutual aid solutions. The case of Morocco is edifying in this regard.

The health crisis was therefore an opportunity to reveal sources of inventiveness and collective intelligence in the service of the common. One of the challenges of the post-crisis phase will be to maintain and strengthen this potential for open innovation in the service of the common.

International relations are at stake, so, in our opinion, regional cooperation will be more important than ever in a spirit of active solidarity. There are lessons to be learned in the foreshadowing of a Europe-Mediterranean-Africa strategic axis to build the regional solidarities of tomorrow on solid and lasting cultural, social and human foundations. Resilience must be regional and be built primarily in areas serving “care”: citizen security (health, food and economic), education, research and innovation.

From a “best-profit” globalization, we can move towards a “best-care” regionalization which constitutes a readjustment of humanity in a world where human mobility must continue to flourish.

Crisis management culture:

By strengthening their capacity to absorb external shocks, organizations contribute to reducing the vulnerability of productive systems and strengthening the resilience of the entire social body. Our societies must economically and symbolically revalue “care professions” (nurses, caregivers, cashiers, garbage collectors, social workers, transporters, etc.).

Invisible and sometimes legally insecure – a certain number of them operate in the informal sector – these “useful” professions contribute to the maintenance of society and its resilience.

Many economic sectors and institutions have seen their activity disrupted by the health crisis. Our organizations gave the feeling of discovering, in disbelief, the effects of the health crisis and of having to implement solutions. Work on resilient organizations shows that they develop virtuous capacities to prepare for crises: a critical look at practices, risk analysis, construction and testing of continuity plans.

By Pr. Hicham Sebti, Doctor in management, Director of the Euromed Business School (Euromed University of Fez).