COVID-19 has magnified the shortcomings of our failed paradigm of economy with all its imbalances, inequities and injustices. The pandemic has demonstrated a renewed demand from the citizenries of the OECD, indeed the citizens of the globe, for a new economic order. This is evident through the response to COVID-19, the burden of which fell to the State, and proved, if proof were ever required, that the State has the ability to play a leading, transformative role in crisis management and response; that the public sector has the capacity and expertise to deliver quality universal services to its citizens and do so effectively and fairly; that government can act decisively when the will is there. Yet the crisis has also shown us how so many of our citizens and their families are only ever one wage payment away from hardship; how the self-employed or workers in the so-called ‘gig’ economy lack security and are often impeded from access to basic employment rights; how private tenants in under-regulated housing markets are at the mercy of their landlords, how many designated ‘key workers’, those providing essential services, are shamefully undervalued and underpaid.

Michael D. Higgins

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