Published on Monday, November 16, 2020

Global | The COVID-19 trilemma

The fact we can't have everything means we have to face all kinds of dilemmas every day: party or study, beach or mountains, spend today or save for tomorrow. But with COVID-19, the world has not faced a dilemma but a trilemma.

Key points

  • Key points:
  • While not in common parlance, this word is often used by economic policy scholars to describe a crossroads at which you must do without at least "one in three" legitimate objectives.
  • With regard to COVID-19, the various waves of this pandemic have forced different countries to adopt stances toward three important values: privacy, health and the economy.
  • Of these three objectives, several Asian societies chose to restrict the right to privacy. And we are not just talking about China. Democracies such as South Korea have implemented effective tracking systems so they can triangulate the contacts for each new infected case detected.
  • Germany summarizes the West's position in the face of the COVID-19 trilemma as: fiercely protecting privacy, thereby reducing the trilemma to a dilemma between health and economic activity.
  • COVID-19 has reminded us that the long-term is always uncertain. The pandemic will eventually be confined to history, leaving numerous scars in its wake… but it remains to be seen whether it will also make us stronger.

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