Horasis, an independent international think tank, recently organized an online discussion on COVID-19 and how it is affecting the socio-political scenario across the world. The organization is committed to inspiring the future. It has been conducting a series of discussions on the sidelines of the UNGA.
The theme of this discussion was COVID-19: The Elephants in the Room, referring to whether we too are subject to government whims and are suppressed by regulators that nullify our inspiration and creativity.
The discussion panel, chaired by Patricia Falco Beccalli, Chief Executive Officer, Principle AG, Switzerland, debated about the factors that will impact post COVID recovery but may be beyond our control. While opening the discussion, Beccalli said that the current pandemic is not the elephant in the room, but a mere catalyst to that puts the spotlight on a lot many elephants in the room that have been happening and lingering for years if not decades. It actually showed where things are burning and going wrong, which have been in complete ignorance till now.
“The lockdown may or may not have been right but seven months into the pandemic, these lockdowns have definitely succeeded in destructing a lot of the value created. The economy is going through a turmoil, people are losing their jobs, their homes, which could generate a much bigger crisis in the long term than what is seen right now,” she added.
Amid concerns that consumers are not willing to spend and that small businesses are shutting down, the main point of the discussion was the government policies enforced during the pandemic. Almost everywhere, the governments have spun policies around their political agendas, conveniently forgetting small businessmen and the working class population. Caught in the middle of this frenzy is the MSME sector.
Since a large section of the population is left with little to no money, consumers are refraining themselves from spending much, which, in turn, is leading to the shrinking of the economy. Tarun Anand, the Founder and Chairman of Universal Business School (UBS), India, stated that small businessmen need to look at consumers with a new approach and understand the demand curve. “30 years of learning, 30 years of earning, and 30 years of retirement is not the model anymore – we all have to be lifelong learners,” he said.
Other panelists were Shailendra Goswami, Chairman and MD, Pushkaraj Group, India, Adam A. Jacoby, Founder and Chief Steward, MiVote, Australia, and Edsel Tupaz, Partner, Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra, The Philippines.