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The old normal wasn't working: now we can build something better


After this crisis we can build a 21st century economy and society - and save ourselves with a vision of a world made new, writes Edward Cameron

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'Bounce back': Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addressing the nation on St Patrick's Day

'Bounce back': Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addressing the nation on St Patrick's Day

'Bounce back': Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addressing the nation on St Patrick's Day

According to her son, Eleanor Roosevelt said the same prayer every night and closed with this wish: "Save us from ourselves and show us a vision of a world made new." This prayer reminds me that in the midst of managing crisis we must also keep one eye on the better future we want to create.

Covid-19 is both a public health emergency, bringing personal tragedy into households across the globe, and an economic crisis. GDP and government revenues are falling as unemployment and poverty rise. The European Commission is projecting a 7.5pc drop in growth this year with unemployment rising to at least 9pc. Irish GDP is expected to decline by at least 10pc, while the April unemployment rate jumped to a new record high of 28.2pc. Two weeks ago our worst-case scenario looked like the Great Depression. Last week, the Bank of England announced British GDP will likely fall by 14pc - a fall last seen in 1706!

It is natural that we want this nightmare to end and that we yearn for a return to normal. But we must remember normal wasn't working.