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This crisis shows we need a social contract to protect all our people

Sean Healy


In the aftermath of Covid-19, there should be a new system to put an income floor under everybody in society

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‘A key part of the social contract is solidarity between generations.’ (stock image)

‘A key part of the social contract is solidarity between generations.’ (stock image)

Getty Images/iStockphoto

‘A key part of the social contract is solidarity between generations.’ (stock image)

The OECD has defined the Covid-19 pandemic as the third and greatest economic, financial and social shock of the 21st Century. In the coming months, when we begin to think of the future beyond the current crisis, we need to build a new social contract that can repair our economy and society in the Covid-19 aftermath, and that can withstand future shocks.

With more than 200,000 jobs lost in the space of a fortnight, and our economy essentially in a ''deep freeze'', we need a social contract that can steer our society and our economy along the difficult road ahead.

The social contract is the, often unwritten, agreement whereby citizens contribute to the common good - whether economically, socially or culturally - on the assumption that the State will provide a minimum standard of living, essential social services and infrastructure, and the protection of their basic rights.