Streitraum 20/21

Another shock therapy – what kind of society do we want to be »after« COVID-19?

The crisis of the pandemic is working like a contrast agent injected into society, rendering visible what is ailing us, what is weakening and harming us, but also what is indispensable and needs to be redistributed, supported or expanded. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, there was not just one but a multitude of social questions: How can social inequality be tackled? How can the exclusion of economically and culturally marginalised people be addressed collaboratively? What value is given to human work in the age of artificial intelligence and digitalisation? How can the erosion of public infrastructure be halted, the monetisation of all areas of life? What would an ecological transformation of agriculture, transport policy and the economy look like that equitably distributes the costs? Political lethargy or reluctance has so far prevented these questions from being answered. But some of the parameters in the political discourse have now changed: the neoliberal dogma of deregulation no longer remains unabatedly in force. The importance of social welfare systems, the indispensability of investment in healthcare and decent salaries—but also how the debt ceiling is no longer sacrosanct—can all be denied no more.

How can we prevent all these lessons from being forgotten as soon as the crisis is »over«? Which political and social utopian visions are now required? How should a different normality be conceived?

Streitraum is a monthly discussion series at the Schaubühne that has been moderated and curated by publicist and author Carolin Emcke since 2004. Scientists, writers, politicians, artists and other public figures are invited to join the discussion. The Streitraum focuses on a new topic every season. All nine episodes can be watched live online.