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Giving Compass' Take:
• Carol Graham and Benjamin Miller, at Brookings, discuss coronavirus' role in revealing deeply rooted structural problems in the economy, health, and social connection.
• How can donors help incite resilience and unity to prevent further damage to our societies after the pandemic?
COVID-19 has caused a perfect storm for the global economy, for our societies, and for our health. COVID-19 is holding up a magnifying glass to deep- and hard-set structural problems in our nation—problems that negatively impact our health and well-being.
As a nation, the United States—like many other advanced economies—was already dealing with the fallout from the decline of low-skilled work. From the rise of populism and the backlash against globalization to, most starkly, deaths of despair—deaths due to drug, alcohol, and suicide—our problems have been deeply rooted in a codified structure that does not work for all people. Related challenges such as an increasingly frustrated population that has been left behind in rapidly growing middle-income countries and the disruption that artificial intelligence poses to labor markets in all economies only compound the issues.
Enter the COVID-19 virus in 2020. It has delivered a huge blow to economies around the world the likes of which most living Americans have never seen. Low-skilled workers are especially at risk. Recent estimates of the labor market fallout in the U.S., based on Gallup data from April, show that 18 percent of the labor force has been laid off (most temporarily), and 33 percent of the labor force is experiencing either unemployment or reduced working hours. There were over 20 million unemployment claims filed in the month of April alone.
Equally important, our best-intentioned responses have disrupted social connections and the role that they play in helping people cope with crises. This latter hit could have a major impact on deaths of despair, as the population that is most vulnerable economically tends to have fragile social and community ties and is most vulnerable to these deaths.
Read the full article about coronavirus and deeply rooted structural problems by Carol Graham and Benjamin Miller at Brookings.