Only a few months into the Covid-19 pandemic, its disruption of our lives might still seem to be no more than a giant pause — global in scale and unprecedented, yes, but nonetheless temporary. But what if, as some experts reckon, this pause lasts years? What if there’s no return to normality even when it’s over? Maybe this pandemic isn’t an interlude, but a reset.
A reset to what? My guess is that it’ll amount to a great simplification. A simplification of our lives, priorities, schedules, memberships, finances, relationships and maybe even world views. But also a simplification of our societies. That’s because one of the side effects of Covid-19 is to expose the accumulation over decades — at least in the wealthy West — of untenable complexity in the individual, political and economic spheres of life.