Economic disruption can be harnessed for good, like tackling climate change: but right now we have all pain and no gain
“The pandemic is a portal,” wrote Arundhati Roy back in April. It has since become commonplace to argue that coronavirus has created both a need and an opportunity for fundamental change. Though we might like to pretend otherwise, the kind of deep-seated changes we need to confront our ongoing crises would certainly be disruptive. Retiring dirty industries and growing clean ones is disruptive. Shifting from an economy that bids up land values to one that does socially useful things is disruptive. Redressing the imbalance between London and the rest of the country is disruptive.
The pandemic means that much of this disruption is now happening anyway. We are enduring the pain – so couldn’t this be an opportunity to gain?
Does the fall in commercial property values provide a chance to bring land back into public or community ownership?