In the view of the future to which progressive thinkers cling, the future is an embellished version of the recent past. No doubt this helps them preserve some semblance of sanity. It also undermines what is now our most vital attribute: the ability to adapt and fashion different ways of life. The task ahead is to build economies and societies that are more durable, and more humanly habitable, than those that were exposed to the anarchy of the global market.
What the virus is telling us is not only that progress is reversible – a fact even progressives seem to have grasped – but that it can be self-undermining. To take the most obvious example, globalisation produced some major benefits – millions have been lifted out of poverty. This achievement is now under threat. Globalisation begat the de-globalisation that is now under way.