Carlos Cabrera Massanés, General Director, Institut Cerdà
A few days ago, Daniel Innerarity, stated in one of his articles that “it is exasperating to see that, in the face of this new situation, many of our fellow citizens are incapable of assessing the risks they are taking.” The acquired social culture of this Mediterranean country shows signs of a lax attitude compared to the seriousness of the challenges we face. Not only have we become relaxed about the situation but also, we do not comply with the established rules and regulations. Consequently, the situation will not be resolved with more or less confinement; instead, our failure to behave correctly will require the competent authorities to recommend or to compel us to act accordingly for the common good.
This brings us to the root of the problem of the current management of the crisis. Above and beyond the sanitary issues, the crisis involves and will lead to a perceived security problem (and let us not forget that in this context the “perception”, is just as, if not more important than, the “reality”) and a great deal more management of public order.
And that is where the difficulty lies. Public order involves two implicit questions, the first is that decisions must be made, even at the risk of being wrong. Therefore, it is important to have a great deal of respect for the people and institutions making the decisions and, simultaneously, to be extremely critical with those who should take decisions and yet do not, for fear of being wrong or, in the public sphere, for fear of a possible future loss of votes.
This pandemic is clearly showing, not so much who has the ability to make decisions, as who has the will to want to take them. However, what is now at stake is the country’s economic and social recovery and the challenge is to achieve this without falling into the mistakes of the past and whilst maintaining and intensifying our commitment to sustainability and the environment. In this context, decision-making is essential.
An emblematic case is the tourism sector, which, in addition to its importance in GDP and job creation, has a critical impact in sectors such as culture or agriculture and food, or in the urban and social life of our cities. Clearly, the tourism sector has made and is making a huge effort overall to adapt to the new circumstances derived from the crisis. However, the what is needed, rather than lavish spending on easy and sterile promotional campaigns on our beaches, our commerce or gastronomy, is a focus on recovering maximum social security climate as soon as possible. Only in this way will citizens once again enjoy the places where they live. And, only when this happens, will visitors and tourists be convinced that we are offering a framework of security and respect for social life. So, this is where the focus of investment and decision making must be.
And, while we talk about security, and going back to Daniel Innerarity: “we will not be prepared to face this type of crisis until we are able to think differently and conceive our obligations in another way.” Therefore, in the first place, we must ask ourselves what we can and should do. We must also demand that our public representatives make decisions that favour of the general, common, good rather than just the particular interests of a few or of a certain group and, furthermore, that they abandon simplistic, empty and dubious speeches that to nothing to help resolve the situation.
If we fail to do this, our only consolation will probably be that one of the outcomes of this situation is that we will finally have all the parameters to accurately determine the stature of our institutional representatives.