While the world is fighting against Covid-19, the legal world needs to reflect on the problems that the outbreak has caused and how the world after the outbreak will take shape. Only then can a link be established between world of tomorrow and the law of the tomorrow.
It is known that major epidemics are among the factors that have led to radical economic, social and political changes throughout history. Following the plague that ravaged Europe the workforce had substantially decreased while the wages of the workers had increased, which lead to the increase in financial development for the poor. The increase in welfare was also one of the factors that accelerated the renaissance and reform movements in Europe. It is known that the Spanish flu that started during the First World War sped up the events leading to the end of the war while it lead to the destructive results on the road to the Great Depression starting in 1929. Therefore, it is not difficult to foresee that this outbreak will bring radical changes in terms of the changes to human life and the destructive effects on the economy caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
History has always taught us that radical changes always have more than one underlying reason. The Post-Covid-19 world should be analyzed together with factors such as the impasse created by current policies, ongoing wars and climate change, which is one of the negative effects of industrialization. It is stipulated that the crisis caused by the Covid-19 outbreak shall not be the last global crisis to happen within the century. It is also evident that if the necessary measures are not taken fast enough, climate change will become irreversible and it will be inevitable that we will experience more devastating crises than we are experiencing now. The problems and global losses encountered during the pandemic have shown us that larger crises cannot be managed with existing methods. It is clear that the changes brought by the pandemic have become imperative to develop new methods to combat this type of global crisis. In which direction these changes will take place is a matter to be considered.
According to Chomsky [i], the good thing about the Covid-19 crisis is that it gave us the opportunity to think about what world we want to live in. In our opinion, the question of what kind of world we have to live in should also be considered. This question is not a question that is solely based on virtues such as kindness or conscience that we attribute to all individuals, but is a question regarding the basic instinct within all humans, the desire to survive.
Many different possibilities are discussed in this regard although it is not clear yet which direction the world will go after the outbreak. These possibilities swing on both ends of the pendulum from the rise and establishment of authoritarian states, to the radical establishment of governments that will be tailored to the needs of all people. We believe that human life is the priority and that life can only continue in this way while states that prioritize human needs can only be achieved through the strengthening of democracies. During the epidemic, we have observed that the state intervenes in the private sector if necessary. However, we are also experiencing that the vital urgent needs of the masses as a result of such a crisis can only be resolved in this way, and this situation is in the benefit of everyone in the long term.
The period we are experiencing has also resulted in the reconsideration of the law on human rights in many countries. Democrats in America are trying to convince a part of the public that the right to health is a basic right that everyone is entitled to. Butler[ii], asks in an article on the Covid-19 crisis why we do not see the right to health as an obligation of the state. The positive obligation of the state, which is at the core of the theory of human rights, is related to the fact that the state is obliged not only to recognize but also to provide human rights.
Agamben[iii] argues that the virus is not serious enough to require such intervention, but states are trying to create a permanent exception by turning the epidemic into an opportunity. Although we disagree with this notion, if changes are made towards authoritarianization the normalization of the restriction of human rights due to security reasons during the pandemic may be in question. The rise of xenophobia due to a closed doors policy in connection with authoritarianization may lead to violations in fundamental human rights. In the face of these possibilities, it should be our priority to address the impacts of such practices during and after the crisis on human rights, and to seek ways to finalize this period with gains and empowerment in terms of human rights.
We believe that, financial, legal and academic circles playing a leading role for the advancement of the society should reflect on the changes that will be brought by this process and that they should create forward-looking and permanent alternatives for the failing and inadequate aspects within the current system. These efforts will create a roadmap not only for the current crises, but also for similar global crises that may appear in the future. This article is an effort to make a modest contribution to the roadmap from the world of law.
[ii] J. Butler’s article titled “Capitalism Has Limits” published on Verso on March 30,2020
[iii] G. Agamben, “Lo stato d’eccezione provocato da un’emergenza immotivata” on February 26, The Turkish translation was published on terrabayt.com.