From Britain’s political omnishambles to Hong Kong and the mainland grappling with Covid-19 to Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, 2022 was a year packed with world-shaping events.
Working fewer hours brings happiness and productivity, boosts consumption, and is part of the business solution to climate change.
The Indian government is attempting to starve the country of stories of the lack of oxygen, hospital beds and crematorium space. The vacuum is being filled instead with optimistic histrionics.
The racism that some citizens face at the hands of the police is not limited to just the US. Police in India don’t have a stellar record, either. In Hong Kong, there is a larger issue: the consequences of the morphing of the force on police-citizen interactions and on how citizens relate to each other.
The sheer breadth of the impact of Covid-19 has created a shared experience and global bonds which should live on even after everyone has been immunised.
History provides some important lessons as we attempt to move beyond the pandemic and embrace the new normal. Global crises of the past can serve as a road map as society rebuilds and explores enacting some fundamental reforms.
Human ingenuity is prevailing, not just in helping people get used to difficult pandemic measures, but also in circumventing them. Apathy, dangerously, is also a form of adaptation, to prevent oneself from being overwhelmed in these extreme times.
The sinister idea of a national redemption through the treating of some as lesser humans or insufficient citizens is taking root across democracies, from BJP’s pursuit of an India for Hindus to Trump’s purge of immigrant families.
The movements in Britain and Hong Kong involve young people and have met with tough police action. But while the Extinction Rebellion has inspired similar protests around the world, the cause of the Hong Kong protesters is less relatable.
In contrast to the civic-mindedness on evidence in Hong Kong’s rallies, large-scale protests in India tend towards violence that targets government infrastructure. What accounts for the difference?
Politicians trading barbs at election time in the early 2000s has evolved into a vicious stridency in public discourse, even among ordinary Indians, that hinges on identity politics, fuelled by the right-wing vision of India as a Hindu nation.