I’m convinced history is just an accumulation of accidents; there is no general direction.
What will happen ‘after’ the pandemic is over? Most likely, the answer is ‘whatever will happen’.
A significant number of people with spare time are engaged right now in thought exercises, trying to speculate about what will come. The New Yorker has an article this week on how the Black Death allegedly triggered the Italian Renaissance. The gist is that because their contemporary institutions had been so rooted in superstition, failing miserably to both interpret and tackle the pandemic of 1347 A.D., that the zeigeist became more cynical, more profane, and more empirical, leading to a revolution in their worldview. Art and science followed.
The article predicted nothing specific for the current pandemic, except a looming surplus of labor, meaning mass unemployment.
Economically, we can’t even predict whether we’re going towards inflation or deflation (in Lebanon it’s hyper-inflation right now, whilst in the UK, it’s closer to deflation).
Socially, the big question is, if a vaccine is found, will everything return to the consumerist-based ‘normal’? Will the world improve with many of the right lessons learned? Will we as individuals and as societies, work for more compassion, solidarity, and pooling of resources, or will our selfish survival instincts prevail?
My bland answer is ‘both’. Also, ‘whatever’.