The Covid-19 interstate travel restrictions are still in place in South Australia with respect to Victoria and they have become harder—Victorians have been locked out. The national economy continues to contract. The re-opening of the economy has become political. The free market crowd’s position is that the economy will burst into life with a big bounce into a fast recovery with incomes and jobs bouncing back. If this is too happen public health should not be prioritised over economic activity, because the costs of lockdowns to prevent the Covid-19 virus spreading are greater than the benefit. All will be well again if we open the borders between the states and lift the draconian public health restrictions. The disease, they have assumed, would be no worse than a bad flu season.
This free market snapback approach to getting Australia moving again is a fiction. The new normal is gradually reopening the economy, loosening strict social-distancing measures, Covid-19 hotspots popping up through community transmission in the capital cities, a public health strategy of case identification, contact tracing, isolation/quarantine and close monitoring, reimposed restrictions, further economic damage (closed down businesses and unemployment) and more government subsidies for small business.
Even if the worst of the pandemic is over in Australia I don’t really know what is going on right now in any real detail. This is because the pandemic is more than an economic shock. We are living through a deep-seated transformative moment. If the future is even more of a black box than the present, the sense of future upheaval arises from the realisation that there will be no return to the status quo ante of an inhuman neo-liberal globalisation that gave priority to corporate interests.
A question: ‘Will the globalisation of health for the sake of our humanity mean that national and international health policies will continue to take large sectors of the economy out of the command of the marketplace, due to the policy fundamentals protecting the safety of the population cannot be driven by profit maximisation or corporate self-interest?’ The Covid-19 pandemic has its origins in our colonisation of nature and species destruction with the implication that another pandemic is on the cards causing national governments to once agin put their people’s lives before profit maximisation and limitless growth.
It was unfortunate that the Covid-19 lockdown put paid to both the Adelaide Art Photographers -1970 2000 exhibition and the book launch. The physical exhibition at the RSASA never opened, and it eventually went online. The books remain unsold and so constructing an online corner store becomes a necessity. The online Encounters Gallery, newsletter, corner store and forthcoming, online exhibitions are a minute part of photography’s transition to going online in a globalised digital world.