No Going Back

 by Kristalina Georgieva

Investing in policies for people will help shape a better economy for the postcrisis world

As the pandemic resurges across many nations, it is only natural to wish for a swift return to a pre-pandemic world. If only we could quickly lift the clouds of uncertainty, frustration, and despair. The virus has taken more than a million lives, and hundreds of millions more have been altered forever by rising poverty, massive job losses, and interruptions to education. We now face the risk of a lost generation, especially in the developing world.

But we cannot—and should not—go back to the economy of yesterday, with its slow growth, low productivity, high inequality, and worsening climate crisis. We must look ahead to a future where we do things differently. There are two massive, urgent tasks: to fight the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and to start building forward toward a greener, more inclusive, and more dynamic world.

We can draw inspiration from those who have made a difference during the pandemic. This includes health care workers, delivery drivers, and janitorial workers—many of whom have difficulty making ends meet despite their hard work and the risks they are taking for others.

To help these workers and all their people, governments have provided about $12 trillion in fiscal lifelines to households and firms. Extraordinary monetary policy actions have maintained the flow of credit, helping millions of firms stay in business. This is a foundation for progress, but even greater challenges may lie ahead.

A major aim is to create a better economy for everyone. Let me highlight some key priorities to help get us there: invest in women and young people and in education and skills programs that will open opportunities and boost productivity. I call these “policies for people.”

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