American Fault Lines and a Silver Lining

4. The collapsing economy is a rude awakening, but its fragility hides a transformative power. The coronavirus proves a sociological truth: the social order is what people make it to be. These past weeks, changes thought to be unimaginable happened overnight, from grounding air travel to paid sick leave. The crisis is an invitation to put a new value on jobs and services — and to bridge the gap between worth and compensation. Why are today’s “essential workers” some of the lowest-paid in the country? Whose services, today, do people miss the most? The country’s response to the virus has shown what people are willing to surrender to prevent deaths they cannot accept. It provides an opportunity to add other ills to the list and a chance to set the ‘new normal’: a greener, kinder and fairer America, or a return to the plutocratic, precarious and polluted present? This post is based on “5 lessons from the coronavirus about inequality in America. The Conversation” (
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