Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World – Fareed Zakaria Book Summary

Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World – Fareed Zakaria | Free Book Summary

Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World – Fareed Zakaria

This book foresees the nature of a post-pandemic world. It considers the upcoming political, social, technological, and economic consequences

Lesson 3 – Markets Do Not Dictate Happiness

Zakaria accepts that markets with appropriate regulations ensure a relatively level playing field. However, the market performing well does not mean society is performing well. Currently, science, technology, and education in America lack crucial funding. Therefore, Zakaria suggests America needs to take a leaf out of the Nordic countries’ economic policies. This is the only way America can continue to compete with worldwide technological and economic development.

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The Other Side

America should continue to accept the importance of markets and understand that some fields need more support. This does not mean we should adopt a carbon copy of Denmark’s economic policies. Instead, America needs to adopt some of these foundations and apply them to America’s reality.

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Lesson 4 – Experts and People Need to Develop Mutual Respect

The pandemic and recent American elections have highlighted that people are starting to trust experts less. Part of the problem is that experts have become an elite group who develop power and authority based on their knowledge. Certain countries have pushed back against this elitism, including America and Brazil. This has led to governments built on celebrations of ignorance rather than knowledge. These governments form policies based on populism rather than facts.

The Response To The Pandemic

America and Brazil’s COVID-19 responses show that rejecting experts’ opinions does not produce good results. However, the responsibility also lies with the experts. Experts must learn to connect with people and avoid an elitist bubble. The most destructive thinking is believing that your success makes you superior in your society. After all, in democracies, at least, the wishes of the population are the ultimate source of authority.

Lesson 5 – The Digital World Is Here to Stay

The pandemic pushed us closer to our technology. It has encouraged people to consider the possibility of us becoming completely dependent on computers and artificial intelligence. However, Zakaria argues that we are already practically at this point. A phone in our pocket has greater access to information than any person could possess, and can solve complex tasks in nanoseconds. Many of our systems depend on technology.

Lesson 6 – We Are Social Animals


Aristotle described humans as social animals. As humans, we built cities to socialize and help each other. Whether economic, social, or political, almost every significant movement in history began in cities. This was where the individuals responsible could organize and gather to become a force for change. Even though our cities have reached a standstill due to lockdown, the human hard-wiring to socialize will always remain.

The lockdown has brought out many people’s tendencies to participate in more significant things than themselves. It has pulled together communities and inspired socialization and cooperation among neighbors. We have seen enormous acts of generosity, kindness, and empathy. We need this connectivity to remain after the pandemic.

Lesson 7 – Inequality Will Get Worse


The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted inequality within our society, and it has decreased it in some areas. The most obvious way inequality has narrowed is between the healthy and the ill. Many people who were used to being healthy all the time have crossed the divide and experienced severe illness. Subsequently, many people have changed their views of individuals who are often ill. This has helped form a better understanding of illness and increased empathy in society as a whole.

Lesson 8 – Globalization Is Not Dead


The new age of technology has connected all the world and created mass globalization. We are more interconnected than ever before, and our economies heavily depend on other economies. Although many countries talk of deglobalization and improved self-sufficiency, there are many areas where this isn’t currently feasible. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has had significant impacts on trade and will continue to do so, it’s unlikely to end globalization.

Hard-edged realpolitik is still lurking. With the rise of China and growing tensions with America, a conflict could be around the corner. Therefore, although globalization has offered fantastic opportunities, it has the potential to create conflict based on economics.

Lesson 9 – The World Is Becoming Bipolar

There are many divisions in our world, and these seem to be becoming stronger, both nationally and internationally. The US-China battle is a form of bipolarity. The two countries are different in many ways, and the sense of division is increasing. Both countries are striving for trade, technological, and political dominance. China has begun challenging the US for power. The US’s decline on the global stage has caused many forms of tension. Its poor approach to the COVID-19 pandemic increased these problems. Some experts are concerned about the potential for another Cold War.

Bipolar World Contd.

We can see this same bipolarity across large parts of the world in various contexts. For example, the political divide between the right and the left is becoming starker in America and parts of Europe. Zakaria believes this bipolarity is inevitable. However, we can decide whether these differences in opinion lead to violence. This will require collaboration from the whole world, not only China and the US.

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