Learning from Covid-19 and the post-pandemic business world
Updated: Jan 22, 2021
It is the start of 2020. We believe we are unfailing; we think that our actions affect only our own being.
Its has been five months into 2020. The World Health Organization has just declared that nearly 5 million people have been infected by Covid-19 and over 300 000 people have died from the pandemic. We start seeing the vulnerability of the human body. We start dismantling the infallibility of the human race. We see that we are interdependent from one another. We learn that the health of your loved ones, or simply the person next to you, conditions your health. This is a very powerful lesson that can be easily adapted to other scenarios.
Let’s linger and apply the same rationale to human rights by taking a case in extremis. If a specific company decides to use children as workforce illegally, the same company is condoning and promoting an illegal act. This would quickly transform into a domino effect mechanism on other companies. If Company X does it and profits from it, so will Company Y and Company Z and so on. Needless to say, this would have a huge backlash on the international society. As the International Labour Organization has taught us, child labour leads to child abuse (physical, emotional and sexual) and lack of education. Child labour also acts as a catalyst for drug consumption and aggressive behaviour.
All of the above are human rights violations. In turn, child abuse becomes an infringement to the right to life, prohibition of torture, degrading and inhumane treatment and prohibition of slavery and servitude. The lack of education is converted into the violation of the right to education. The last sentence shows a vicious circle. If a child’s rights are abused, there are high chances that the same child will do the same in the future. Hence, if more companies adopt this standard, there are going to be more violations and abuses of human rights, and little chances of exiting this hell-hole.
One of Confucius’s quotes comes to mind “Don't do unto others what you don't want done unto you.” This is what I would describe as human rights. We always tend to concentrate on the negative actions of people or companies. So, let’s turn the scenario of above into a positive one for better understanding.
Company X adopts strict guidelines on the promotion of Human Rights and abandons child labour. It starts profiting of positive brand images, augmented selling of goods and services, increased stakeholders and less condemnations by the surrounding communities. Other companies set this as the example, as one after one, eliminate child labour. This increases child wellbeing, education, familiar relationships and the general society. There would be a decrease in child abuses, drug usage and child-led violence. The above-mentioned vicious circle would be broken for the better and slowly the same international human standards would be applied worldwide, creating a real international community.
This is the lesson that needs to be learnt from Covid-19. We are all interdependent on one another. We all need to work for the better good to have a true international community. Health, Human Rights, Fundamental Freedoms are all essential to everyone. No one can be left behind if not the circle will not be broken and we will continue promoting acts that are clear violations and abuses, resulting into more breaches.
Human rights better the society, and with the improvement of the society even the economy witness’s growth.