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One frustration under circumstances like those brought by covid-19 is that a greater emergency makes it seem like other emergencies are not emergencies. This menacing disease overshadows your personal financial crisis, your other health issues or anything else. The forces at play cornered people into deciding to either fight for personal interest or for the greater good. Consequentially most people have found themselves facing the prisoner’s dilemma.

A prisoner’s dilemma in the fortress

So covid-19 entered our cities. We ran indoors. That is the safe thing to do while researchers look for a way to fight back. On one front, covid-19 is killing our friends and family. On another front our common enemies like poverty and unemployment have taken advantage of our forced break. And so the war rages on even inside the fortress. There, where life goes on, are social or business pressures and incentives to betray the greater good. There are people who escaped from quarantine and those who violated health precautions for personal reasons. In this prisoner’s dilemma scenario, many people defected.

It gets worse in a dog eat dog society

It’s ironic. We are screaming loud about our closed cities and social distancing yet we act in such a way that endangers the same society we miss. The cornerstone of cities and business transactions is a level of common understanding that facilitates exchange. There should be no moment we lose that sense of community and the social responsibility it entails. Even after the pandemic we have to develop a sense of trust within the society. Or at least structures that promote cooperative effort.

Maybe you can’t change the world but you can change your world. Make a difference where you are today.

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