The COVID-19 pandemic along with the ensuing lockdowns and reverse migrations should be seen as an opportunity to create an egalitarian world with no fears of climate change, Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus said on Thursday.
One of the best ways to achieve the goal is by lessening the reliance on urban areas and cities, he said, pointing to micro entrepreneurship in the rural areas as a sustainable alternative that ought to be adopted.
Yunus, now 80, is a social entrepreneur who founded the micro-lending focused Grameen Bank and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.
"Coronavirus has given us an opportunity, let us go to a different place. We have the address, but need to find the path to that place. A place where there is no global warming and concentration of wealth," he said during an interaction organised by Ficci Flo here.
He said "we should be thankful to the pandemic for helping us show the grim realities of the world we stay in where there was deprivation right next to us all along but many of us tended to overlook it".
Economics has been driven by profit maximisation as the only tenet and needs to adjust to the new needs and also accommodate common interest of the society.
We've to redesign the entire financial system, which has become into a vehicle to suck up all the wealth from the bottom to the top, he said, pitching for micro enterprises to come out of what economics defines as the informal sector.
All along the way, economics has worked at formalisation of the labour and workforce by creating the institutional structures for more people to join the bandwagon, he said, advocating a shift to a stance where being in the informal sector is also accepted.
This can happen through creating infrastructure in the rural areas and also the institutional structures which will help a small entrepreneur, he said, adding that success in the rural areas will ensure that the same person is not forced to migrate.
He also touched upon the sights of millions of such migrants walking on the roads in India, and added that similar occurrence was observed in his country Bangladesh as well because the garment factories closed down.
The corona catastrophe is a great opportunity to reflect. We are locked down. Whole world got behind closed doors in a short while, he said, pitching for his idea of a new world.