Ethics: October 2020 Current Affairs Current Affairs Notes | EduRev

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Current Affairs : Ethics: October 2020 Current Affairs Current Affairs Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


 
74                                                                               www.visionias.in                                                                        ©Vision IAS  
9. ETHICS 
9.1. PANDEMIC AND BEHAVIORAL CHANGE 
Context  
The Pandemic has not only affected our socio-economic situation by creating a health crisis, but this changed 
situation has also altered our behavior in many ways. The long lockdowns, uncertainty about the future and fear 
of the virus has triggered individual and collective behavioral changes.  
What are the behavioral changes we have adopted?  
As the pandemic has affected every aspect of our collective life, the behavior change needed and propagated by 
it spans across all dimensions-  
• Behavior in Public Places:  
o People are now increasingly desiring to avoid crowded areas and avoid physical contact.  
o People prefer to wear face mask when in public.  
• Behavior at personal level:  
o Recognition of importance of personal hygiene, e.g.- profound uptake in hand washing.  
o A section of people have been exhibiting high level of generosity, going out of their way to help people 
in need as they feel a sense of responsibility towards the society.  
o Unintentionally, many people have started associating virus to various communities and regions thus 
leading to stigmatization of those communities.  
• Economic behaviours:  
o The coronavirus containment measures have boosted digitization, e.g.-growth in contactless and online 
payments.  
o Discretionary spending has drastically decreased in the National as well as Global economy.  
• Work behaviours 
o A large section of people are preferring to work from home, taking help from the available digital 
communication tools.  
o Work from home has blurred the lines between work and home, with many stating that they feel they 
are always at work thus disturbing the prevalent work-life balance.  
What are the motivations behind these behavioral changes?  
• Uncertainty and anxiety: Absence of a clinical solution to pandemic, lack of knowledge and understanding 
about the virus and lack of clarity on when the pandemic will end has created a sense of uncertainty among 
people. Empirical studies show that humans as a species do not like uncertainty, this has forced people to 
think and thus change their behavior.  
o Further, the constant threat that the virus poses, creates fear within the person for oneself and also for 
the people around them. 
• Legal and Social obligation: Stringent methods like lockdowns and punitive measures have been adopted to 
stop the spread of virus. Thus, behavioral change of a large section of the population has not internally 
changed but is externally changed to legal and social compulsions.  
• Other factors: Individual and Collective behaviour is not solely guided by rational understanding. Other factors 
like social norms, behaviour of role models and most importantly, acceptance among peers and family plays 
an important role in shaping behaviour.   
What are learnings we can adopt from the current experience?  
It is unlikely that the situation we are facing today will exactly repeat itself in the near future. But the ingredients 
which comprise the current situation may repeat in the future. For instance, the uncertainty created by the 
Pandemic can be similar to the uncertainty created in future due to adoption of a new technology. These learnings 
can help people in the uncertain times of the future.  
• Behaviour is more emotional than rational: A person’s health-related behaviours ultimately stem from the 
desire to avoid illness. Thus, rationally one can argue that perceived benefits of the behaviour should be 
Page 2


 
74                                                                               www.visionias.in                                                                        ©Vision IAS  
9. ETHICS 
9.1. PANDEMIC AND BEHAVIORAL CHANGE 
Context  
The Pandemic has not only affected our socio-economic situation by creating a health crisis, but this changed 
situation has also altered our behavior in many ways. The long lockdowns, uncertainty about the future and fear 
of the virus has triggered individual and collective behavioral changes.  
What are the behavioral changes we have adopted?  
As the pandemic has affected every aspect of our collective life, the behavior change needed and propagated by 
it spans across all dimensions-  
• Behavior in Public Places:  
o People are now increasingly desiring to avoid crowded areas and avoid physical contact.  
o People prefer to wear face mask when in public.  
• Behavior at personal level:  
o Recognition of importance of personal hygiene, e.g.- profound uptake in hand washing.  
o A section of people have been exhibiting high level of generosity, going out of their way to help people 
in need as they feel a sense of responsibility towards the society.  
o Unintentionally, many people have started associating virus to various communities and regions thus 
leading to stigmatization of those communities.  
• Economic behaviours:  
o The coronavirus containment measures have boosted digitization, e.g.-growth in contactless and online 
payments.  
o Discretionary spending has drastically decreased in the National as well as Global economy.  
• Work behaviours 
o A large section of people are preferring to work from home, taking help from the available digital 
communication tools.  
o Work from home has blurred the lines between work and home, with many stating that they feel they 
are always at work thus disturbing the prevalent work-life balance.  
What are the motivations behind these behavioral changes?  
• Uncertainty and anxiety: Absence of a clinical solution to pandemic, lack of knowledge and understanding 
about the virus and lack of clarity on when the pandemic will end has created a sense of uncertainty among 
people. Empirical studies show that humans as a species do not like uncertainty, this has forced people to 
think and thus change their behavior.  
o Further, the constant threat that the virus poses, creates fear within the person for oneself and also for 
the people around them. 
• Legal and Social obligation: Stringent methods like lockdowns and punitive measures have been adopted to 
stop the spread of virus. Thus, behavioral change of a large section of the population has not internally 
changed but is externally changed to legal and social compulsions.  
• Other factors: Individual and Collective behaviour is not solely guided by rational understanding. Other factors 
like social norms, behaviour of role models and most importantly, acceptance among peers and family plays 
an important role in shaping behaviour.   
What are learnings we can adopt from the current experience?  
It is unlikely that the situation we are facing today will exactly repeat itself in the near future. But the ingredients 
which comprise the current situation may repeat in the future. For instance, the uncertainty created by the 
Pandemic can be similar to the uncertainty created in future due to adoption of a new technology. These learnings 
can help people in the uncertain times of the future.  
• Behaviour is more emotional than rational: A person’s health-related behaviours ultimately stem from the 
desire to avoid illness. Thus, rationally one can argue that perceived benefits of the behaviour should be 
 
75                                                                               www.visionias.in                                                                        ©Vision IAS  
enough for its adoption but they remain inadequate. Cigarette sales, for example did not decline significantly 
for years despite the ills of smoking having been widely publicised. 
o Emotional cues or triggers for a behaviour play a more important role changing behaviour. For instance-  
? Prime Minister’s call for a voluntary “Janata Curfew”, exhorting citizens to show that they care for 
themselves and their loved ones, and to display their patriotism was an emotive appeal blending fear, 
patriotism and gratitude.  
• Health is paramount: In any crises, it is an asset if the populations are healthy, both mentally and physically. 
In this context, governments, organizations and people should make an effort to adopt healthy behaviours like 
personal hygiene, encouraging physical fitness and provide due recognition to mental well-being.   
• If ‘Work from home’ works, others may work too: The pandemic forced both employers and employees to 
try work from home and break the inertia around the concept. It highlighted the benefits that it can give to 
both workers and business.  
o It brings a question, that there are several economic and social concepts that have not been tried on a 
large scale like ‘4-day week’, ‘24X7 economies’ among others. This forced experiment indicates that more 
regular experimentation should be done with lifestyles and the current or default may not be the best.  
• Importance of community: Response to public health emergencies requires changes in regular behavioural 
patterns. Encouraging these changes requires coordination and an understanding of the culture and 
communities affected. The local community are in the best position to effectively enforce an appropriate 
response.  
• Environmental Sustainability is not difficult: The period of lockdown saw decreased carbon footprint at 
unprecedented level. This highlights that nature has huge potential for self-replenishment if conducive 
conditions are provided. Thus, the experience and learnings from the pandemic can alter the way we approach 
environmental sustainability making it more easier and effective.  
Conclusion: Never let a crisis go to waste 
Studies suggest that almost 15% of the people during the pandemic will suffer from post-traumatic stress but at 
the same time it highlights that almost 50% will experience some kind of post-traumatic growth in the form of 
heightened sense of personal growth or higher sense of gratitude for the post COVID-19 world. Thus, it is possible 
for us as a society to grow through the pandemic with a clear understanding of goals and having the right 
motivations for the future.  
 
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