As economists realize that the world has entered a new economic era, Foreign Policy asked 13 economists to name and identify this new era. Among them was Betsey Stevenson, Ford School professor of public policy and economics. She named the new era the "Age of (Re)Discovery."
"People are emerging from a year of loss, isolation, and change. They will need to rekindle friendships and acquaintances and learn to be and feel safe in a crowd," Stevenson wrote. "Many will rediscover the thrill of a crowded concert or sporting event, while others will discover that new passions have replaced the old. People are rediscovering their work commute, and many workers and employers are busy discovering a new way of working—one that seeks to find a balance between the benefits of working from home and its costs."
She credits the pandemic for these changes.
"The pandemic changed technology and our relationship with it, and we will all be discovering how to use the advantages of technology in a world in which face-to-face contact is safe again," she said. "Enough time has passed that COVID-19 was not just a pause; we will not simply return to pre-pandemic life. We have a period of great adjustment ahead as we discover what comes back into our lives and what doesn’t, as well as what grows anew."
Read the entirety of Stevenson's commentary, as well as 12 other economists' opinions, here.