There has been only negative news about the crisis. We read about how it all went wrong and how the crisis gets worse every year. We went from a crisis that only existed on the stock exchange and the banks to a crisis that became very real in all of our lives. I think we all know someone who got fired or who can’t sell his or her house because nobody can buy it. But they say there are two sides to every story. This made me wonder, is there a side to this crisis that we haven’t heard about? Maybe the worst economic crisis since the 1930s is something positive. To test my theory I asked three professors their opinion about the positive sides of this crisis.
An unexpected opportunity
Let’s start with the most important question: Are there any positives sides to this crisis? All the sociologists I asked agreed that there is a positive side to the crisis. Tine de Moor is a historian. “You have to think about the victims but there are positive sides to this crisis.” De Moor said.
“I think people will search for new opportunities outside the things they are used to. People will do more things themselves like arrange childcare for their kids while they are at work. They are forced to do this because the facilities that we have now are becoming to expensive.” De Moor said.
Crisis as a motivator
Changes may be positive, they are most likely involuntarily according to Professor in Sociology Ringo Ossewaarde. “You see that people are starting to change their way of life. In the 90s, the years of prosperity, it was very normal to have two cars. Now you see that some people decided to get rid of all their cars, because they value their cars way less than they did before the crisis.” Ossewaarde said.
Bob Bouhuijs is a social and cultural teacher at Windesheim University. He thinks the crisis is a time for people to be creative. “If you are unemployed and you don’t have enough money to but new things you can start to trade goods with other people without a job.” Bouhuijs said. “Some groups of people, like artists, are more on their own now the government has no money to spare. This can lead to two scenarios: The artist gets poorer or he gets more creative and finds other ways to make money with his art.”
Lets become a farmer
Bouhuijs thinks the crisis is a chance for people to reinvent themselves. “Some people who get fired from their jobs see this as an opportunity. They have more time for their family then and they get to do what they really love. For example if you got fired and you always wanted to start an organic farm, this is the time to do it.”
Ossenwaarde agrees with him. “People start to look for comfort in more immaterial matters like charity and self-reflection. They are forced to look for other ways to find comfort because they can’t afford their usual lifestyle anymore. I think the crisis is the moment to break with familiar patterns, you see this already with young people who live at home longer.” According to Ossenwaarde.
Can we have a little bit more crisis?
So all professors see some good in these times of crisis, but you need the crisis to change. Their predictions for our future will not come true if the crisis is over in two months. I learned that the positive side of this crisis is that it can bring people closer together whether we like it or not.
By Bart Draper & Hanneke Lindenburg