Spring 2020, which has been notable for the spread in Europe (after East Asia) of the Covid-19 pandemic, will undoubtedly mark a watershed in the way our societies are organized and operate in so many fields. This pandemic and its ensuing consequences will also take its toll on a France that was barely out of lockdown as this summer issue of Futuribles was going to press. The subject of the Covid-19 crisis and its impact is a long way from being fully examined yet and will gradually come to form part of the general context of analysis in many fields of study. It did, however, seem important to us to raise different — economic, social, health, food-related and ecological — aspects of the phenomenon while still ‘in the thick of the crisis’.
It is Nicolas Berg who opens this dossier, titled ‘Covid-19: Causes, Impacts and Strategies’, with a critical analysis of the longstanding unpreparedness of the international community for a pandemic and the responses to it, which he sees, like other observers, as too indiscriminate and often disproportionate. He stresses the serious, lasting consequences of this epidemic — ‘an economic, social and democratic tsunami’ — which may well cause more damage than the preventive measures have had in their sights, including in terms of morbidity and mortality. He calls for a rapid return to a more measured and regularly adjusted evaluation of risk, and recommends that we rapidly learn the lessons from an unprecedentedly emotion-driven spell of crisis management.