Resilience in an infected society

Ton Wilthagen is Professor Labor Market at Tilburg University, driving force behind the theme “resilient society” within both Tilburg University and the National Science Agenda and currently NIAS-NSvP fellow.

Ton Wilthagen and Paulien Bongers

Resilience is the ability to anticipate, recover, and return to normal. But, we are also capable of eventually becoming stronger and better as a society, even as a result of an exceptional crisis caused by the corona outbreak.

In his already historic television speech on March 16, the Dutch Prime Minister Rutte outlined the far-reaching expectations and consequences of the raging coronavirus. It is clear that this coronavirus not only infects our own health but also the basic structures of society. In our part of the world, we sometimes seem immune to disastrous events that occur more often elsewhere. This does not appear to be the case at present. The resilience of individuals and of society as a whole will be put to the test in the coming period. But that same resilience will eventually lead to innovation in issues we have been stuck with for a very long time —and thus to progress. Read more