[Post updated to include the entire quote from The Atlantic which is to be the basis for the proposed research]
23 hours ago Ulli Ecker posted this on Reddit:
COVID-19 will change the world forever. But how will it change? What will the post-COVID world look like? More important, what do we want it to look like?
We cannot be sure how the future will unfold, but it takes little imagination to see that we are at a bifurcation in history, and we may spiral towards one of two radically different new states. Ed Yong—focusing on the U.S.—put it brilliantly in The Atlantic:
“Despite his many lapses, Trump’s approval rating has surged. Imagine that he succeeds in diverting blame for the crisis to China, casting it as the villain and America as the resilient hero. During the second term of his presidency, the U.S. turns further inward and pulls out of NATO and other international alliances, builds actual and figurative walls, and disinvests in other nations. As Gen C grows up, foreign plagues replace communists and terrorists as the new generational threat.
One could also envisage a future in which America learns a different lesson. A communal spirit, ironically born through social distancing, causes people to turn outward, to neighbors both foreign and domestic. The election of November 2020 becomes a repudiation of “America first” politics. The nation pivots, as it did after World War II, from isolationism to international cooperation. Buoyed by steady investments and an influx of the brightest minds, the health-care workforce surges. Gen C kids write school essays about growing up to be epidemiologists. Public health becomes the centerpiece of foreign policy. The U.S. leads a new global partnership focused on solving challenges like pandemics and climate change. In 2030, SARS-CoV-3 emerges from nowhere, and is brought to heel within a month.”
Simon Mair spelled out 4 possible futures in the Conversation that fall along the same continuum from nationalist-Darwinian to multilateral-cooperative.
In this study, we plan to present (representative) participants with two brief vignettes that instantiate those two possible extreme futures and then ask 4 questions:
a. Which outcome do you prefer?
b. Which outcome do you think is most likely to occur?
c. Which outcome do you think most other people in your country would prefer?
d. Which outcome do you think most other people around the world would prefer?
Comparing responses to a. against responses to c. and d. would allow us to detect potential pluralistic ignorance – that is, a state in which people who hold the majority opinion feel they are in the minority. This can happen if loud voices in society are overshadowing the quieter majority.
Also 23 hours ago, Professor Lewandowsky tweeted a link to what he describes as “New project being planned with @UlliEcker,” inviting collaboration and comments. The tweet is carefully phrased in the passive voice, avoiding first person pronouns, but I think we can take it that at the back of the Ulli is a Lew.
So far no-one has replied.