Basing Action and Structures on Values in a Post-Corona World

14 Pages Posted: 5 May 2020

See all articles by Christopher Hodges OBE

Christopher Hodges OBE

University of Oxford - Centre for Socio-Legal Studies; Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 30, 2020


Every country has experienced profound attack from the Coronavirus. Every state will now face deep economic damage, possibly for a prolonged period. The next stage of economic disruption produces some winners and many losers. It inherently carries risks of widespread unemployment, collapse of companies, services, taxation revenues, and consequential risks of social unrest, criminal exploitation, revolution, cyber exploitation and warfare, and possibly the collapse of states and societies, and invasion by foreign powers. Much depends on how things are handled by a small number of political leaders around the world, the decisions that they take, and the actions that they are able to implement. These challenges arise on top of the other existential risk of climate change and the extinction of species, which may now risk being overlooked. The risks to civilisation could not be more serious.

How should we respond? Many wise suggestions will be made by experts on the economic, employment and administrative aspects. This analysis contributes a different perspective based on what seem to be people’s basic views of what they value. Certain values are being re-emphasised as fundamentally important, and we should consider the implications. The prevailing values of a society should be the foundation of the political decisions that are taken in the coming period of economic disruption and increased poverty, and of the evaluation of those decisions. We should also use the values to consider what changes may be necessary in structures, systems, processes actions and behaviours, so as to minimise harm and maximise the achievement of the intended goals.

The argument is that a change is occurring in which pursuit of personal wealth and success at the expense of others is being replaced by recognition of the need to found society and commerce on interconnectedness. Further, this change can only be effective if it is based on the human values of other-regarding and mutual support and solidarity based on a demonstrable commitment to ethical values in conduct. That understanding of the basis of value-based relationships provides the foundation for rethinking the structures and institutions that will be needed.

Keywords: trust, values, evidence, trustworthiness, regulation

JEL Classification: K00, K20, M00, O00

Suggested Citation

Hodges OBE, Christopher, Basing Action and Structures on Values in a Post-Corona World (April 30, 2020). Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 18/2020, Available at SSRN: or

Christopher Hodges OBE (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Centre for Socio-Legal Studies ( email )

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Faculty of Law ( email )

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