The spread of the epidemic has generated fear in our societies, which have become remarkably vulnerable in the face of the virus. But Dominique Moïsi reckons that another sentiment could take over: that of public anger. This anger is all the more toxic because it draws on resentments that, fueled as they are by a sense of inequality in destinies, predate the current crisis.
The small kingdom of Bhutan, landlocked between China, India and Nepal, is not only a mecca for tourism. It is also the country of GNH (Gross National Happiness), a notion that is, according to its architects, far more sophisticated and modern than the infinitely more "banal" GNP (Gross National Product).
As the "alarm bell for unemployment" (le tocsin du chômage) starts to ring - to use the title of a recent column by Jean-Marc Vittori - it may be time to consider creating a third index: GNA, for Gross National Anger. Why should we not measure the stirrings of the human soul, as we do for the Earth’s entrails, using a Richter scale of emotions? "We are at a 7 on the anger scale; we must react before it is too late", one could say in echo of Cavour, the Italian statesman for whom "reforms made on time weaken the revolutionary spirit".
Fear and humiliation
The Age of Anger - the title of a book published in 2017 by Pankaj Mishra, an Indian essayist based in London - is upon us. Anger no longer affects only the peoples of the Global South. It has become universal. It has taken hold of all those who feel that they are no longer "in the running", if ever they have been.
Unless we are hit by a sudden and as yet possible second wave, the peak of the coronavirus epidemic may be behind us in public-health terms (at least in the majority of affected countries). The peak of social, economic and political anger, however, is most likely ahead of us. And some countries, such as France, are more vulnerable than others.