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Title [News] French economist Jacques Attali: Altruism is key to fighting COVID-19 pandemic [The Korea Herald 2020-06-09]
Posted by webmaster Hit 66 Date 2020.06.09

French economist Jacques Attali (right) is interviewed by Choi Jung-wha, president of the Corea Image Communication Institute. (YouTube channel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Korea)

French economist Jacques Attali (right) is interviewed by Choi Jung-wha, president of the Corea Image Communication Institute. (YouTube channel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Korea)



French economist and futurologist Jacques Attali said “to act altruistically” is the only way to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, in an interview conducted as part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ “Insight Series” on the post-coronavirus era.


“By protecting others, you can protect yourself. However, many people thought the opposite,” Attali said in an interview with Choi Jung-wha, professor of the Graduate School of Interpretation and Translation at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and the president of Corea Image Communication Institute. “They thought that isolating, closing doors and rejecting others was the solution to protecting themselves. Today, this response is not appropriate because the world we live in is very interdependent.”


In his “Dictionary of the 21st Century” and “Future vs. Prediction,” Attali had predicted that humanity may face a number of catastrophes by 2030, and one possibility is a pandemic.


Speaking on the theme of future prospects in the post-coronavirus era, Attali said he regards altruism as an evolved form of egoism, which will eventually protect oneself from others.


“People must be convinced that altruistic behavior has an egoistic trait that benefits them. Think about wearing a mask. If I wear a mask, I protect others and others wearing masks also protect me. So if I wish to protect myself, it is beneficial to protect others,” he said.


Attali calls this phenomenon “self-interested altruism,” which will move toward “disinterested altruism” ultimately.


For the future where more pandemics are expected, Attali urged that humankind must use all means to develop the health industry, including medical facilities.


“The companies that boast the greatest sales in the world should be medical companies. It is also important to develop all industries relating to education,” he said. “Health and education are key factors for the future.”


On other industrial sectors, including automobile, aviation and tourism, Atalli said, they “need to go through great change if they wish to become industries of the future.”


The Foreign Ministry has posted a series of online interviews with global intellectuals on the post-coronavirus era. Featured in previous installments are Michael Sandel, author of “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?” and Guy Sorman, a globally acclaimed critic of culture and civilization.


By Park Yuna (yunapark@heraldcorp.com)








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