Cri­sis as the norm

“The cri­sis is the norm”

Tho­mas de Maizière

Cri­sis situa­tions are beco­m­ing more fre­quent: finan­cial cri­sis, euro cri­sis, refu­gee cri­sis, Corona cri­sis, flood dis­as­ter, and the next cri­sis is already wai­t­ing. To improve cri­sis manage­ment, poli­ti­ci­ans are cal­ling for the estab­lish­ment of per­ma­nent cri­sis units so that decisi­ons can be made on a sound basis. But is the estab­lish­ment of such cri­sis teams already suf­fi­ci­ent to mas­ter cri­ses with bund­led expert know­ledge? Can a cri­sis team keep track of all the effects of a dan­ge­rous situa­tion and make the right recom­men­da­ti­ons for action?

The example of the Corona pan­de­mic shows how a cri­sis situa­tion can esca­late to such an extent that prac­ti­cally all areas of life and the eco­nomy are affec­ted glo­bally. Here are just a few high­lights: Star­ting in China, the virus spread world­wide wit­hin a short time. In Ger­many, there was a lack of masks, and ins­tead there was a super­fluous dis­cus­sion about their use­ful­ness. Then there was a lack of vac­cine, which is now avail­able in such quan­ti­ties that some of it is being des­troyed or given away. The eco­nomy was cripp­led with several lock­downs, and con­tact bans or restric­tions affec­ted family and social life. Health depart­ments and hos­pi­tals, espe­cially inten­sive care units, reached their capa­city limits. Day­care cen­ters and schools were clo­sed. Home offices ins­tead of offices became man­da­tory, video con­fe­ren­ces repla­ced busi­ness trips, etc. The cur­rent dis­cus­sion about inci­dence values or the inclu­sion of fur­ther data betrays not least an exis­ting hel­pless­ness. The examp­les men­tio­ned here alone show that a sin­gle cri­sis team can­not be in a posi­tion to recom­mend ade­quate coun­ter­mea­su­res to all pos­si­ble effects of this crisis.

For the pro­blem areas lis­ted, howe­ver, there are already huge amounts of data that, when made avail­able in the right way, pro­vide a much deeper insight into past and cur­rent events. Howe­ver, this data must be collec­ted, pre­pa­red, struc­tu­red and intel­li­gently pro­ces­sed and made avail­able. In this way, data can lead to incre­a­singly accu­rate mode­ling and, when eva­lua­ted, enable recom­men­da­ti­ons for action on a secure basis.

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