Corona Measures: When children are the ones who suffer (1/2)
Interview with Michael Klundt
[This interview published on Dec 29, 2020 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=68268.]
What about children in times of Corona crisis? How do political leaders act when it comes to the welfare and protection of children? In a two-part NachDenkSeiten asizes that children and young people have become the most affected by Corona and its measures. "Most political leaders know that," says Klundt, who works in the Department of Applied Human Sciences at Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences. Klundt criticizes Söder's slogan, "We save every life," which "doesn't deal with consequences and side effects at all." By Marcus Klöckner.
Mr. Klundt, children are one of those groups that are vulnerable and need special protection. What about the protection of children in times of Corona?
Well, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been saying incessantly since the summer of 2020 that "children should not be the losers in the Corona crisis. But unfortunately, children and young people have long since become the most affected by Corona and the measures against it nationwide and worldwide. And the special thing: All decisions since spring 2020 have been made over the heads of children and young people, almost nowhere are they involved or at least consulted or even informed about what is intended to be done with them. And the most vulnerable groups, such as children in poverty, homeless youth, refugee adolescents, and minors with disabilities, are the most affected.
But policymakers should be aware of that, right?
Of course. Most of those in positions of political responsibility know this, too. In an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio on August 21, 2020, the CDU/CSU parliamentary group leader in the German Bundestag, Ralph Brinkhaus, described his view of the Corona crisis and the measures that are now necessary. In doing so, he also addressed the fact that families and children, schools and daycare centers had somehow fallen by the wayside in Corona times, because, according to Brinkhaus, "they have been somewhat forgotten in all the aid measures for the economy and in all the health measures, but what we have seen is an extreme burden, not only for the children, but also for the families. That's why the priority now is on that, not so much on full stadiums at the Bundesliga soccer games and other things that I would also like to have back, but that are not the priority now."
That sounds like insight and a start.
Yes, it does sound that way. But: the CDU/CSU politician ignored the fact that the Bundesliga and DIY stores enjoyed the most generous openings long before daycare centers and schools were even given the slightest consideration, while, for example, the extracurricular educational and activity areas of children and young people (in the form of free open youth work) were still not given sufficient consideration even in the fall of 2020. The German Children's Fund therefore also expressed its fears for the future. According to it, "a great many children and young people will be lost" as a result of the measures taken so far. And Bavaria's Minister President Markus Söder then ultimately also let the cat out of the bag at the press conference on October 27, 2020, when he said, "School and daycare has, after all, the purpose of keeping the economy going." The instrumental character screams to heaven and there is no talk of education or children's rights.
The United Nations already spoke in April of this year about children being among the biggest victims of the Corona crisis. What is the basis for this statement?
In a briefing note of the United Nations from mid-April 2020, it was already feared that children were not the "face" of the "Corona" pandemic, but possibly among its greatest victims (United Nations 2020, p. 2f.). Accordingly, more than 1.5 billion school-age children and adolescents worldwide were locked out of schools and educational institutions between mid-March and May 2020 (cf. ibid., p. 7). Related to this, about 370 million children worldwide had also suddenly stopped receiving school meals in the spring of 2020 due to the closures and contact blocks (cf. UNICEF v. 29.4.2020). At the same time, life-saving vaccination campaigns against measles and polio for 117 million children - including in Afghanistan and Pakistan - have been halted for the time being (cf. UNICEF v. 5.5.2020). Nearly one-third of all affected school children (463 million) have also not received any replacement education at all during the entire lockdown period (cf. UNICEF v. 8/27/2020).
The consequences are likely to be far-reaching.
As UNICEF most recently identified, 265 million girls and boys still did not receive school meals at the end of October, more than 250 million young children under the age of five do not receive vital vitamin A tablets, and 65 countries report a year-on-year decline in home visits by social workers.
What is the current situation?
As of November 2020, 572 million girls and boys were affected by school closures nationwide - that's 33 percent of all students worldwide. "Disruption of vital services and increasing malnutrition could kill an additional two million children and increase the number of stillbirths by 200,000 in the next 12 months. In 2020, an additional six to seven million children under five will suffer from emaciation or acute malnutrition, a 14 percent increase. In sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia in particular, this will cause 10,000 additional children to die each month. Globally, an estimated 150 million additional children will have slipped into multidimensional poverty - without access to education, health care, food, clean water and sanitation - by mid-year." (UNICEF 2020: Preventing a Lost Covid-19 Generation, New York/Cologne v. Nov. 19, 2020)
How do these numbers fit with the budgeted Corona policy and politicians who pretend to want to "protect" lives?
This is precisely my criticism. Those who point to the millions of deaths caused by the global lockdowns and many Corona measures like to be countered that they are trivializing the pandemic and probably want to walk over corpses. The absurdity of this argumentation should actually become visible with the help of UNICEF data alone. The government-friendly defenders of lockdown and measures should at least put effects, side effects, and collateral damage into perspective in an evidence-based testing and weighing process. When even pro-government studies on excess mortality in the U.S. and Germany find that "only" half of it is due to Corona, but the other half is simply due to non-treatment of other diseases (cardiovascular, cancer, etc.), this shows that the Söder slogan "We save every life!", which does not deal at all with consequences and side effects, is in any case not sufficient for this.
By the way, I think it is very important, and this is also laid down in the WHO Charter, that children's health is not just the absence of disease. The right to health for all people, but especially for children, is a comprehensive right that includes the participation of children, contact with other children, networks, the opportunity to exchange with each other, also to receive education. This is much more comprehensive than it has been communicated publicly in recent months.
Let's take a look at Germany. From a country like Germany, one would expect politicians to take into account the situation of children, to quickly remedy a shortage.
In the wealthy Federal Republic of Germany, free lunches in daycare centers, schools and youth clubs were discontinued overnight for millions of children and young people within the legal scope of the so-called "education and participation package" as of mid-March 2020 - incidentally, this has been the case again since mid-December 2020. Again, hundreds of thousands of students were excluded from so-called homeschooling due to a lack of digital resources (such as access to an Internet-enabled computer in the home), and many a teacher complained that they were unable to establish any contact with some schoolchildren during the entire first lockdown in spring 2020.
This is further underpinned by an October 29, 2020 report from UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Bank, which found that schoolchildren in low- and lower-middle-income countries have missed about four months of classes since the pandemic began, while students in richer countries have still missed six weeks of classes. However, the fact that poorer countries have even greater problems maintaining or establishing the human and children's right to education in times of crisis in no way justifies the fact that richer countries like Germany have also allowed and continue to allow such exclusions with their eyes open.
Even more painful than material restrictions can be defamation and stigmatization. Talking about (poor) children and their families thus also constitutes part of the social polarization problem, which can be denied less and less. This is especially true when the consideration of (child) poverty is characterized by an interplay between ignorance, crocodile tears and faith in fate. Particularly alarming are those debates in which the children and families affected are rhetorically given the labels 'self-inflicted' or 'antisocial', because then, instead of fighting poverty, the focus is rather on belittling and ultimately fighting the poor.
Is there now a continuation under the Corona policy of what was present even before Corona, namely the experiences of deprivation of children in our country?
Absolutely. Even before Corona, children's quality of life and future opportunities were massively affected by growing up in poverty.
How can you imagine that?
Disproportionately, they live in cramped conditions and thus usually without a quiet place to do homework. Although the limitations due to parental austerity are not the most important, studies show that a quarter of poor young people are affected by food deprivation, i.e. they are sometimes or even often unable to obtain sufficient or sufficient healthy food. While the permanent shortage worsens the family climate, the social networks are also smaller, since the children can also take advantage of fewer leisure activities - be it music schools or soccer clubs. Not least because of the lack of social esteem, many poor children therefore develop a lower self-esteem and start school with less favorable conditions, where even with the same performance they are often rated worse than children from wealthy classes.
What does this mean for you as a scientist? What conclusions do you draw from this?
Constant experiences of scarcity and deprivation during and after Corona contribute to the fact that young people who have to go through experiences of poverty in their childhood feel less comfortable and less a part of society. Based on the fact that young people who experience persistent poverty situations and receive SGB II benefits are less likely to be active in a club or participate in organized leisure activities than better-off peers, there is a risk that these young people will also disconnect from society as adults due to their lack of prospects - with far-reaching consequences.
In your research, you distinguish between causes of poverty and causes of poverty.
That is correct. Unfortunately, in politics, science and the media, causes and occasions of (child) poverty and of Corona (measure) consequences are still predominantly confused...
...and also confused in the pandemic?
Yes, this is the case. Thus, poverty causes, such as divorce, single parent status, migration background, or even unemployment, often appear as problem causes in a wide variety of statements from politicians, the media, and academia. They leave thereby the really underlying roots in the existing economic and social system faded out and consequently with these are exchanged. Yet a socially just family and social policy and a good education, care and labor market policy can make a poverty-free life possible even for children of unemployed, single or migrant parents.
With some reservations, this could even apply to the Corona pandemic, which is becoming less a cause than a reason for intensified impoverishment processes in the country and worldwide (unfortunately, not only in various authoritarian regimes, it is also becoming a pretext for breaking the separation of powers by overriding the legislative and judicial branches on the part of the executive, as well as through the most massive restrictions on fundamental rights and repression). Here, too, the pandemic should not be blamed too hastily on its own, but the underlying socio-economic as well as educational and health system causes should be taken into account, even if they all too often threaten to be overshadowed by the epidemic in the media, politics and science.
Just as problematic as the one-sided labeling of children as a "risk of poverty" or even a "cause of poverty" has been the largely scientifically unproven description and treatment of children as mere "viral slingshots" in the Corona crisis.
Could child poverty in the Corona Crisis be described as a kind of elephant in the room? It is, on the one hand, so obvious; on the other hand, policymakers don't really want to acknowledge it.
There's something to that. Especially since the situation even before the Corona crisis was far from idyllic. Child poverty in Germany today means poverty in one of the richest countries in the world. It must not be forgotten how many hundreds of thousands of people are now living on the streets again in Germany (according to Tagesschau.de v. 11.11.2019 over 678,000 people, including around 37,000 young people; cf. DJI study 2017) and how many people have to live from collecting bottles, begging or from food banks. For them, the slogan "We stay at home!" must have seemed somewhat alienating.
The government has taken a lot of money in hand to "help", as it is called. What do you think of the support effort?
The current government measures, despite all the investment packages, remain within the framework of a neoliberal organization of social inequality in favor of the few and to the disadvantage of the very many.
Please be specific.
If, for example, millions of people have still not received any subsidies and aid packages promised by the federal government by the end of 2020, but meanwhile large corporations have already been supported with billions of euros, then this is an imbalance. If, in addition, state-subsidized large corporations send tens of thousands of employees into short-time work co-financed by the solidarity community, but at the same time have billions in dividends to their major shareholders de facto financed by taxpayers or contributors, the same neoliberally structured pattern of privatization of profits and socialization of losses is emerging.
The federal government has not improved conditions in daycare centers. It accepts ventilation deficiencies and school buses that are full every day, while coaches that could be used to relieve school buses stand around. The federal government has still not improved conditions in extracurricular educational institutions either, such as open youth work, not to mention the situation in hospitals, nursing homes, public transport and the meat industry. There are no corrections there. Instead, the government is making daily appeals to the private responsibility of citizens to deal with the Corona crisis.
Appeals to the private responsibility of citizens. What is this reminiscent of?
Here, the neoliberal principle of privatizing all social and health risks continues to be talked about, acted upon and decreed. In addition fits then also that in pseudo nostalgic advertising filmlets of the Federal Government (from the future into the year 2020 as in times of war looking back) on nearly all television stations in November 2020 under the Slogan "special heroes" (obviously alluding to so-called war heroes) for the staying at home of young adults one recruits. Young people are thereby asked to "get moldy" with fast food and Coke in front of the TV, while neither the concerns of real young adults for their education or jobs and livelihood, nor the concerns of those (mostly young) people who are supposed to produce, prepare and deliver the fast food that the "special heroes" consume in front of the TV are taken into account.
That politics also uses instruments to influence the Corona crisis was to be expected.
Yes, but it's frightening how far some are willing to go in doing so.
What do you mean?
In the spring of 2020, a concept paper from the Federal Ministry of the Interior came to light that had it all. The government measures against the corona pandemic were to be anchored in the population and especially among children through shock and fear.
Children were also targeted?
Yes, especially they were to receive a regular education in the fear of agonizing grandparent death and related forms of guilt anxiety, depression and traumatization consequences. Literally it was said: "In order to achieve the desired shock effect, the concrete effects (...) must be made clear: If they (the children; M. K.) then infect their parents and one of them dies in agony at home and they feel they are to blame, (...) it is the most terrible thing a child can ever experience." In order to make the government's actions understandable, this was apparently meant to be talked into the children and their parents.
The U.S. author Naomi Klein has understood such a shock strategy, applied both militarily and in terms of economic policy, as a method of domination in neoliberal capitalism, whereby with each new catastrophe ruling classes in business and politics can redivide the world among themselves, while the majority of the affected populations are usually - as if paralyzed - still in literal shock paralysis. Surprisingly, the President of the German Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU), also expressed himself in similar terms during the pandemic when he said in the Neue Westfälische of August 20: "The corona crisis is a great opportunity. Resistance to change becomes less in the crisis."
Media reported on the paper at the time.
They did. But they also quickly forgot about it.
Anyone who suspects that this could also be the current motive for political, economic and media measures is likely to be quickly labeled as a conspiracy theorist by factions that are loyal to the government. Such a suspicion would imply that we live in a society characterized by domination, even capitalist domination, and therefore also by interests of domination. And such views are not gladly heard.
Corona measures, children and the left: "Laziness of thought, opportunism and a total failure" (2/2)
Interview with Michael Klundt
[This interview published on December 30, 2020 is translated from the German on the Internet, Corona-Maßnahmen, Kinder und die Linke: „Denkfaulheit, Opportunismus und ein Totalausfall“ (2/2) (nachdenkseiten.de).]
"The culture of suspicion is very high again in Germany right now, and from all sides. The Nazi accusation is being used inflationarily by various sides, each side accusing the other of going "over dead bodies." This is what child policy researcher Michael Klundt says in the second part of the NachDenkSeiten interview. In the interview, Klundt further comments on the situation of children in the Corona pandemic, but also takes a critical look at some leftists, many media as well as some scientists and criticizes how poisoned the public discussion is. By Marcus Klöckner.
Many children are directly affected by the Corona measures, for example when wearing the mask in class. Do you have any insights into the behavior of parents? Many seem to accept the measures or just put up with them?
When some school principals wave off the idea after three hours of wearing a mask, but at the same time require students to wear masks for up to nine hours with all the side effects, some children and parents are somewhat irritated. But of course, this also depends on the respective living and working conditions, which differ just as they do for the children. While many affluent parents may experience the forced home office as a pleasant deceleration or as particularly stressful, the lower the parents are on society's class hierarchy ladder, the worse the threats to their livelihood. The fact that certain forms of social participation are therefore no longer quite as unequal as they were before the crisis, simply because no one can now go to theaters, operas, restaurants or anything else, and not just the poor, does little to change this.
What is the reason for the lack of critical voices from the left in this situation that question the measures?
I ask myself the same question all day long. I notice laziness of thought, opportunism and total failure on the part of some really important players in politics, the media and academia. Unfortunately, some apparently thought they had to take their cue from Robert Habeck when he said that now was "not the hour of opposition, but the hour of responsibility." This is a very problematic sentence for parliamentary democracy, as it portrays opposition as something seemingly irresponsible rather than something vital to a democracy. At the same time, an offensive left and its clear criticism of the disastrous conditions of work, property and learning, as well as the various capital-conforming crisis solution patterns in a partially privatized health and pharmaceutical system oriented to competitive criteria, would be so vital.
And it should actually be clear, especially to leftists, that even measures that sound alike usually mean different things in different social systems. In short, a lockdown in Cuba or China means something different than a lockdown in Kenya or Germany, i.e. something different in a capitalist context than in a social system that wants to develop toward socialism.
Is the left too "system conformist" when it comes to Corona?
Perhaps this should not be generalized. But whoever does not want to have his dreams of government participation spoiled by supporters of rearmament and war of aggression alliances on the side of the desired dream partners (let alone by the Cum-Ex and Wirecard candidates for chancellor), obviously does not look so closely in other places either. For not to parrot Drosten and Wieler 100 percent does not necessarily mean glorifying Bhakdi and Wodarg. It can mean nevertheless also simply to listen times to Streeck or Kekulé or Allmendinger or the author group around Schrappe, Glaeske and other health scientists/inside or the Lower Saxonian ethics advice at least to include - let alone other physicians, paediatricians, psychologists, paedagogues and childhood scientists.
And even those who reject all this and only allow Drosten to be valid in all (not only virological) questions about Corona must at least be aware that the political measures based on this in hospitals, in daycare centers, schools, on sports fields, in buses and trains, at workplaces can by no means be judged and decided so clearly and solely by Drosten. But if one rejects controversy and plurality, one can hardly want to discuss youth welfare, participation and child poverty.
Media are quick to label citizens who criticize the measures as "Corona deniers." What is your observation? Do we have a problem with open discussion around the measures?
Undoubtedly, anyone who is seriously concerned about authoritarian tendencies of emergency laws in a pandemic cannot honestly voice their protest next to people who secretly to quite openly dream of a fascist emergency dictatorship. Apart from that, the culture of suspicion in Germany is very high again, from all sides. With pleasure suspicion argumentations and monolithic thinking are reproduced. The Nazi accusation is used inflationary from different sides, each side accuses the other side to go "over corpses". Mutual insinuations of iciness towards the victims of the respective actions or practices or ignorant attitudes prevail: Corona victims versus collateral victims of Corona actions. "We" are "the" science - you are only malicious charlatans.
However, those who vehemently claim that many of the Corona dead did not die from Corona, but at most with Corona (perhaps also due to wrong treatment, lack of protective means and broken health care systems), must at least not hastily claim that real or invented dead children were of course killed solely by masks. Conversely, simply denying and passing over the corpses of collateral damage, but immediately imputing it to the (imagined) enemy/opponent, is also extremely low level of discourse.
The discussion is poisoned.
Yes, and from all sides. Some give the virologist Drosten all the broadcasting time, the "Special Prize for Science Communication" and the Federal Cross of Merit on top of it. But some also remember his connections in the pharmaceutical business and his condescending and arrogant tweets toward critics such as his virological colleague Kekulé, who is not all that different from him. When this professor of epidemiology at the University of Halle in the aftermath of the BILD reporting of late May 2020 merely formulated and criticized clear logical and statistical comparative inconsistencies in Drosten's pre-publication of April 2020 regarding the virus spreading activity of children in the Berlin Tagesspiegel, Drosten felt he did not need to respond to this with arguments.
Instead, he "tweeted," "Kekulé is stirring things up. His account is tendentious. He doesn't know our data and misquotes. Kekulé himself could not be criticized; he would have to publish something first." Unfortunately, he does not mention what Kekule misquoted, leaving a rather snooty response.
This is an example of how unconstructive the discussion is even among reputable scientists who criticize each other. But you said the discourse is poisoned not only within the scientific community, but in general.
Absolutely. As I said, the mutual Nazi accusations are getting out of hand - from both sides, mind you. While some only see or show the four Reich war flags on the fringes of more than 40,000 demonstrators and not a single demo speaker who distances himself from right-wing extremists, others immediately suspect the media mainstream of "Führer orders" and "Gleichschaltung" (Dr. Fuellmich in a hearing of the Corona Committee), "Corona dictatorship" (Ken Jebsen), "fascist dictatorship" (Dr. Bodo Schiffmann) and "infanticide through masks".
In other words, a reasonably rational conversation, in which one's own error is considered possible and the opponent is at least formally conceded that his argumentation does not necessarily have to be wrong and basely motivated, no longer comes about (cf. as an exception the argument with the Berlin Senator of the Interior in the ZEIT v. 1.10.2020).
Even when the so-called "Infection Protection Act" was passed, things were rough.
The opponents shouted loudly and NS-trivializing "Enabling Act", but at the same time some mainstream media reported on the mobbing in the Reichstag building by AfD guests so dramatizing and also NS-trivializing, as if the handful of AfD yellers could be equated with SA troops and their terror during the decision on the historic NS-Enabling Act 1933. The same applies, of course, to various indienstnahmen of Anne Frank or Sophie Scholl. They may or may not be more justified in one or the other case, but they are always problematic. Whether they are sufficient, however, to portray all so-called lateral thinkers as right-wing extremists in disguise seems at least questionable.
In this climate, the urgently needed rational discussion about real existing conditions is hardly possible, is it?
Of course, there are facts that would have to be discussed beyond the great conspiracy and beyond name-calling and contempt. Alone the emphasis on socio-economic interests in the marketing of test material, vaccines and drugs cannot be dismissed in a capitalist society. And when the Frankfurter Rundschau of 15.12.2020 reports on research results according to which tens of thousands of physicians in Germany are "promoted" by the pharmaceutical industry, this must make us all sit up and take notice in the current vaccination hysteria - also and above all in the interest of the independence of the physicians themselves. One must not simply dismiss such perspectives with the flat rebuttal "conspiracy theorists", "corona deniers" or "covidiot".
Measure and aim seem to have been lost on both sides?
That's right. So, some hang on the lips of Lothar Wieler, a trained veterinarian at the Robert Koch Institute, and Jens Spahn, a trained banker at the Ministry of Health, as if they were the only knowledgeable experts on "corona issues" in the entire world.
And the others?
They see such people and leading players in the mainstream, together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other pharmaceutical industrialists, as part of a corrupt "pharma-tech complex" - whose economic interests cannot be completely denied, despite all rebuttals. By the way, even Deutschlandfunk reported this several times until 2018, but then astonishingly deleted it from its archives or changed the title since 2020 (see here).
If then the Federal Minister of Health wants to constantly educate us with character tests and character questions, but apparently does not even have the "character" himself to inform the restaurant in which he sat three days before his positive test, that would also not be a particularly characterful infection control. And also, its quarantine in a Dahlem million villa looked surely on top of it somewhat more comfortable than those of children concerned in close high-rise housing estates of Marzahn or Wedding. This should not be ignored either. We should not forget social inequality and the social question in all these issues. Different measures also have different effects on different groups.
What is your observation with regard to journalists when it comes to their view of research?
Pamela Dörhöfer, a science journalist at the Frankfurter Rundschau, has an interesting criterion for who is allowed to discuss public issues in the media, science and politics. In summary, her view can be described as follows: Drosten has published on coronaviruses several times. He is an absolute expert. The microbiologist Bhakdi or the lung specialist Wodarg do not have this competence, which is why they do not get a word in edgewise. Markus Lehmkuhl, a professor of science communication, argues similarly: "'In the field of coronaviruses' Kekulé is 'a marginal figure'. He 'basically doesn't work on the science front at all'. Drosten, on the other hand, 'is a very central figure within this community. You can certainly say that.'" (quoted from: Tagesschau.de v. 28.5.2020)
Investigating the question of what Dörhöfer understands by "research" that is entitled to be covered in her articles would be a fine research project. However, she leaves out the fact that Drosten, the scientist she considers entitled to speak as a "real" researcher, has been interviewed in all kinds of media on all kinds of questions of human existence and action, on which he really has not done any research at all. And the fact that her colleagues on the editorial board at least could not make the "research" argument to justify why they blanked out voices of virologists disagreeing with Drosten for eight months, she also passes over. They were also more inclined to keep quiet about positions they found disagreeable than to engage with them critically. They were unwilling and/or unable to do the latter and thus did a disservice to the democratic public. This assessment applies, by the way, even if there is a great deal of criticism to be made of the theses of Bhakdi and Wodarg.
Many journalists do democracy a disservice when they severely narrow the public discussion.
In the case here it comes still worse. After now thus, as Dörhöfer admits even, all media considering themselves as "levelful" successfully excluded the mentioned and further scientists, Dörhöfer legitimizes this exclusion with the fact that the mentioned "Nichtbeachtetwertes" nevertheless actually looked for their public, scientific, political and medial communication over alternative channels and media. Since these media or their makers are in turn unacceptable, a strange contact guilt offense comes into play here as a subsequent legitimization of exclusion.
What do you mean?
A has spoken with B and he is in cahoots with the reprehensible content or the controversial person C; therefore, it is not allowed to speak about and with A, not even to argue. This is always somewhat problematic as legitimation of exclusion. For who then decides whose discourse participation in the dispute? Fortunately, FR editor Stephan Hebel is now trying to dare a little more plurality and controversy in the paper.
Let's go back to the topic of "children. Do you have any demands for politicians? What should be done now for the benefit of children in the Corona crisis?
We can see how Germany is moving backwards under the Corona crisis. Many millions of people are being put on short-time work. The loss of income tends to create poverty situations and social polarization. Corona measures will further increase educational inequalities. In addition, men's incomes, which are generally about 20 percent higher, will once again become more significant and encourage the re-traditionalization of the gender division of labor. A reprivatization of social risks is being promoted, according to which everyone is the architect of his or her own health, family and social happiness. These are clear indications of a social regression in the neoliberal age.
For this reason, too, a thorough and critical analysis of the prevailing discourse in the media, politics and academia is first necessary.
In doing so, the perspectives and participation of children must come to the fore. Following on from this, concepts for combating poverty must be developed. It is important to promote social infrastructure, for example, associations and youth clubs that enable children and young people to become more involved and integrated.
In concrete terms, this means firstly taking measures to combat poverty and provide social security for children and families. Secondly, the child rights principles of priority of the best interests of the child, protection, promotion and, above all, participation of children, young people and youth associations must be (re)established or implemented. Thirdly, this requires measures to expand the social infrastructure in the residential environment (in line with the pandemic), especially by means of youth welfare and open work.
I would also like to add that we must not lose sight of the sociopolitical context of a society that is becoming ever richer. When we talk about how we can improve the lives of children, we must also address issues of power and domination. It has to deal with the profiteers of the existing neoliberal order.