As the world grapples with the new challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, “emergency socialism” has emerged, to varying degrees, virtually everywhere – prompting Qatar Foundation’s Doha Debates to focus its next global programme on the merits of socialism during and after the pandemic.
The livestreamed debate on July 20, will feature author and commentator Fatima Bhutto, former UK foreign secretary and House of Commons Leader Lord William Hague, and Brazilian congresswoman and activist Tabata Amaral. The debate will include individual arguments, a solutions-focused bridge-building dialogue, and participation from Qatar and around the world.
“The global shock of Covid-19 has prompted an urgent reassessment of how governments help and support their citizens,” says Doha Debates managing director Amjad Atallah. 
“Socialist-like measures such as temporary universal basic income (UBI) have been introduced in recent months in several cities and nations around the world, with some weighing whether to continue government-provided incentives as the pandemic subsides. 
“Capitalist systems around the world have employed radical redistribution of aid, raising the question of whether these changes should become permanent. Now is the ideal time for this solutions-focused debate.”
The programme’s debaters will discuss whether welfare policies such as UBI should become permanent as the world prepares for the post-coronavirus era. The debate comes as coronavirus is leaving a massive economic downturn in its wake, with its consequences more dire than any seen in generations. 
What used to be a given for older generations — job security, home ownership and life without debt — was already beyond the reach of most younger people. At the same time, the semblances of social safety nets, like affordable and accessible healthcare or unemployment benefits, are quickly crumbling. Young people seem to have no choice but to mortgage their future in order to participate in a capitalist system with bleak prospects.
Polls across the world show a large majority of millennials and Gen Z would vote for a socialist politician, as they consider socialism to be the most compassionate system. Even in the US, where capitalism has become entwined with identity, 45% regard capitalism as positive — a 12-point decline over the past two years. 
The Doha Debates programme’s host and moderator is Ghida Fakhry, a renowned journalist with vast experience as a TV news anchor, correspondent and interviewer. Also joining the programme will be digital correspondent Nelufar Hedayat and conflict resolution expert Dr Govinda Clayton.
“Since health guidelines and travel restrictions prevent in-person convening on our Doha Debates stage, this livestreamed programme will virtually connect our speakers, a young voting audience, and millions of viewers around the world,” says Atallah.
Watch the July 20 debate live via Twitter, Facebook or YouTube at 5pm Doha / 10am ET, with a special pre-show programme hosted by Hedayat. You can also join the debate and discussion at @DohaDebates with the hashtag #DearWorld.

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