In spite of concerns about increased controls during the pandemics, freedom is likely to improve in the long term because self-reliance is rising.
Globalization epoch promised big wins to the focused and well-connected. Hoping to become global monopolists (“winner takes it all”), businesses and entire regions narrowed down and put all their resources into one basket, simultaneously increasing the number of their dependencies. Some global markets drifted towards oligopolistic or essentially monopolistic states, high shares of the world population relied on the same types of resources coming from the same few hands. Concentration of globally demanded resources also facilitated concentration of power and contributed to the rise of inequality and erosion of freedom.
Distancing in the times of coronavirus makes people rely more on diverse local resources. Local production of material goods increases self-reliance of communities and decreases the number of their dependencies. It also increases the diversity of products, as they are made by/with/from more variable local resources. As a result, there are fewer possibilities to concentrate globally demanded resources and take advantage of the resulting power – power over employees, suppliers, subcontractors, politicians, governments, countries, regions.
As possibilities to concentrate power decrease, it seems reasonable to expect some improvement of freedom.