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This article was originally submitted by Shoaib Riasat and Hina Munir
The world of the twenty-first century could not have imagined of any deadly pandemic; which could potentially alter the course of the time.
The catastrophic pandemic has wreaked havoc, panic, insecurity and uncertainty. It is believed that the contagion if protracted, would bring many decisive changes in the world. The world would be engulfed by; unparalleled unemployment, massive poverty, and anti-globalization slogans.
One can assume the diminished global rule of the US and the augmented influence of China in the post-pandemic world. The pandemic forecasts the waning influence of capitalism and a transition in the traditional system of capitalism. Besides, paper currency would be superseded by digital currency; owing to the non-availability of paper currency amid pandemic chaos.
This ongoing battle would trigger a paradigm shift in human behaviour and attitude relative to time and health – people would be obsessed with personal hygiene; of washing hands and body. Demographics would also be altered as a large sum of elderly people have been engulfed by the virus. Moreover, the pandemic could throw up a new paradigm shift in the states’ priorities; regarding health and education.
One and the foremost effect of the pandemic would be the anti-globalization narratives; which would leap on to the media talk shows and world libraries.
As we have seen in the past, the emergence of literature; regarding the Taliban, islamophobia and terrorism, right after the catastrophic event; of the trade towers smashing in the US, a similar scenario can be observed in the post-corona world. Both print and electronic media are already swayed by the fallout; of the deadly pandemic, and the trend would go on.
Presently, the whole world is under lockdown; the international trade and free movement of people have come to a standstill, borders have shut down, and, refugees are no more welcomed by the host countries. All these events are making for anti-globalization rhetoric and narratives.
Furthermore, the second palpable change; the pandemic would wreak, is the massive unemployment around the world. The disastrous effects of the virus are still at play, making people lose their livelihood and jobs. As businesses have stopped, many workers are losing their jobs; due to the global imbalance of supply and demand chain. The daily-wagers’ plight is the worst; the prolonged pandemic has exhausted them and brought them to death’s door. In addition, even small businesses have gone to the wall due to less demand.
A massive number of workers in the developed world have filed; for unemployment, and the situation is far grimmer in the countries with economic instability. As a consequence, the disease, if not halted, could result in unprecedented unemployment. Therefore, a global framework of actionable strategies is the need of the hour to ward off the pandemic.
Another dire aspect of the pandemic is that of an increased level of poverty in the world.
The recent study published by the United Nations University warns; that the pandemic could push half a billion people into poverty globally; due to the decline in income. Moreover, it represent a reversal of almost a decade in the world’s progress in reducing poverty. The unending lockdown has stopped much of financial interactions and daily working of industries. Resultantly, the purchasing power capacity of people has been reduced. However, the financial damage is far greater in underdeveloped countries because they lack funds; for already poverty-stricken segments in such health emergencies.
As the devastation of COVID-19 continues unabated, the offshoot seems more predictable. The pandemic has relegated the existing world order; where the US was in the bullseye of world affairs. The current world order is marked by: globalization, liberalization of trade, free movement of people and goods, and America’s leadership role in conflict and disease-ridden countries.
But now, the virus poses a serious threat to the highly-enjoyed notion of capitalism and democracy. History has witnessed that in imposing the state’s writ, the autocratic government appeared to be more effective than the democratic regimes. Countries like China where autocratic regime runs have emerged as a prototype in the handling of such contagion. Whereas, the US has miserably failed to contain the spread; thereby losing her stature as the best administration.
US-led capitalism is also at the receiving end of the pandemic.
It is expected that in near future states would regularize as millions of people have lost jobs; all private enterprises to an extent, where each and every employer would be made; to orchestrate a system where employees are not barred from their jobs; thereby enjoying job security in any case of a future outbreak. But, this requires government involvement; through proper legislation, many people would enjoy job security.
In addition, Trump’s announcement of easing the lockdown is another blow to the country’s fame’ raising doubts among people regarding the writ of democracy over autocracy. Besides, the response of the incumbent superpower; to the pandemic, has been haphazard. Trump’s attitude, where he brushed off the virus’s severity; by calling it “Chinese virus” and not paying heed; to the lack of ventilators in the country, and blaming WHO as China-centric is just ridiculous; which could not be expected by the president of such a powerful country.
The misstep taken by Trump’s administration; regarding the suspension of necessary funds to WHO is reflective of the abandonment; of American belief in manifest destiny. Besides, the pre-corona role of the US has not been much acclaimed; by the other nations. All this asinine development has appeared to be; a blessing in disguise for China, who has emerged to be a new hegemon of world affairs.
China is sending paramedics, necessary equipment, ventilators and masks; to help countries battling against the contagion. Moreover, it has offered to provide funds; to WHO immediately after the US refusal. It appears as if the world is ready to adhere to china-centric world order.
This pandemic is driving the world towards anti-globalization.
A post-Corona world would be characterized; by restrictions on the free movement of trade and people. Furthermore, the cataclysmic event has altered the outlook of people around the world. They are dubious of the pre-corona progress and development brought by globalization. As the virus spread mainly through a free mass movement; of people through international airways and sea routes, states are turning towards a least connected world.
This would amplify the application of protectionism; a blessing for right-wing politicians. Moreover, nationalism would emerge as a battle cry of the post-corona world; observing a low level of interconnectedness. Each nation would attempt to be self-sufficient; and less reliant on foreign goods and technologies.
The transition from paper currency to digital currency would also be prioritized. Currently, the whole world has suffered from non-availability of paper currency due to its limitation. Furthermore, some merchants are even very reluctant to accept paper notes; because of concerns of virus transmission. The banks, be it private or federal, have failed to lend money to people. As a result, everyday working of production has halted due to lockdown; thereby making people suffer the most.
Amid such harrowing time as this, people faced difficulties; in the procurement of money when they had to; get themselves medically examined, buy groceries, other food items and necessary everyday things. If an international monetary system walks on the tract of cryptocurrency, it is going to profiteer every nation-state. But it takes a long time to actualize the whole process. Presently, we see that China is winning the race by digitalizing currency; giving setbacks to the US-led international monetary banks; as the balance would be tilted towards China.
Due to a large number of deaths of elderly people, demographic changes can and would be observed.
For example, Italy is the country with the second-largest number of old age people. She has hardest-hit by the pandemic; most of the dead reported were of people over the 50 to 60 age group. It is not just; that only old people are prone to virus, but in many countries having strained health systems, young people also died. This distress situation is causing a huge demographic change around the world.
The aftereffect of the disease would be a shift in an individual’s priorities and attitudes. People would certainly be more concerned; with their health and hygiene habits. This, in turn, would influence states to have public sentiments; and health concerns atop in framing their national policies.
Last but not the least, the pestilence would revolutionize the educational sector of the world.
More time and resources would be reserved for research and development. A new transition in the state’s priorities and policies would bring about: a large sum; would be reserved, for health sciences and research and development. New power blocs with an excellent health care system would come to the forefront; they would hold sway much of the global health initiatives.
As a result, the world would prioritize buying the best health care systems, instead of tanks and aircraft; to halt any future outbreak. No one had ever thought that nature would retaliate; challenging the debris of puny humans who now stand baffled. If the world had implemented the International Health Regulations of 2006 seriously; and worked on developing a vaccine for SARS and Ebola, it would have halted the spread of COVID-19.
Though, unfortunately, no nation paid heed to announce a joint venture; in the health sector, to stop any potential disease beforehand. However, it’s still not late. As this is a global threat, it needs a global response. If we adhere to the proverb “United we stand, divided we fall,” we can emerge victoriously; against this world-shattering battle and rid the world of harrowing contagion.