The Aftermath of COVID 19 – Part 2

Covid 19 is not the cause why technology will accelerate its role or globalization will slow down, but it is definitely a catalyst on warpspeed. Before WW2, US would have undergone Industrialisation anyway, but WW2 shortened the timeline and ballooned its scale from a peanut to a football.

This is what we should be looking at, the shortened timeline for technology and anti-globalization to play an outsize role on global issues. And how this will affect our philosophy of life and the relations between Singaporeans.

Anti-globalization:

US won WW2, not because of the superiority of its men, in fact, their professional army was small, but with its manufacturing capacity and supply chain. It is probably the most naturally ‘gifted’ country in the world, its geography of rivers, its lowlands for agriculture and its abundant resources. In their continent, there is no competitor.

For the China enthusiasts, the reason why China never became a global power in ancient time was because of its continuous border problems, resulting in the Great Wall. And today, those border problems will start to fester again. And that land border disputes have now extended to even the South China Sea. US and Australian navies had to position themselves between China and Malaysia recently [ 1 ]

And Europe had been coining for nationalization of certain ‘key’ industries. “I will not hesitate to use all the means available to me,” [ Finance Minister ] Le Maire said. “That can be capitalization, that can be by taking stakes, I can even use the term nationalization if necessary.” [ 2 ]

‘Italy has recapitalized its airline Alitalia, and France is considering similar moves to rescue affected companies. Now even Germany seems ready to use the ultimate weapon in the coronavirus battle: nationalization.’ [ 3 ]

The US is holding up the global economy or globalization for 70+ years. Its economic, political and military clout had arteries throughout the world. The confluence of technology, politics and the concept of the ‘external enemies’ are pointing to a US closing its doors, at most leaving it ajar.

Upon the devastation of WW1, then WW2, it engendered a political philosophy that good domestic politics rests on global stability. And since the old world of Europe and ancient China and Japan are forever in trouble, perhaps the new world of US should provide the necessary leadership. But the chasm between ‘good’ domestic politics and global leadership is never more diverged today.

Europe has massive internal problems. Its pension systems , the polarization of political consensus, the growing nationalism against the European identity signals a question of when not if, when EU breaks. Covid 19 proved that the European identity stops exactly at the national borders.

China has been promoting its Communist system in the midst of Covid 19. Saying that it had been able to contain the spread of Covid 19. China fails to understand that if the other countries do what they do, China would never have prospered. And in fact, the economic slow down in the years ahead would be exacerbated as Europe and US become more authoritarian. Europe’s toying with nationalism is a backlash against Chinese State Enterprises. Covid 19 legitimizes EU governments buying into these companies that need help, but at the same time protecting them from competition.

Whatever, one may think about Karl Marx, he was right about transnational capitalists. Globalization is to allow capital to arbitrage across the wide spectrum of resources, whether it is labor, taxes etc. The claim is that this is about efficiency. The sales pitch was, with efficiency, the standard of living in the world will grow.

And this increasingly shifted Keynesian demand economics from WW2 to supply side economics in the 1980s [ Reaganomics and Thatcherism ]. The policies of the West, including China, gave preferences and priorities to private enterprises rather than labor, for China that was so since opening up, that is until President Xi weighed it to favor State Enterprises.

The problem for globalization is that it gave an answer to only one half of the equation, perhaps less. The part of the equation unanswered, is what makes for a sustainable workforce, a cohesive society, in fact, what makes for a sustainable world?

Anti-globalization is really an imprecise term. Because it is such a rojak of emotions. At its worst it is about ultra nationalism, xenophobia and hatred. But the emerging ethics of environmental and social sustainability, and the technology of the present and the future means that many countries can already cut the long supply chain and localize industries and labor, even without the political trends of protectionism.

We just need to take a teleological view of Covid 19, blaming it is rather fruitless, it cares not a bit. But its effects, maybe even its purpose is to accelerate the trend of technology and flipping the global economic system onto its head.

The new economy demands that we care less about consumerism, and more about sustainability. Less about capitalism and more about entrepreneurs. Less on foreigners, more on Singaporeans. It is not that we don’t care about others, but a home in a mess cannot be good for foreigners too. We are not leaving Earth for Mars. But we need to reimagine our society and debunk PAP’s ‘price taker’ excuses and its globalization.

 

BK

 

* Part 1 is available here.

 

 

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6 Responses to “The Aftermath of COVID 19 – Part 2”

  • Think globally act locally!:

    But bullshit crony Pappies invest all over the globe by bleeding local worker citizens CPF contributions – upside-down self-entitlement papynomics logic.

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  • Ownself hangs ownself:

    Pap’s going for 10m is like putting a noose round our neck, ultimately leading us to game over!

    We should stop opening our legs wide apart to take in more foreigners. Instead it’s time to seriously believe and invest in your people.

    See how much time, logistics and costs needed to contain the current FW spread due to unbridled ill-conceived policy in the past.

    Imagine down the road in the not too far future when an even more powerful pandemic is to hit our shore, we are certainly on the way to D-day.

    Think about it!

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  • trublu:

    POST-COVID will see a humanity more awaken to its human frailties,no matter one is PRINCE or pauper,A GLOBALISED VIRUS KNOWS NO boundaries.

    GlobaLIE-$ation must indeed be re-SPELT as globa-LI-sation as it was intended to be?
    The Rich and PowerFOOL$ need to humble themselves a little,become MORE HUMAN(e) again!

    Money is important but it should not be the END ALL,it shud remain as MEANS to an end.

    HOARDING FROM EXTREME GREED N SELFISHNESS myst gradually turn into more SHARING N GIVING N CARING.

    IF THE WORLD choose to remain like PRE-COVID,then,it has to be prepared for SOMETHING WIRSE!

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    BK, Great Article more of this and less of “THAT” silly Antics

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  • Sojoürner:

    Two things (at least) happened simultaneously: globalization and the rise of wealth inequality. I understand that they are related. Perhaps this conundrum is simply evidence that wealth inequality is what is driving resistance to world trade, not the trade itself. Scandinavia and the Netherlands have been the most globalized of economies for a long time, and have neither high levels of inequality nor a left-behind working class.

    The benefits of the first wave of globalization (1990-2007) went to two groups – the 0.1% and the very poor in third-world countries. The burdens fell on the middle class of the developed countries.

    In the United States and Western Europe this resulted in (a) the hollowing out of the middle class, (b) an increase in inequality, and (c) the rise of right-wing politics.

    This has the same naivety that led Western governments and businessmen signing trade agreements since the 80ies whereby the West was giving away capital, technologies and jobs to China, whereas Western countries were progressively lefty with increasing trade and budget deficits, growing unemployment and declining benefits, all this with no condition whatsoever required of China, whether for property rights, labor and environmental standards…etc.

    China has well managed this gigantic give-away from the West, using Western capital and technologies to jump-start companies competing against Western ones, while using part of these foreign investments and related business activities to fund its steady military growth and its expansion into foreign territories (Xinjiang, South Sea), while threatening or occupying some of its neighbors (Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, Tibet, India).

    The same goes with Russia whose aggressive military, cyber and territorial (Georgia, Ukraine) expansion is funded by the West massive purchases of gas, oil and grains.

    The short of it is that the West has practically committed suicide, led by cynical or incompetent business people and politicians, backed by naïve and dogmatic self-proclaimed ‘economists’ such as Mr. Irwin.

    Sad, but these are the plain facts.

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  • Sojoürner:

    Cont’d…

    The problem is Globalization means different things to people than it does to corporations. People embrace the idea of an interconnected world with an exchange of ideas, goods & services. Corporations look at it as a way to lower labor costs, avoid costly regulations, and have little responsibility in workers health or their retirements.

    China’s totalitarianism for example, makes this all happen seamlessly on the other side of the globe. I’d like a smarter approach without giving up every job to a joint partnership so we keep people working and intellectual economic might stops flowing out of the country.

    Globalization had is growing pains for sure, but the dangers that nationalism pose. Nationalism of the kind espoused by the two cataclysmic world wars in the Twentieth century. The primary motive for the belligerence of the Japanese Empire in the 1930s was, for example, raw materials. War, not trade deals, was seen as the only practical way to get the resources needed to fuel their modernizing economy. The lessons of history should relegated to the dust pile of history.

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