The coronavirus pandemic will usher in a post-globalisation world order. It will bring greater regional integration and a whole new travel protocol that adds a robust layer of medical scrutiny, limiting travel options for at least a decade.
The pandemic has wiped away 20 million jobs in a matter of four weeks from the United States job market. The world is in economic recession. Some leading economists predict a global depression of the proportion of the 1930s unless a vaccine is found that is immediately available to the world. The vaccine, however, is unlikely in the near future.
The United Kingdom, European Union, Caribbean, Commonwealth and African economies are in contraction. China is in contraction as well and has experienced its first recession in decades.
The pandemic is expected to cost the world $20 trillion in wealth lost. This is just under a quarter of global gross domestic product of $87 trillion. Whole industries in travel, tourism and retail have already collapsed.
In the US, President Donald Trump remains deluded over the idea that he can reopen the US to trade and normality. He can open US borders to select countries, he asserts. However, no country, from Canada to Mexico to the UK, is interested in opening its borders to a US that has lost control of the pandemic narrative.
The pure capitalism model of the US is uniquely at a disadvantage at this time. Capitalism requires strong consumer demand. Today, consumers in the UK, US and elsewhere are terrified.
If economics is about human behaviour, the US recession will not be lifted anytime soon, and not until people are less fearful and confident to go out on the streets and shop.
With deaths approaching 40,000, there is no decline in the fear and terror of US consumers. People everywhere are fearful, depressed, and stressed. Consumer and business confidence have plummeted into a black hole.
In the UK
The same is true with the UK, where deaths are approaching the ominous 20,000 number. Over two million jobs have already disappeared in the UK, and the property market has plunged.
The failure of both the US and UK leadership to shut down their countries immediately after witnessing the diabolical and malevolent nature of this virus will go down in the history of infamy.
Up until today, these two countries are still allowing flights to enter from virus-infected countries, with passengers not going through the critical testing and quarantine protocols required to keep the virus in check.
Countries and territories that shut down immediately, like the VI, have so far managed to control the infection rate.
Experts have asserted that the world will remain in lockdown until a vaccine is discovered. If it does not, this virus will continue its deadly foray into the human genome and perhaps kill many millions.
So until a vaccine is found, countries will have to exist with closed borders, using testing and social isolation to stem the tide of infection and death.
‘Years of famine’
Meanwhile, seven years of famine have begun. People must learn to live simply and store what is critical to everyday life: water, hygiene products, canned foods, lighting and fuel. Countries that cannot simply print money to sustain their economies, like these islands in the Caribbean Sea, will have to be governed especially prudently.
Governments and banks will have to come together to assist consumers who will not be able to pay back their debts until the economy recovers. Banks do not need to end up with bad debts and repossessed cars and homes.
Migration will become more draconian because the first duty of governments is to their own citizens. As the job markets go south, governments will be looking at ensuring the employment and sustenance of their own citizens. Migrant workers will have to return to their home countries.
The Caribbean Community, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, and other regional organisations will have to work together to ensure the livelihoods and economic sustainability of the region.
The good news is that experts expect a vaccine to be developed in due course.
One day, even this scourge will come to an end. One day, life will return to normal.
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