Coronavirus pandemic has brought world to a standstill and activities of global institutions to a grinding halt. States across the globe have closed their borders to protect their residents from highly contagious virus which has taken thousands of lives. It has severely affected millions all over world, shattering the social fabric of even the most developed nations.
The raging contagion has conspicuously exposed the world’s uneasiness to cope with the global health crisis. The international institutions which claim to be the harbingers of global security and regulators of globalization have miserably failed to caution about the coming catastrophe. As a matter of fact, currently not only the developing world but also the developed countries are on their knees before the unforgiving virus. Nations are compelled to do self help despite being members of the powerful regional and international organizations. The containment measures, taken so far, have virtually isolated countries from one another.
Big Powers like USA, China, UK and France have been adapting unidentical strategies to cope with the contagion but are failing miserably despite world class state of the art health infrastructure. Undoubtedly, globalization has a big hand in spread of the disease all across the world. Therefore, one thing is certain that if the crisis persist for long, drastic changes are going to occur in the established principles of globalization.
Novel Coronavirus belongs to the corona family, which is prevalent among animals and previously has been regarded as lethal to humans. This new member of already existing family first discovered in Wuhan, a city of Hubei province of China. Soon after its discovery, the city became an epicenter of the disease. This compelled World health organization (WHO) to declare the crisis as pandemic.
Highly contagious nature of the virus globalized the spread within no time. So far the confirmed cases have crossed the grim milestone of three millions along the death toll as high as 225 thousands. While flatten curve is far from seen, currently, the world seems to be at the mercy of COVID-19. Socioeconomic activities are stagnant while unemployment and frustration among people are soaring high.
The Killer Virus has brought the global health infrastructure into its knees. The most developed nations are facing shortage of Personal protective equipments (PPEs).Ironically; the world was all set to face the WW-III With supply of mass destructive material while the microbe came out of nowhere. It has badly exposed the readiness of the global powers to face health crisis of the COVID-19 Magnitude. Until now, the virus is battering the world, especially the modernized western democracies despite of world class health system.
The international and regional institutions, especially the WHO and European Union (EU), played a disappointing role in this pandemic crisis. American president Donald Trump has severely criticized the WHO for its failure to report the pandemic on time. He blamed the institution for developing a nexus with Chinese authorities to suppress the gravity of otherwise dangerous situation. In a coercive move, Trump administration also suspended the economic assistance to the institution.
Post-Corona world will be teemed with anti-globalization forces. People’s movements from one part of world to another will be restricted and undergo strict surveillance. From means of communication to selling of products, everything will turn turtle. Nationalist forces will gain further foothold as they are apparently looking successful in their notion than liberal, globalized forces.
Similarly, the EU has also been heavily lampooned by Spain and Italy-the two worse hit countries in Europe for its lackluster performance in the wake of this pandemic. All the chaotic situation has compelled the highly integrated European countries to act in isolation to contain the virus. The free democracies of Western Europe are no free to allow freedom of movement and socioeconomic activities. The global institution seems incongruous to the national response of the nation states to contain the contagion.
The global response to the pandemic varies from nation to nation, For instance, Germany adopted a vigorous testing and tracing approach. Britain, first vacillating on complete shutdown, went for herd immunity acquirement, which backfired and death toll in the UK surged to second highest in Europe. United States of America seduced by its creation manifesto-is oscillating between maintaining complete lockdown and allowing the freedom of individual to decide their fate.
In this entire scenario, the authoritarian regimes of Gulf and China have emerged successful in stopping the spread of this virus. By implementation of draconian laws, these states have set a new paradigm for those looking for alternative to democracy to deal with the 21st century challenges. In short, the highly integrated world is in complete disparity to devise a common approach against a common threat.
Global economies are facing devastating impacts due to stagnant economic activities. It has been estimated that the contagious disease cost 5.5 trillion dollars to the global economy. Germany referred is as worst crisis since WW-II, while America is referring the impacts more severe than the recession caused by 2008 global financial crisis. According to International Labour Organization (ILO), more than 1.6 billion people are expected to lose their livelihood due to this contagion.
The gravity of the crisis can be gauged from the fact that for the first time in history the prices of the crude oil declined below zero dollars in USA. Undoubtedly, this pandemic is exposing the flaws in the existing global economic system as global aviation, manufacturing, hostelling, tourism and many other industries have suddenly brought down to halt by a microbe. As the catastrophe is unfolding, much more is yet to come in term of the future of globalization.
The Chinese model of authoritarianism has proved successful so far against the contagious virus. The constrictive lockdown imposed by the country halted the spread within weeks. Additionally, the construction of thousand bedded hospital within ten days in wake of crisis is setting new precedent for the world. Although, for the free world it is unlikely to adopt the Chinese model but China has presented a new strategy to cope with the crisis. China has demonstrated ‘Whole of the government’ approach which is missing in other parts of the free world. China’s Successful strategy has provided new lifeline to authoritarian regime to legitimize draconian laws and tactics.
Similarly, the crisis had compelled nation to rely on their own resources rather than looking for aid and assistance. Though the notion of nationalism has already been prevailing in the global affairs with rise of populism and now this pandemic has endorsed it even greater. The absence of symmetry in actions taken by the global leaders of the liberal world along with their own fragile condition is causing chaos on global level.
The absence of global leadership is even more evident in these testing times. United States which is gradually backing of from its global responsibilities since the Trump inception in Oval offices now seems engulfed by the crisis. It is no more an ideal to deal with the crisis of COVID-19 magnitude as Americans are the top affectees of the disease.
Capitalism based liberal economic order is facing gut-wrenching sight in the wake of the pandemic. Not only the blind followers, but the designers of the global liberal economic order are suffering badly. Sooner or later, the pandemic will eventually be controlled, but it will leave indelible question mark on the extent of effectiveness of the current capitalistic economic model. It is too early to conclude that, whether the world will look for the alternatives to capitalism, but deliberations are required as the contemporary model does not suffice the modern challenges.
Trump’s America is entangled in the crisis and is no longer a model to be followed in the containment process .Whereas, China after successful overcoming of the crisis is now reaching all across the globe with medical aid and assistance. The country presented a success story in the fight against the egregious virus thus; a model to follow has a degree of influence over struggling states. Even before the emergence of the crisis, the Chinese have been enjoying economic influence across the globe through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).Being a paradigm of success on economic and security front, the country has sufficient potential to cause geostrategic power shift, at least to the extent of global east.
Climate change is another possible pandemic looming across the horizon.COVID-19 crisis can act as an eye opener for the global powers to take swift actions against the future catastrophes. Unlike the current emergency, the climate devastation may persist for a much longer duration and can even become irreversible if the world remained irresolute in the containing actions.
Similarly there have been limited global monitoring protocols on biotech based research programmes. In the midst of the contagion, reports have been emerging about the possibility of virus transfer into human in the Wuhan institute of virology, a research institute located in the first epicenter of the disease. The present scenario needs global powers to gather under in roof and deliberate over the possible causes and solutions.
Covid-19 Pandemic has conspicuously demonstrated the need of improving the existing global system. Unethical corporate behaviors for profiteering are proving costly for human beings. The unbridle corporate greed is not only responsible for the current sufferings but also the progeny of other social evils. It has major burden for Air pollution, water pollution, unemployment, low wages, social disparities, global warming, climate change and other new emerging crisis. The world must unite for an inclusive structure which should be based on care, cooperation and equality. International stakeholders need to revisit their priorities .This is high time to decide what kind of future they want to decide for the coming generations.
Similarly, unchecked industrialization, exploitation of natural laws and ecosystem for corporate greed and increasing competition for materialistic progress in the shape of trade wars are wise things to do? COVID-19, SARS and EBOLA Virus have demonstrated the imperatives of remaining in limit. Any clash with the nature may backfire and the cost will exceed the pleasure in gigantic amount.
Restructuring of Global institutions is important to make them more efficient and proactive. WHOs Failure to restrict the Coronavirus to China has shown a dire need of changes in the working mechanism of the institution. Similarly, United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Bretton woods institution, G7 and G20 have failed to meet the expectation of the developing world. United States has already backed off from its international obligations.
In such circumstances, if the belief on those institutions is not restored through prudent leadership and actions, the world may suffer even more via belief crisis. Developing world in such chaotic times is facing both existential and economic crisis. If liberal capitalistic system fails to deliver; these countries may look for better alternatives. Thus, it is important to improve working mechanisms of these global institutions to restore perished belief on the global system.
To conclude, the world is standing at the crossroad. Now, it has to trade off between erratically emerging global crisis and replacing the existing global structure with an improved one. Undoubtedly, Globalization has endorsed corporate greed, unbridle profiteering, clash with nature, unequal distribution of wealth and cruel social stratification. Only s system of mutual cooperation, care for natural laws and equitable distribution of wealth can guarantee a promising future for the world.