Time To Weep & Think
The COVID-19 pandemic has started affecting the Globalised world, with many a country expecting an economic slowdown. India is no exception to it. Economic activities are hardly taking place because of the Lockdown. As a result, 81% of the country’s total workforce have turned idle. Some experts are of the opinion that the COVID-19 outbreak could trigger a depression that would be worse than that of the 1930’s…
Perhaps, this is the first endemic with which the poverty has no direct relation. The workers and products move freely in this world in the era of Globalisation. That is why this virus has reached Italy, Spain, the UK, the US, Iran and other parts of the globe from the Chinese city of Wuhan at a fast pace. The virus has affected mainly urban people, as major cities are the centres of trade and business. Although the virus affects mostly the aged people, it has a close relation with economic activities.
The Density of Population, too, is an important factor, here. So far, the virus has claimed most lives in densely populated cities, such as Wuhan and New York. India, as one of the densely populated nations (464 people per square km), is, naturally, vulnerable. The spread of the virus further helps realise the fact that countries, where the State’s presence in Civil Society is higher than in the West, have managed to control the spread of the virus. For example, one can mention Japan and South Korea.
Initially, China did not give much importance to the outbreak. However, the concerned authorities in Beijing restricted the movements of the Chinese people, and managed to bring the situation under control at a later stage. The online supply of necessary items has been playing an important role in keeping public life normal during the time of quarantine.
The problems encountered by the US and Europe are different. The Donald Trump Administration recently lowered budget allocations for the healthcare sector, as the US president wanted to privatise this particular sector. And now, the common people, there, are paying the price. Meanwhile, Europe’s problem is Individual Liberty. Italy and Spain took more than enough time to implement the Lockdown Policy.
Despite having world-class healthcare facilities, Italy has failed to tackle the situation. The Governments of Italy, Spain and Britain have also failed to realise that it is a new type of virus… so, it is necessary to take adequate pre-cautionary measures!
The unprepared world has no idea about how to revive the economy. As the modern world follows the path of Globalisation that is not at all environment-friendly, it has become really difficult for the Global Community to overcome the ongoing crisis. People, seemingly, have failed to realise that the seeds of the crisis are deeply rooted in the consumerist economic activities of the last three decades!
Globalisation began its journey in the 1990’s, as people thought that it would create new job opportunities and improve the standard of living. However, it lost its way earlier this century, with Market replacing the State as driving force of the Society! And, the State started working hard to ensure Market’s Empowerment. As expected, the concentration of Capital, and not creating employment opportunities, became the criterion for the economic success.
Meanwhile, the term Jobless Growth has been replaced by Profit Without Growth. The GDP rates are going down, slowly. As per data given by Oxfam, salaries of the working class people increased by just 2% in 2015-16, globally. However, the millionaires managed to increase their wealth six times during this period. Gradually, aggressive Capital has taken control of the environmental and natural resources all over the world. In its 2019 report, the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) clearly mentioned that compared to the pre-industrialisation era, more than 100,000 small and large species were about to disappear mainly because of excessive commercialisation, urbanisation and the escalation in nature-destroying activities! The human beings have destroyed the organic- and inorganic-chains of the nature, thus, endangering the economy, job market, food security and healthcare.
Our thought processes, minds and overall development require radical reform, right now. It is the time for human beings to concentrate on co-opeartion and coexistence, and not on supremacy or superiority. That is why the Governments, repeatedly, clarify that Social Distancing means maintaining physical distance, and not psychological distance! What is required is co-operation among the powerful and weaker States, and also among strong and weaker people. And, human beings should coexist with other species in this world.
Nurses & supporters at a vigil at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Centre on March 30, 2020
In order to implement this idea, the Global Community would have to agree on some basic issues. During the upcoming Glasgow Environment Dialogue ‘Cop21‘, developing and developed nations should agree on the goals of greenhouse gas effect on the ozone layer. Also, the developed nations would have to provide financial assistance to the developing nations in order to protect the environment… because it is related to the future of the entire human race. Secondly, Globalisation did not think about the persons whose lives have become uncertain due to the Lockdown triggered by the Coronavirus. These people should be empowered. Thirdly, the main focus of Development should be to improve the quality of life, without disturbing the characteristics of a particular region and nature. Most importantly, Globalisation has made a mistake by ignoring the healthcare sector. The time has come for the Statesmen to think which sector is important: Defence or Healthcare? Who can secure the healthcare sector… public or private institutions?
An endemic, like Corona, leaves people and the Governments in confusion. Wise men always learn from their mistakes. We have to make a final decision, keeping in mind the future of next generation…
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