Hello friends. How are you all doing? I hope you are safe from this pandemic.
So a good news came and finally lockdown is going to be lifted with some restrictions, at least in my city. As I wrote in my previous blog that I had many things running in my mind in this pandemic, among which this question is an important one, ‘What will be our future after Covid-19?’ I think many of you also must be thinking about this.
I wonder what will happen to my business because being self employed means lockdown with no income. I am writing this from India, where I know many people who lost their jobs or got huge salary cuts. Coronavirus is hitting the economy badly.
There are a number of possible futures, all dependent on how governments and society respond to coronavirus and its economic aftermath. Hopefully we will use this crisis to rebuild, produce something better and more humane. But we may slide into something worse.
According to me there will be few changes in our future. I thought about it socially, economically and politically.
In many parts of the world, borders are closed, airports, hotels and businesses shut, and school cancelled. These unprecedented measures are tearing at the social fabric of some societies and disrupting many economies, resulting in mass job losses and raising the spectre of widespread hunger.
Social Distancing: This thing I am experiencing right now. Yesterday I went to grain market to buy groceries and saw a lot of people there. I don’t know why but my heart started pounding. I got really afraid after seeing a crowd. Also we all are not allowing our maids to come in our homes. It gives me a feeling that this fear of meeting people will go on for a long time. We all will not meet our friends and our relatives for a long long time. This will be a major change in our futures. We all have to follow social distancing for I don’t know how long.
Everyone is sitting at home, and their window to the world is through their smartphone. In the post-pandemic world, technology will be as ubiquitous as it is now, if not more, and tech companies will become even more powerful and dominant. That includes smaller firms like Zoom, and the big players such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Paypal. And not just Americans firms, but also Chinese.
A Fragile Economy: Lockdown is placing pressure on the global economy. We face a serious recession . This pressure has led some world leaders to call for an easing of lockdown measures. The economics of collapse are fairly straightforward. Businesses exist to make a profit. If they can’t produce, they can’t sell things. This means they won’t make profits, which means they are less able to employ you. Businesses can and do (over short time periods) hold on to workers that they don’t need immediately: they want to be able to meet demand when the economy picks back up again. But, if things start to look really bad, then they won’t. So, more people lose their jobs or fear losing their jobs. So they buy less. And the whole cycle starts again, and we spiral into an economic depression.
A recent IMF paper projects that the growth decline would be extremely sharp, with a huge rise in global unemployment, an almost 9 per cent expansion, mostly in the informal sector across the globe, more so in developing countries like India. Think millions of daily-wagers, small entrepreneurs, rehriwallahs—sabzi is essential service, but not pakoda, samosa, bhelpuri, tikki, cut fruit and the hundreds of other things you take for granted. And self-employed carpenters, plumbers, car mechanics, and small shops that would have been buzzing in a week from now with orders to clean ACs, and the rest of it. You, as a member of the elite or middle class, may manage to survive on good WiFi bandwidth and WFH. Down the class pyramid, things will be way more desperate.
Political Havoc: It’s a nightmare to just think what will be the political scenario after Coronavirus. In my country leaders who are famous for nothing but Corruption and power hunger will just rip the country apart to gain political advantages. I live in a country where our Prime Minister never held a press conference in his 6 years term and today in this pandemic also he is not talking to media and telling the countrymen the real situation. Also there are leaders in the world who are just accusing other people instead of doing good for their country. The United States has come under scrutiny by officials from other countries for allegedly hijacking shipments of crucial supplies meant for other countries. The Chinese government has been criticised by the United States for its handling of the pandemic, which began in the Chinese province of Hubei.
Politics will take an illiberal turn in most places, including India. The lockdown under a disaster emergency has allowed the State to concentrate power and act with reduced accountability. It would be reversed but, except in places where the historical memory of fighting for precious democratic rights has been kept alive, not in full. The US comes out a diminished hegemon, led by someone who commends injecting disinfectant into patients and commandeers medical supplies meant for other countries while de-funding global health. China is making a hash of seizing the vacated space. India has an opening.
In the very beginning of the lockdown you start thinking, Oh, this is just a quick thing; it’s just like a hurricane; it’ll be done in a couple of days.” “And then a couple of weeks into it, you start reading into conspiracy theories and rabbit holes, and then you get past that point, and you’re talking with your group-chat buddies and they’re sharing their cooking videos, and how they’re using beer and ketchup to cook food, just to make jokes. And then it gets to this point like, okay, this is getting old … when is it going to go back” to normal.
More than four months into the worst pandemic in a century, no one can predict whether we’ll ever return to something like the life we used to know.