“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
― Brene Brown
Much is being penned and wondered with regard to the economic ramifications of this pandemic. The rapidly-soaring world has been forced to a halt, retract and suffer blows. Finding one’s breath again, picking up oneself, brushing off the dust and endeavoring to resuming the strides is not going to be easy.
Nations which shall be able to contain the virus effectively and pick up the threads faster in the aftermath, shall stand to wield greater economic and political power than they did in the pre-corona times. And therefore, the assertions that the East shall call the shots even as the West grapples with the losses, are not unfounded.
However, right now, it is vulnerability at the fore.
And it is very rudely that we have woken up to find ourselves this vulnerable.
Intellectual synergies and services-centered economies loomed large in the post-industrial society. It did not matter who was manufacturing what, as long as goods reached everywhere and needs were met and trade prospered. Even if we did not make goods, we could trade in them or rely on services such as BPOs, tourism, commerce etc for jobs and higher living standards. Today, our poor manufacturing abilities have underlined our dependence.
Our dependence is pushing us all towards one nation on whom the world largely depends. Notwithstanding the anger seething in the minds of people across the world towards China, decision makers almost all over the world are turning up at China’s doors for refurbishing the supplies, particularly the medical. Hence, accusations may most likely not be loud or blunt. There are reports of the press in Germany, Pakistan (obviously) and some other nations hailing China as the new world leader, given its impressive response to the pandemic. (????????) and yet, it is from this vulnerability there shall spring the realization that the dependence must shrink; that innovations at home must be beefed up and that start-ups and manufacturing units must be provided with all the facilitation needed.
International co-operation may very well take a backseat if dependence is reduced. Even in our case, if our dependence on China is reduced in the next decade or two, the competition or even hostility may become more overt. Compelling economic reasons were the reasons for many a restrained reactions to long-standing bilateral feuds between nations. If the exposed incompetency and vulnerabilities (during this pandemic) propel us inwards and towards reduced dependence on external powers, nationalism shall overtake internationalism.
In the post-WW II times, politics (rhetoric) was national and economics was global. Have the scales tilted the other way round now? Perhaps, politics (feuds) shall be global and economics national? .
Author: Navniit Gandhi
Dr. Navniit Gandhi is an academician, freelance feature writer and an author. One of the books authored by her is titled: National Security: Emerging Dimensions and Threats.