After the rain, however intense it may be, the sun always ends uprising. But the sun, after the global crisis of the coronavirus, will illuminate a world that could be different from the one known until now. May this article serve to reflect aloud on this different world from which the renowned Israeli essayist Yuval Noah Harari inspires us. Because the decisions made hastily in the coming weeks will shape the economy and societies of the future.
▶ At the national level, it is in times of crisis like the current one where governments have the best alibi to use totalitarian monitoring of their populations, in fact, we already experienced this problem after the attack on the twin towers, in which many governments, led by the United States, chose this path. The difference is that almost 20 years after those attacks, today’s technology is infinitely more sophisticated and allows to literally monitor each and every one of the citizens of a country if so proposed by its government. Faced with the current crisis, China has followed this line and probably Israel or the United States could adopt the same policy. This massive monitoring has worked to stop the epidemic in China, they will tell us. However, What we will not know precisely is what personal information is being collected and stored, nor if its use will go beyond the objective of combating the pandemic or will also serve to know the political or commercial trends of the citizenry. But what other alternatives do countries have beyond entrusting everything to mass monitoring? Well, probably, if in the last 20 years scientists had been more trusted, and given the necessary resources, we would not have this problem today.
That should be the way for the day after the coronavirus, to put at the service of science and the health sector all those new technologies that until today have been put more at the service of monitoring citizens than at the service of scientists to improve our societies.
▶ At the international level, we have to understand that the globalization of the economy, according to the precepts of the World Trade Organization, has allowed a level of international trade never seen before. However, the same internationalization of the economies, with the controversial relocation of the manufacturing centers of the Western world to countries of the so-called emerging economies, generating value chains for the manufacture of a single product that can cover several countries, causes an A major problem in a distant country could end up affecting the entire global economy. Is it not true, if we are honest with ourselves, that many of us think that this problem in a Chinese province that is difficult to pronounce, and more difficult to place on the map, was a problem foreign to us? Well, it’s not like that In a globalized economy, all the important problems of any economy within the circuits of global economic activity is everyone’s problem. And precisely because it is everyone’s problem, the coordination of all countries in the multilateral world, which we have been building through the institutional framework after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 89 and the collapse of the Soviet world in 91, is essential to face this crisis.
And lo and behold, a fundamental piece like the United States, which had been promoting this multilateralism, has now, thanks to Donald Trump, abdicated that crucial role to move to isolationism and bilateralism. In the decisive hours of this unprecedented global crisis, we can only hope that other leaders with a longer-term and more generous vision can overcome: perhaps Merkel’s reputation, perhaps Macron’s intelligence, or Conte’s decency, in time. we’ll know.
What we do know is that it is very sad and worrisome to hear Trump rename Covid-19 the “Chinese virus.” It is further proof that probably the worst president the United States has ever had, will not grow in the same direction as the global interest of the world. Let’s hope that those other more generous leaders will succeed in superimposing multilateralism in the general interest of the planet over the myopic, short-term, and provincial interest of Donald’s “Make America Great Again.”