BY MUHAMMAD UMAR KHAYAM
Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”. This pandemic has been proved as the biggest challenge for not only human beings but also the existing system of the world. The pandemic crisis is re-making the world which uncovered many things about the current global system like global security and social dynamics and so-called liberal democracies.
After the great economic depression and WWII, it is this COVID-19 which affected the global economy, employment, global governance, labor, trade, and investment, developing economies, and particularly the movement of people within and across the countries and their health dynamics at a large-scale, where about 13 million people are affected and about 0.6 million casualties occurred. It also resulted in the rise of technology, learning and working at home, online business, and home delivery services.
This crisis created opportunities too but they need to have the competency of leaders, their will and practical steps thereafter, for a better future instead of conquering the world. There are two prevailing thought-patterns about the life and world system to be seen after this crisis in eyes of the international scholars which can be of political, economic, or social in nature.
The crisis creates opertunities too but it needs the competency of leaders
The first view is that it will affect the world at a large-scale and will lead towards the fundamental changes in the world order. Among these, the first is the change of the world order and capitalist system which is based on the freedom of people, right of ownership, free trade and free markets, and less governmental role in economic activities. This is not possible that the basic system would get changed because the reason behind all this system in the US, which is still politically, economically, militarily, and diplomatically strong and dominant in the world.
The second is that the decades’ practices of globalization would end which is also not feasible because it has penetrated so deeply in the global system that it became not only need but also part of the world system. This phenomenon of globalization is so complicated that it is not possible to remove it from the system.
The third is the rise of China which was already rising but this pandemic has given pace to the rise of China. It is trying to transform itself not only in economic aspects but also in technological aspects. The US tried to blame China and likewise, China blamed the US and both were caught severely by this crisis. The world has seen and realized that China reacted more effectively than other countries and it also supported other countries in different forms which are its diplomatic triumph. This quotation becomes fits in China’s case that “the bigger challenge, the bigger opportunity for growth”. China really exploited this opportunity.
The second view is the changing, which will occur, would not constitute the system level changing, rather some minor changes will occur at the world level. Among those, first is that generally, the whole world and especially the developed world will move towards the digital economies as this was also seen during the pandemic. The telemedicine, working at home, online shopping, and provision of services at door remained successful during this and it will increase further after the pandemic because the companies will not put their business at risk in case of future waves of this pandemic or any other new crisis.
The second aspect is that the digitalization and technology-use will increase rapidly particularly in developing countries and the world would move toward digitalization. Online learning, online shopping, and working at home, delivery services, and other online activities will increase.
Post Covid-19 world will be more digitalized and technological
The third is the most important change that may be about the health dynamics instead of security dynamics and this is the need for time to leave national interests and security perspectives because even the modern and developed countries’ governments have been exposed as they could not prevent their nations from this pandemic. Their populations are educated and they will demand health insurance from the governments while the developing countries are neither able to provide nor their citizens have the awareness to demand.
Last but not least is the movement of people and the immigration policies would get strict and the screening and detection of the virus will become part of post-COVID life as the same has already happened after the 9/11 attack throughout the world. The governments and companies will invest in such a crisis in the future to prevent them as they found another way to carry their businesses.
So, to conclude this, COVID-19 will leave the severe impacts on different dimensions particularly the economy, trade, and other social phenomena. It will change the world overview, many of these changes would last for some time but after the discovery of Corona Vaccine the life will become normal but till that time, the wave after wave will continue to affect the world.
The effects which have been experienced now will appear in more severe and extreme forms. This crisis cannot replace or end world order, capitalism, or globalization but will change minor settings. China is the only country that proved this challenge as an opportunity. In the end, this is clear that the crisis brought opportunities, and to avail them the manifestation of global wisdom, competency, and cooperation is required in world leaders who will guide and lead the world towards a health and welfare paradigm instead of the security and defense paradigm. (Edited by Mamoona Shakoor)
Also Read: Post Covid-19 World Order