World in Chaos: Excessive taxation caused massive protests in Boston, which led to the American Revolution. The Storming of the Bastille in France led to the French Revolution. COVID-19 may be the next tipping point for global anarchy and revolution.
Economic forecasts that already suggest the coronavirus pandemic will cause the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression might be too optimistic, according to the head of the International Monetary Fund. “Yes, it can get worse,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Monday. “It can get worse if, during the second half of the year, there is still significant lingering impact of the pandemic that forces either a return to the lockdown, to the Great Lock-down, or a very slow reopening of the economies. It can get even worse if the pandemic goes on a second round-the-world trip.”
Georgieva’s team has projected a “cumulative loss” of roughly $9 trillion around the world, as scores of countries, lacking testing capabilities to identify infected patients, have adopted aggressive social distancing tactics to slow the spread of the contagion. Yet, the unpredictability of the coronavirus complicates both those calculations and the decision-making process for governments. “We just don’t know what is going to happen next,” Georgieva emphasized during the Atlantic Council event. “We don’t know whether the virus will make two rounds around the world. We don’t know whether vaccine and treatment will become available sooner rather than later. And, for policymakers, this uncertainty is very difficult to handle, but it is also very difficult for people.”
Those economic risks, over the long-term, are exacerbated by the surge in government spending that has occurred as national leaders try to support people whose livelihoods have been threatened by the social distancing strategy. Some analysts fear the spending could trigger a wave of debt crises, but Georgieva urged an aggressive approach in the short term. “Very clearly, the world is building up much more debt,” she said. “It has to be done … do as much as you can, and then do a little bit more, because this is the only way for us to go through the first stage of this crisis.” –Washington Examiner
Joker’s Revolution: This is class warfare on another level – In particular, COVID-19 exacerbates preexisting conditions of inequality wherever it arrives. Before long, this will cause social turmoil, up to and including uprisings and revolutions. Social unrest had already been increasing around the world before SARS-CoV-2 began its journey. According to one count, there have been about 100 large anti-government protests since 2017, from the gilets jaunes riots in a rich country like France to demonstrations against strongmen in poor countries such as Sudan and Bolivia. About 20 of these uprisings toppled leaders, while several were suppressed by brutal crackdowns and many others went back to simmering until the next outbreak.
And so it goes, wherever SARS-CoV-2 shows up. The International Labor Organization has warned that it will destroy 195 million jobs worldwide, and drastically cut the income of another 1.25 billion people. Most of them were already poor. As their suffering worsens, so do other scourges, from alcoholism and drug addiction to domestic violence and child abuse, leaving whole populations traumatized, perhaps permanently.
In this context, it would be naive to think that, once this medical emergency is over, either individual countries or the world can carry on as before. Anger and bitterness will find new outlets. Early harbingers include millions of Brazilians banging pots and pans from their windows to protest against their government, or Lebanese prisoners rioting in their overcrowded jails. –Bloomberg
If a vaccine or low-cost effective treatments are not found for the COVID-19 virus, the economic and psychological impacts on our societal structures will be too great to bear. Nation states will begin to disintegrate. Crime, revolution, and anarchy will become the order of the day as countries run out of money, food, and hope. We are living on a knife’s edge while staring chaos in the face and it is not wearing a surgical mask.