How the World Would Change After the COVID-19?(Extended Version)
Updated: Sep 10, 2020
It is already known that the pandemic of the COVID-19 virus has caused chaos to the world in all aspects, economic, social, politics including people’s way of life. I have already described the direct economic impact in the article, “Corona Virus: A Nightmare of the World Economy?” in the column Bangkhunprom Chuan Kid, on Thairath Newspaper dated on February 24, 2020, since the situation outside China is not severe and the infection rate has slowed down.
However, I quietly accepted that the spread of the virus is more serious, faster and widely spread than previously estimated. Therefore, it must be encouraged once again to all frontline health personnel including public and private sector officials around the world who are trying to treat this enormous impact. I hope that this nightmare will end with the corporation of everyone in social distancing, especially staying at home to stop spreading and getting infected. And to benefit directly from the government remedies during difficult times. As well as the success of the invention of treatment methods and vaccines against viruses as soon as possible.
But don’t you just lose hope because every crisis has occurred and it will naturally be abolished, this pandemic too is the same. The next important question is when this crisis will come to and end and how will this world change? Now, please be invited to look ahead and think about each other in various aspects, with additional requests, especially on the issues of two important global warming at the end of this Extended Version article as follows.
1.The deglobalization will be more concentrated and will change the global supply chain dramatically: during the past two years, before this crisis, we have clearly seen already that many countries using inward-looking policy or protectionism. Especially, from the trade war erupted by President Donald Trump of the United States that encouraged American companies to return to domestic production and discourage foreign trade. This issue becomes even more apparent with the COVID-19 crisis that underscores the belief of the right-wingers and those who do not support globalization that being too dependent on an international production system is dangerous which will speed up the transformation process of the existing global supply chain. That is, countries will increasingly rely on their own supply chains and diversify production and sales risks without relying on just one country. Clearly because of the effects from the production process or the market when the product is closed down as a result of measures such as closing the city or the country to prevent the spread of the disease. In addition, the governments of different countries may turn this crisis into an “opportunity” to think carefully that the country’s economic policy will go in any direction, by trying to diversify economic risks by not relying too much on any income, such as not only exports or tourism but relying on consumption and investment in the country as an important mechanism as well.
2. Framework issues, particularly in public health will be resolved to be more thorough and more equitable: the COVID-19 crisis put pressure on many governments to turn their attention to public health fundamentals and not let the market mechanism manage as it used to be. Especially, in the United States which the public health system does not have a universal health insurance system. This crisis suggests that whether a person can access public health services shouldn’t be an individual matter. Because one person who really is actually the carrier of the disease, but can not go for virus checkup service because he/she can not pay for the checkup even though he want to go and still live the normally, causing the spread of the virus to others without knowing it until finally controlling the disease in general is difficult. And is one of the reasons that makes the United States faced with pandemic crisis worse than other developed countries, as is currently seen in the number of people infected in the United States that rapidly surpassed Italy. So after going through this crisis we may be able to see the increasing role of the state welfare system in each country.
3. Society will step into the full digital system to keep up with changing consumer behaviors: every crisis leaves a legacy. Back in the days of the SARS outbreak in 2002, it made a major turning point. The use of online technology such as e-commerce in China has become very popular among people, in particular, Alibaba and JD.com because people avoid being infected from public spaces and turning to buy more products online. This crisis will leave traces as well, reinforcing the traditional and department stores to leap forward in order to seize the market from online commerce, including many types of digital technology that has been around for a long time but has not been used by many people. This crisis forced people to turn to these technologies seriously, and create more opportunities for more players in the market. For example, platforms that allows remote communication, hold meetings or events in which consumers are familiar with and permanently change their behavior to technology. In addition, even educational institutes have to use online teaching methods to replace all during critical which may completely change the world education system after the crisis. And last but not least, people may be afraid of using cash or bank notes because paper can be germs carrier. Even after the COVID-19 crisis has passed and will become accustomed to strict sanitation, to the day-to-day life with safety in mind. With these factors, electronic payment systems are becoming increasingly popular.
4. Solving the “Global Warming Crisis” problem may reduced in the post-crisis period: when the COVID-19 crisis is over, economic recovery will be one of the government top priority in each country. The decision to rehabilitate depends on the policy of each country because investing in long-term infrastructure can be made in parallel with sustainable environmental conversation such as in renewable energy, environmentally friendly public transportation etc. The scary part is policies of some countries especially United States under the direction of President Donald Trump (and will continue to lead if elected back later this year), which has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, will move forward with economic recovery? I expected that President Trump to continue to revitalize the manufacturing industry to its fullest and will accelerate production without paying attention to reducing greenhouse gas emissions at all. Aggravated by governments in many countries that may focus on the use of clean energy as well. Because in the past oil price dropped a lot from the oil price war, especially between Saudi Arabia and Russia. And looking ahead, oil price will remain low, partly from the contracted world demand causing no incentive for countries to turn to clean and higher price energy instead.
5. The COVID-19 crisis does not help the global warming crisis improve in the long run as many people understand: most recently (April 5, 2020), the director of UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) has explained that COVID-129 should not be seen as “environmentally beneficial” by decreasing economic activities in the past. Whether the air quality is improved or reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it is only temporary. Do not forget that this pandemic has caused the amount of medical waste and hazardous waste to increase. And if we do not change production and consumption behavior to be more environmentally friendly, the global warming crisis will certainly continue and intensify. The most important point that I would like to remind all readers, which is rarely mentioned that while we all have to do social distancing by staying or working at home during the COVID-19 crisis, we conjoin to increase heat to the world unknowingly: using the internet and digital data unknowingly. Especially, pampering oneself with entertainment, bring about the need to produce a lot of electrical energy and increasing the microwave frequency to transfer digital data between each other. From my point of view, it is seen that when society is stepping into the full digital era as described above, everyone should be aware of the other side of the coin, internet and the innovation that come wit it too. I have not said that you should stop using it at all. Because it’s useful but saying that “Every time you use, should be using with awareness of its benefits and dangers. And should be used as necessary.” Because humans tend to have the habit of saying “did not see the coffin, not shed the tears,” often having to face the danger directly to themselves first then realize that “Oh well, I should have done it long time ago.” … Do not wait to blame for the dangers of global warming caused by our own hands without knowing it. I believe that if we are not working together today the danger of the global warming crisis will come to us without delay. Likewise with the COVID-19 crisis, but this time it is coming quietly, severed and extremely protracted!
** This article is a personal opinion. Therefore, it is not necessary to be agreed with the opinions of the agency that I am working under. **
Article by Suparit Suwanik