Let's hope against hopes while corona prophesies doomsday
In the antiquity of human lives, plagues and pestilences ravaged life on earth, leaving behind deep scars in the psyche of mankind.
In the antiquity of human lives, plagues and pestilences ravaged life on earth, leaving behind deep scars in the psyche of mankind. They brought about collapse of already floundering regimes and disrupted global trade such as it is then.
Yet, the progress of human race as masters of the planet continued undeterred. We proved our resilience compared to the dinosaurs for instance. Temporarily the human societies were inward looking in a lockdown mode. But not for long! We are no more enlightened than our ancestors at this point of inflection. History repeats itself.
Consider the facts. We are positioned in a weakening global economy with globalisation on the retreat. Huntington's hypotheses of clash of civilisations along the fault line are in play. At least among some fault lines!
We see fragmentation of markets and minds. Brexit is not an accident. At all! Raise of neo conservatism with understated xenophobic fears are throwing spotlight on race and nationality. We witness oaths of loyalty reaffirmed for nation State. The global citizen is on retreat everywhere.
Humans function at multi-levels as emotional beings and as economic agents. Our success as societies hinge however when we act as change agents. In times of crisis, a herd mentality overtakes our political leadership. This is obvious.
This is also characterised by the "us" first thinking. Our dues to fellow humanity are reckoned as paid in supporting the WHO & the UN of course! Or are they?
Selfishness rather than enlightened selfishness is predictable behaviour. We must remember that much water (troubled) has flown down the bridge since. We have seen renaissance and many more defining moments making us more humane than before!
Now it is the turn of resurgence of internet girdling continents, nations, societies and people in tight embrace. We are more connected than at any other time in human history. It is the turn of virus embracing us in a lock of death.
It doesn't discriminate race, gender or religion. Yes! Very counter intuitive! For the virus we are all the same - essentially human! Our fragility is obvious and so is our strength fighting it united. It has taken an epidemic to underscore a point we have quite forgotten.
Acting as economic agents we were impressive. We created magnificent arrays of wealth creation and invented the "market". The virus is a black swan event for stock markets globally. There will be humongous supply chain disruptions and decline of production function.
Remember it happened before. Fall of Constantinople in 1453 was a trigger on a seismic scale. Not for long! We invented navigation to see the collapse of the silk route which powered the sinews of trade. When one door closed another door opened. A more interesting one too!
As Lord Keynes said, it is all about short run. In the long run, we are all dead! In the near future we tend to save than spend. Will stay home rather travel to all the exotic locales. We will downsize the frenzy of being a "global consumer"! Economy will shrink no doubt.
Less jets, yachts and holiday homes by the way!
What about our youth living moments of "déjà vu" in sports stadia and rock concerts with gay abandon? How long will this quietus remain, and we remain inward looking before the "beast "awakens?
James Lovelock aka "Gia" is crying hoarse that we are living as if there is no tomorrow discounting heavily on global warming and depleting biodiversity. We are playing God with "Crisper" manipulating genome at will!
I suddenly remember Malthus. Is the virus really the painful path to restore the sliding balance?
So, the next big thing definitely is Mars. May be Elon Musk is calling it right after all. I do hope centuries from now there still will be a blimp on a lonely planet somewhere in the galaxy. I am hoping it will be us!
(The writer is former IAS officer and AP State Election Commissioner. Views expressed are personal)