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A Wider Vision for the Post-Virus Era

May 14, 2020
  • Yue Li

    Senior Fellow, Pangoal Institution

The whole world has been overwhelmed by COVID-19 within just a couple of months. Although the number of confirmed cases and deaths are slowing, the end may yet be far away because of insufficient capabilities and consciousness, especially in many developing and underdeveloped countries.

No matter how much we want to secure our lives and businesses through social distancing or even self-isolation, we cannot neglect the mega needs and the consequences of increasingly interdependent post-COVID-19 economies.

While the big powers are engaged in the question of who is responsible for the heavy losses, a bigger global map — a rational vision — is urgently required for the world to win the campaign, which is still struggling for a restored economy. All the countries deserve equal attention and qualified assistance simply for being a member of the world community. 

Weak economies with large populations have a much higher risk of losing control. Their poorer healthcare facilities can’t match those of developed countries, such as the United States. Failing to control the coronavirus and achieve social recovery, their economies will come to a standstill for fear of reinfection, even as the rest of the world moves ahead.

Small economies with large populations are even more fragile, given their national shortage of financial reserves. During an economic crisis, all that individuals and families can count on is their personal savings. As soon as domestic reserves and overseas aid dwindle, humanitarian problems will arise, creating a secondary crisis for the international community to address.

After taking part in economic globalization for more than 30 years, developing and underdeveloped countries have been reservoirs of raw materials, cheap labor, product processing and consumption, which means that most of them cannot be easily replaced in global industrial chains.

In some extreme historic cases, recovering their heavy losses in both money and family members, as well as mental anguish, disappointed people under long pandemics might even resort to violence. Wealthy foreigners were the most vulnerable victims. This will surely pose another international challenge for those who would protect their overseas interests.

Although there has been no sign of a U-turn in globalization, a positive trend of worldwide reconstruction and recombination of industrial chains is already in evidence, bringing along competing changes of contemporary partnerships and international obligations.

Therefore, we call for cooperation between major powers and international institutions, as well as the co-ordination of all available resources with all countries.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected 190 sovereign states, and not a single government is capable of winning this battle on its own. Cooperation is the only option. We should appreciate all the efforts and sacrifices that each government and individual has made to build a global anti-pandemic system, rather than pointing fingers of blame.

The United Nations is positioned to lead the global anti-pandemic war. It already has 82 governmental organizations, internationally linking up every economy in the world.

Helping others also means helping ourselves. Weak economies should be offered systematic medical, financial and industrial support and assistance. Their recoveries will represent a restoration of the overall human community.

Lessons should be learned and remembered. Having got the infection under control and reopened their economies, China and South Korea made yet one more positive step in helping restart transnational business by setting up green channels for travelers.

Relations between big powers should serve as a stabilizer of international operating systems. They must not fail or lose the respect of other countries. As China’s Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai said, “It’s time to stop the blame game.” Playing that game will only lead to greater division of the international community.

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