Coronavirus Gathers Steam and Engulfs the Western Industrialised Nations
The world has been shaken by the coronavirus which emanated from China and spread all over. When I see photographs of deserted streets of New York City which I have visited when it was gay and bubbly and now looking like a ghost town reminds me that something is seriously afoot.
The virus has some peculiarities. Firstly, despite all the denials with the Chinese the fact remains and has been corroborated by many that the markets of live animals for food in Wuhan were one of the breeding grounds of this virus. Tortured animals kept in small cages some of them to be eaten alive led to the breeding of this virus. The sellers also maintained unhygienic like no proper disposal of exotic animals like snakes, frogs, and scorpions with unwashed buckets.
Secondly the Chinese are guilty of trying to cover up the virus the moment it was discovered. One of the doctors who reported the virus was arrested and the Chinese wanted to hide this virus from the world. This was a dangerous ploy and it boomeranged badly on the Chinese and the virus spread and thousands died. China officially accepts about 3900 deaths and over 100,000 infected. I will take these figures with a pinch of salt as I suspect the real figures are much higher.
China, we must remember is not like the United States, England, or India but is a totalitarian state which professes to be Marxist but I don't think they follow even one percent of what Marx had stated.
In the crucial incubation period of the virus, the Chinese are guilty of not having warned the world. They allowed the business to continue as usual. Maybe they were worried that in case the news of this virus spread, the countries which had outsourced many industries to China may backtrack and that would be harmful to their economy.
The western industrialized nations which claimed to be advanced like the United States, the UK, France, Italy, and Spain had outsourced their major manufacturing activities to China. Whatever you want whether it is a Samsung mobile or an Apple laptop it was all made in China. During my last visit to Dubai I had picked up Apple MacBook Pro and I was surprised when I saw on the back the words pasted "made in China."
The outsourcing of all these activities to China bolstered the Chinese economy. Western corporations and business leaders thought they were making a good profit by getting the product made in China. A similar product made in their own country would have cost them three times the amount.
China has been a growth hub for U.S. companies looking for ways to boost their bottom lines. Now those companies are on the front lines of a growing health pandemic that’s infected nearly 10,000 people and killed at least 213. The companies were looking to improve their bottom lines while West Europe the reasons were a little different.
Europe, in particular, has a low birthrate which is unable to sustain growth. This has led to a limited workforce which has to be paid high wages with social security benefits resulting in a product costing much more then what was made in China. China being a totalitarian state could get the workers to work by coercion as the system of an organized union by workers for their rights is non-existent in China. I cannot imagine a manufacturing plant/ factory in India which does not have a worker's union which negotiates with the management for the welfare of workers and increases wages. All this is banned in China but the western powers in particular turned a blind eye to this, happy that their corporations were making a healthy profit by getting the products from China.
The outsourcing of business activities and manufacturing processes to China opens the floodgates of interaction with the Chinese population. China gloated in its newfound power and importance and it aggressively began to market products made in China all over the world. Countries like Italy began to have direct flights to China and vast numbers of Chinese began to come as tourists and social intercourse increased.
All this was okay till things were normal but nature always has a hand to offset the illogical deeds of man. This is the essence of the Gita the message by Lord Krishna to his pupil Arjuna before the commencement of the battle of Kurukshetra. The Chinese by putting a lid on the incubation of the virus greatly harmed the countries who had trusted China.
The Spread of the Virus
One fine day the Chinese had to admit that a pandemic is on. They had however wasted a lot of time before they acknowledged it. The world has not experienced such a virus coming from China before and many were complacent about it. Nobody expected that what was happening in China could start happening in their country. Countries like Italy which had outsourced almost all its manufacturing activities to China with direct flights even to Wuhan were complacent. The net result was that the virus spread like wildfire and as per the Italians admission, more than 5000 have died. This is not all but Italy has to put under lockdown, something which had never happened before. The death toll however continues to mount and Italy will never be the same again.
Even the other European countries like France, Spain, and England have the virus entering their system and hundreds have died. We must remember that most of the European countries are small nations compared to India and China and their population also is very less and yet they have thousands who have died. Sadly when the virus broke in Wuhan the Chinese were not enthusiastic to propagate news of this virus.
The United States is an enigma. It is the biggest power in the world but it has a massive trade deficit with China. Right from the time of President Johnson when China went nuclear the Americans have always been in awe of the Chinese. Over the decades the trade deficit touched astronomical figures and it was only Donald Trump when he became president and began to react that people realized what was happening. It is still 45 billion dollars.
China became a world power as the United States did not have the will to oppose it. They even lost the South China Sea. President Duterte of the Philippines made a very pointed comment when he said that if the Americans were keen, why did they not send five aircraft carriers into the China Sea and stop the Chinese takeover.
There is no explanation as to why President Johnson was sitting on his haunches when China was testing nuclear weapons especially as the Americans seem to be so concerned about a puny country like North Korea going nuclear. Did they think China was a more responsible nation? The spread of the virus proves otherwise.
The virus has now entered the United States and deaths are mounting. President Trump is right in referring to the virus of the "China virus".China has objected to it but that is factual position. Trump is also guilty of initially not taking proper steps as he did not realize the gravity of the virus and did not declare a lockdown till much later. Almost 3.5 million Chinese visited the USA in 2019. This was inevitable with the close enmeshing of US corporations with China. An example of investment in China is Starbucks has 4123 outlets and Marriot 348. It was adding to the bottom line but America should have alerted earlier but they delayed and the result is there to see.
One factor which has emerged is that the Coronavirus has basically affected the advanced countries. There are many reasons. One can summarise and say that the western developed countries had become decadent. This is as per classical Marxism. That was the reason they began to outsource everything to China. They also failed on the fertility factor and the western woman in Europe had a lower birth date and hence Germany began to import guest workers from Turkey who is Muslims. We are aware of the entry of Muslims refugees to Europe who earlier was welcomed to help out the labor shortage.
When all these points are added up, Europe and to a certain extent America was sitting at the top of a volcano which was bound to blow up sometime. The virus has now spread globally and frantic research is on for an antidote.
China has controlled the virus for the time being with strong-arm tactics.These cannot be replicated in the western advanced countries which pride in their democracy and the rights of man. Thus the European countries would be fighting the virus with one hand tied behind their back and also their economy will suffer as they themselves are these days not manufacturing anything having outsourced most things to China. They were relying on China to bail out their economy and millions of Chinese visitors were entering Western Europe.This was the Pandora's box that was bound to open and it released the coronavirus.
Where do we go from here? The virus is like the genie which has come out of the bottle. I don't think it will go back. Most of western Europe and England are in a locked-down state and so is the United States. Even countries that are not affected to that extent by this virus have learned their lesson and have taken precautions like Australia and New Zealand. India is lucky as it has outsourced very little to China and Chinese visitors to India are a fraction of what they visit the USA and the west.The Indian Prime Minister also declared a locked down much earlier with the result that just about 10 people have died compared to thousands in the West.
In my thinking, the virus can be controlled but it will mark a sea change in the life of the people of the world. China will have to do a major clean-up act. One will have to restructure one's life and that is going to be a very big effort. The question we have to ask as to how long this lockdown can continue? if it continues indefinitely the economy of the world will be damaged and virus or no virus many will still die. It's a very frightening scenario but as usual, I am always optimistic and it's better late than never.
The world will have to do something about China. China has gobbled Tibet and almost the entire South China Sea under the very nose of the western world and India. The Chinese think of them as the "Middle Kingdom"- the center of the world.
If the situation reverts back to what it was before the virus and once again the western countries restart their business activities in China they may be sure that something much worse may happen later on. Classical Marxism may come to play and what Marx called that the 'decadent' western civilisation may well become a historical truth.