Op-ed by Žikica Milošević
The world is entering a critical phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is marked by a sharp rise in the number of infected people in the West, while China and South Korea, including Japan, are recovering slowly but steadily. The others are coping and everybody will start thinking about the world AFTER this finishes.
Image: Ben Frost
THE MASSIVE BAILOUTS & AMERICAN SOCIALISM
In a bipartisan bill, Donald Trump set aside $ 2 trillion (that is $ 2,000 billion for anyone who doesn’t comprehend big figures easily) to help the US economy: $ 1,200 for each American who is paid under $76,000 a year (less than $ 6,000 a month), plus $ 500 for each child. $ 367 billion has been set aside for small businesses and a $ 500-billion-fund will be set up for large companies, industries, cities and states. The Washington Post is critical of this, saying it is the beginning of “socialism” in the USA and that Bernie Sanders’ ideas have finally won, even if he does not become the president. Joe Biden is in trouble. He cannot finance his campaign by having “room meetings” and has to do it all online. Biden is not an online guy; Bernie and his supporters are. Also, there are no big rallies where he (Biden) can demonstrate his strategy. It seems that the current president got approval for his handling of the situation, while the NY Governor Cuomo has become the real superstar, outshining Biden. Cuomo is really worried and claims that the pandemic is spreading like a bullet train. Half of the registered cases are in the State of New York. The American individualism is a perfect ground for a successful virus.
Politically-wise, the only thing that might trip Trump up is the fact that sometimes the people punish those leaders that led them out of the bad times, like Churchill and Truman, who got dismissed by voters immediately after the victory in WWII, because in their eyes, the leader from the time of crisis reminds them of the past tragedies. That seems to be the only real challenge for Trump; not Biden or Sanders. Maybe if the Democrats replace their candidate with Andrew Cuomo? Who knows? Everything that is considered unimaginable is happening now. There is one more thing to add here – the planned bailout seems to be “digital”, i.e. there will be more money in people’s accounts but it won’t be paper money. Some analysts say this will be the beginning of “the digital dollar”; like some kind of a cryptocurrency. We will see.
MASSIVE BAILOUTS AND SERBIA’S INERTIA
Putin has allocated 300 billion rubles, businesses are not paying rent or payroll taxes and contributions, while workers continue to receive their wages. The EU printed 1 trillion euro and distributed 780 billion euro to the economy, while Angela Merkel gave 50 billion euro to freelance artists, theatres, designers, musicians, etc. Yet Serbia has the following controversial announcement: “We will compensate you for half of the losses and we cannot solve your company’s insolvency.” This sounds very wrong. Maybe we should think about Serbia after the coronavirus. If we survive physically, with the right strategy in place, we may also survive the economic consequences of the virus as we survive the virus itself. But the government’s strategy has been causing outrage during the last few days.
BRAZIL, INDIA AND THE SURVEILLANCE WORLD
India, a country with a population of 1.3 billion, has declared the total 3-week-lockdown. The citizens are banned from being in the usually bustling streets, and in the environment that is known for its poor sanitary standards, that seems like the only reasonable solution. We have seen the scenes from the Indian streets with the police beating citizens who disobey with sticks. At the same time, the Brazilians are becoming increasingly outraged with Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president, trying to underplay the situation and diminish the danger of the Covid-19, while encouraging people to go to work and live normally. Sweden is acting cool, like it is not their world, living pretty normally, while at the same time, Norway is falling apart. The UK is getting tougher, but the curfew is still not imposed. 2 billion people are in lockdown now. The world we know is falling apart. The American GDP is predicted to fall in the Q2 by a staggering 30%! The rest of the world faces a similar destiny. Sooner we get out of here alive and well, better the chances for reviving our economies from the consequences of “the Mother of All Recessions”.
At the same time, countries are implementing surveillance measures through tracking mobile phones and thus establishing the location of their citizens, especially the possibly infected ones. Russia, Israel, China and many others are already imposing surveillance measures. National Geographic Magazine informs us about the exciting new microchip when implanted will tell us exactly who is ill and who is wandering around. The brave new world might be just around the corner.