Rage Against the Machine

Op-ed by Žikica Milošević

The world order is falling apart and it doesn’t seem to stop easily. From one hand, there is a situation i the USA, where there is an uttel commotion about the presidential primaries. The supporters of Bernie Sanders, who lost momentum and let Joe Biden take over the leadership believe the primaries were rigged in many ways.

And many of them now want to emphasise (together with their leader), the importance of Medicare For All, since ovee 30 million Americans don’t have any medical insurance, which proved to be critical in this coronavirus situation. Furthermore, Biden tried to offer the olive branch to Sanders, who appered unwilling to break the bread with him – he said he would need few weeks to think about his campaign. In fact, the hashtag #demexit appeared as the 4th most mentioned and trending hashtag in America, with many supporters of Sanders being resolute to leave the Dems and start the new, third party, called probably the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). It would mean many things: if Sanders decides his primaries campaign is doomed and the Dems are not worthy of mending, he will, with his growing young and Latino supporters, file his candidacy right now, in November. He might not win, but it would undermine Biden’s efforts. If he does not become a candidate and does not endorse Biden, Biden is still likely to lose, since it is more probable for Biden’s moderates to vote for Sanders than for Sanders’ resolute progressives to vote for Biden. But it would mean that some things are still achieved, like Medicare For All – Biden decided to incorporate Sanders’ healthcare strategy in his programme, instead of his previous “affordable healthcare”. And still, nobody know what future brings: until November, many things can happen – many Americans are now aware that they would need Medicare For All. And President Trump is offering some “Socialist” measures himself: helping big enterprises, with possibility to take over the shares of helped companies. And even $1k per citizen in the next 6 months, which would be the first case of Universal Income in history, after Switzerland, Canada and Finland discussed about it previously. Coronavirus might be the milestone in American politics. Since people are angry and want more solidarity now.

On the other side of the Atlantic, in Italy, the tage over their situation is not settled down. The ordinary citizens started talking about Italexit, and started the hashtag #italexit, invoking referendum after the pandemia. And this rage is now connected to the previous rage caused by the euro’s flaws and sucking up money from the Southern Eurozone to the North, explicitly Germany. And these are not Salvini’s fans at all. Angela Merkel was calm and reasonable in her speech about the pandemics, and was praised as “the leader of the free world”, but she admitted that Germany is currently sitting on 2500 respirators and waiting for 1000 more to come, while in Italy the people die for weeks for not having enough of them. France has only 500 of them. It is good for German citizens, but it shows the harsh truth: every man for himself. Then, why do you need EU if the mightiest economy does not help the countries in need, but reserves every help for its own citizens? If you have to call China for help, what is the benefit of the EU?

The EU has woken up finally, offering a package of 750b euros for helping the halted economy rise again, and that is good. Also, some restrictions over export of medical supplies to the candidate countries have been lifted, making the rage of the candidate countries a bit milder. Since what we expect to happen in the second half of 2020 is the “Mother of all recessions”. If for example, the economic activities in a country, like Germany, falls to 50% of the regular, it causes the drop of 4% of the GDP. So, if it happens during two months, the fall is 8%, and in three months it will amount to 12%. If the predicted GDP growth was, say, 2%, the final result will be 10% of GDP drop for 2020. Pretty much for every big economy – Italy is expecting 17% GDP drop, some sources say. This corona-crisis will define our era.

The crisis will define our era in many aspects. The societies will have to become more cautious about the nature, will have more solidarity, less individuality, better healthcare systems. This is how Mother Nature punished us for our sins. And some political factors will use the situation, don’t be fooled. China is already feeling victorious since its collective system with state grip and the leadership of one party, showed efficiency. Russia will say that illiberal democracies like Putin’s rule are more efficient than full democracies. Germany will argue that the clever cold-blooded crisis management is crucial, but the southern EU member states will accuse it of selfishness, and they will be accused of not being enough disciplined and organised. The rage might prevail. Be careful what it brings.

In the end, it might show that we did not need more money, cars and clothes. We needed more solidarity. This is like WWII of our times – and the world in 2021 will be much different than the world in 2019, just like the world from 1945 was much different that the world in 1939.

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