The Treaty of Versailles

The World after the Pandemic Part II

Democratic governments, however, have shown executive power on an equal footing with authoritarian regimes such as China. According to LOCALTIMEZONE, The explanation is precisely a high degree of democracy and trust. In the Nordic countries, people have trusted that the recommendations from the authorities are correct and important and behaved accordingly. Several less democratic countries in East Asia the same. This shows that authoritarian systems are not necessarily better equipped to combat the pandemic than democratic ones.

The corona highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the countries’ governance.

In Northern Europe, strong states have built inclusive welfare societies, which provide resilience in times of crisis. The pandemic has also revealed weaknesses here – for example, Swedish care for the elderly has proved weaker than in neighboring countries, which helps to explain the high death rates in Sweden.

But these are states that are well equipped to learn from the experience and do something about it.

In the United States, where the corona has made the country a showcase for miserable rule, it is harder to see the way forward. In general, the quality of the countries’ governance will be demonstrated not only in the ability to fight the virus, but also in the ability to learn afterwards.

5: Trends are amplified

Nationalism and authoritarian states were on the rise and globalization was on the decline when the corona came, and these tendencies are now intensifying.

Globalization will not continue as before. Opposition to it increased after the financial crisis, with growing economic inequalities as an important backdrop, and in the face of the pandemic, the states have focused on national measures. Save the one who can. There have been demands for more self-preservation, and for reducing dependence on individual states.

At the same time, many will work to strengthen the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international actors working for common solutions. But we will have to wait and see: the United States has protested, and in a number of countries the pandemic has created a greater mood for using resources at home.

Both authoritarian and democratic governments have, as we have seen, had mixed success in dealing with the pandemic, but some authoritarian governments have abused the opportunity to become even more authoritarian, as in Hungary, the Philippines, China, El Salvador and Uganda.

When the pandemic came, war and climate change had driven large crowds to flee. Now this problem is getting bigger, because it is poor countries with poor health systems that are hardest hit. Especially the poor among the poor – once again. A lot of unrest will follow, corrupt governments will crack down on the riots or collapse, and many will seek refuge.

After the refugee crisis in 2015, attitudes towards immigration and refugees became more restrictive throughout Europe. populism and nationalism increased in scope. The pandemic is giving new impetus to these movements, and when the number one priority is to get the wheels turning and people working again, there will be little mood for liberal refugee policy.

Geopolitics – especially the shifts in power between the United States and China – are also affected. There has been conflict between the Chinese and the Americans for several years. It has increased under Trump and the pandemic has made it worse. An institute that belongs to China’s highest intelligence body has just submitted a report to the country’s top management in which fears are expressed that hostility with the United States could end in war.

But there will probably be exceptions to the rule. Not all trends are strengthened in crises.

On the other hand, the harsh realities of the pandemic – harsh disease processes, life or death – have made people listen more to experts and professional circles than incompetent and / or populist leaders. In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro tried to bluff through the crisis, but with little success. And in Russia, where Putin first tried to play down the seriousness of the crisis, support for him has fallen. Following the financial crisis in 2008, confidence in experts weakened. It has given populists new opportunities over the past decade, but the corona seems to be reversing this.

Another trend, which does not seem to be strengthened by the corona crisis, is the climate issue. When the pandemic came, interest in climate and the environment was growing in both Asia and Europe. Now these issues are overshadowed by urgent financial tasks. The question is just how long. Do the governments manage to take advantage of the crisis to restructure the business community so that we come out on the other side with an environmental benefit? The rich Norway does not seem to be able to do it, and then there is little reason to expect others to do it.

6: Concluding remarks

The main thesis in this text is that what was going on when the pandemic came will be reinforced. This applies to criticism of globalization and the strengthening of the state. This applies to the restrictive attitudes towards immigration and refugees, at a time when the number of people on the run is historically high. This applies to the conflict between the USA and China, which also damages international cooperation in general. It is still uncertain whether the pandemic will strengthen support for authoritarian governance.

The exception to the rule is the renewed belief in expertise, which can put sticks in the wheels of populist politics.

The climate issue is put on hold. But in the meantime, we need to adapt to some environmentally friendly rules of conduct that may persist after the crisis is over.

About this and much more we can believe and believe, but not know. Reality has staged a gigantic experiment, and there will be uncertainty about the outcome for a long time to come.

The Treaty of Versailles