No Country Can Restart Alone

No economy is an island. Not even islands

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I live on a small island that has, for the most part, suppressed the first wave of COVID-19. It doesn’t matter. Even if we don’t have a relapse, we’re still screwed.

No economy is an island. Not even an island.

No country can restart its economy alone because the economy is global. We are all literally in one boat and, unfortunately, this thing is going down.

Sri Lanka

Try to bear with me, we’ll get to white people. Let’s just start with Sri Lanka as an example. We’re restarting our economy with less than ten deaths, but the damn thing won’t start. Because exports and tourism have blown out the window. It doesn’t matter what we do. We’re just treading water in an ocean of hurt.

It doesn’t matter what any one nation does. Unless you’re North Korea, you’re part of the global economy. You can stop your economy from completely collapsing, but you can never get it back to where it was. John Donne said no man is an island. No nation is either.

Sweden

Thank you for your patience, now we’ll return to white people, which seems to be the only thing western media understands. Take Sweden, the whitest of the white. Sweden decided on human sacrifice to placate the economic gods.

It didn’t work.

The dying part worked, they have 10x the death toll of their neighbors, a higher death rate per capita than America. The economy part, however, failed.

Sweden let over 3,460 people die, on purpose. Norway, with double the population, has a death toll of just 230. Can you imagine? The callous loss of life? Sweden decided to just have dozens of planes crashing all around them, and they’re still crashing.

And it didn’t work.

Sweden is still going into recession at a projected rate of -7 to -10%. Norway, without the human sacrifice, is projecting a recession of -5.5%. It’s like human sacrifice doesn’t work. Because it doesn’t work.

Yes, it ‘looks’ like Sweden’s economy is open because people were at restaurants and bars, but this was just the band playing on the Titanic. The Swedes could have saved lives but they just cut the lifeboats and played music.

It turns out that your economy isn’t driven by appearances. It cannot be willed into life by going out and drinking furiously. Our economies are all connected and our lives all matter.

South Korea

Let’s take South Korea. If anyone should be able to weather this, it’s them. South Korea suppressed a very heavy first wave without ever locking down. Idiot nations blame lockdowns (rather than the disease) but Korea never even did that.

It didn’t matter.

They did everything right, they pumped in money, they gave cash to quarantined people, they’ve proposed a Korean New Deal.

It still doesn’t matter. They’re in the same boat as everybody else. Especially with Americans actively dynamiting the hull, no one is safe.

Exports are down. Job losses are the worst since 1999. Even in one of the best-run nations in the world, the economy is still taking a hit. Korea is at least honest about it:

“As the incumbent economic crisis was caused by a contagious disease, there can never be a complete recovery unless a valid vaccine is developed and distributed,” said Chung [Chul]. (Korea Herald)

Blaming lockdowns for economic pain is like blaming a fever for a disease. The fever is just your immune system trying to help. Unless you cure the disease, you’re still sick.

Again, it doesn’t matter what any particular country does, because we’re all connected. It’s like your thumb saying ‘hey, I feel fine.’ OK. Still sick.

We’re in this together

Right now almost every border in the world is, to some degree, closed. Within these containment fields, many epidemics have been suppressed. Many countries are beginning to reopen (internally). It’s not just East Asia, almost everyone outside of the west has not been dumb and survived.

Still doesn’t matter.

Western nations are fools, but they had strong economies, built on a base of theft, slavery, and genocide. Post-colonially, they started actually paying for stuff, so other economies grew as well. We’re all connected. As they go down, we all go down.

The collapse of western civilization does not just affect them. It affects the global economy. Even if countries like China do get on their feet, it doesn’t matter when their trade partners are face-down on the floor. Countries can do a great job, like Trinidad and Tobago, but still be screwed because the cruise lines and tourism still aren’t coming back. We’re all in this together, and this thing is taking on water fast.

The global economy is one big boat. If there’s a hole anywhere, the whole damn thing sinks. And oh boy is there a hole. The entire western side of the boat has just sheared off. America is drinking bleach and opening windows. The UK is asleep. There are holes everywhere, and the minute you put a finger in one hole, another one springs up. We’re running out of fingers and toes. This thing is going down.

As sane countries like Korea have been saying from the beginning, the economy isn’t going to come back until the pandemic is put down. It won’t come back with the end of lockdowns, it won’t come down when your locality is under control. This economy is a global economy, and this epidemic is a global pandemic. We can put it down, but a return to anything like normalcy will be a global effort.

We’re all in the same boat, and COVID-19 is the iceberg. Find a sturdy wooden door, clutch your jewels, and hold on.

Written by

A writer living in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He/him. indi@indi.ca. Videos: tiny.cc/indication and podcast: anchor.fm/indication. patreon.com/indication

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