The coronavirus has put America on a war footing. Even though the president Donald Trump was slow in battle, the governors, mayors of the nation and industry leaders act in the same way as mobilization efforts for a major conflict. As with all great wars, this will change the way Americans think, interact with the world, and behave.
Since World War II, Western leaders have embraced globalization, governed by the rules of fair competition, as an enlightened policy to raise living standards. Economics teaches that increased trade links deepen specialization, spread R&D costs, and distribute technology to poorer countries to stimulate growth and lower the prices of many goods and services.
Now, coffee tables and cheaper cell phones from China will seem more expensive to Americans if its factories and consumers are at risk of disrupted supply chains due to recurring viral epidemics of the rapidly urbanizing population of China. the Middle Kingdom and with a cultural affinity for unsanitary living markets for wild animals.
Much like the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74, the disruption of supply chains for automobiles, electronics, pharmaceuticals and other industries threatens a “supply-side recession.” And contagions require shelter policies in place and mandatory business closures to eliminate pathogens.
Remedies such as direct payments to individuals, low-interest loans to businesses, and improved unemployment benefits, on their own, cannot revive the economy.
Too dependent on China
Revelations on dependence on China for essential ingredients of life-saving drugs expose the folly of intense integration with an authoritarian regime that warnings removed from doctors who first detected COVID-19 and allowed the disease to spread through weeks of denial.
Greater self-sufficiency – or at least dependence on allies for critical products – should now be a national security imperative. The blind cult of globalism and multilateral institutions among academics and other opinion leaders who influence American foreign policy can now be tempered with more sophisticated realism.
World War II accelerated the development of aerospace, communications, and many other technologies with broad peacetime benefits – the banal microwave oven that emerged from wartime radar technology.
Now new techniques—helped by artificial intelligence-are engaged in the frantic race for drugs and vaccines to fight COVID-19. Success will make these approaches permanent for applied pharmaceutical research.
Likewise, working from home and school closures can accelerate the development of offsite collaboration, networking and outreach. distance learning technologies– and the acceptance by companies, employees and students of their effectiveness.
Digital monetary policy
Macroeconomic policy making has become decadent. An aging world population saves more and more capital lowers interest rates during the recent expansion. Traditional Federal Reserve Tools: Lower the overnight bank lending rate, flood the banking system with liquidity and in times of crisis, support money market funds, corporate and municipal bonds and direct underwriting of business and consumer loans– have become much less powerful.
The Fed has resisted issuing digital dollars, leaving every business and individual to have electronic checking accounts in their regional branches, as banks do. This would allow direct and rapid injection of aid to affected businesses, such as airlines and small businesses, and stimulus payments directly to individuals much faster than the Treasury, Small Business Administration, and the United States can do. Internal Revenue Service.
Stay home if you are sick
About a quarter of all workers, or about 34 million, do not receive paid sick leave. Some states and localities offer benefits funded by payroll taxes, but economists warn these increase labor costs and reduce employment.
Now, the specter of fast food restaurants and other employees in public contact with COVID-19 showing up at work and spreading contagion could make a national mandatory sick leave program a public health imperative.
Contributions to World War I efforts helped adopt full women’s suffrage in 1920 and 1928 in the United States and Britain, while it was not achieved until 1971 in neutral Switzerland.
African-American valor during WWII and Korea ultimately disintegrated the US military and gave impetus to the civil rights movement.
The coronavirus is spread by respiratory droplets and simple touches, bangs and smiles replace hugs and handshakes. The common flu, which also kills many people, is spread in the same way. It could permanently change the way we greet each other during the colder months.
Maybe we should embrace the Japanese arc and with it a push towards greater civility.