Chronic. They are three who dominated 2020 and whose future will bear the mark. The Covid-19, Xi Jinping and Donald Trump. The virus has changed everything, for everyone and for a long time. Victim of the pandemic and his incompetence, the American president leaves, loser, haunted by his defeat, sent home by the voters, condemned to play golf for life between two trials and three reality TV shows. Master of the virus at home, his Chinese counterpart is more than ever the strong man of the moment – worrying in more than one respect.
The year ends with months of economic and health devastation caused by Covid-19. The pandemic, estimates the weekly The Economist, is believed to have affected some 500 million people, most of whom have never been tested. It has already caused nearly two million deaths. In the developed world as in the third world, the rich have been spared more than the poor.
The year ended with a contraction in global wealth of around 7% – the deepest recession since World War II. 2021 undoubtedly announces a recovery in “V” – “V” like a revival in arrow. Or rather “V” for vaccine? The pandemic has accelerated many of the ongoing upheavals. We will not live “as before”. The Covid-19 has made digital technology happy – the companies that dominate this industry and those who use them. Practicable by the best paid or the most qualified, homework has exploded. We will not come back to the office “as before”. Offshoring, homeworking will be a form of “virtual immigration,” says Martin Wolf of Financial Times.
Regionalization of trade
Debt, especially public debt, has also exploded. More in demand than ever, the State, everywhere, provided the social shock absorber required by the economic disaster. Finally, the pandemic has exposed our dependence on China. It accelerated a reflection on the absurdity of “value chains” – geographically too fragmented production processes – which, here and there, weakened the sovereignty of States in this key sector of health.
The Covid-19 will increase the regionalization of trade around three major trade poles: Asia (or the Asias), the American group and the European Union (EU). The new face of globalization is emerging, more regional, more state-owned, more digital.
Between the two major economies of the planet, the virus has accentuated a multifaceted confrontation – pitting the fearless Xi Jinping against the clownish Donald Trump. The first, China got the better of Covid-19. But the crisis also exposed the opacity and brutality of a regime mercilessly tracking down all those who testified about what happened in Wuhan, the starting point of the pandemic. Something to hide?
You have 51.05% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.