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World in Future after Corona Virus Epidemic

Muhammad Arif : Chairman Centre of Advisory Services for Islamic Banking and Finance (CAIF), Former Head of FSCD SBP, Former Head of Research ArifHabib Investments and Member IFSB Task Force for development of Islamic Money Market, Former Member of Access to Justice Fund Supreme Court of Pakistan

Three months ago, no one knew that SARS-CoV-2 existed. Now the virus has spread to almost every country, infecting at least people whom we know about, and many more that we do not. It has crashed economies and broken health-care systems, filled hospitals and emptied public spaces. It has separated people from their workplaces and their friends. It has disrupted modern society on a scale that most living people have never witnessed. Like 235 epidemics in the last 5000 years with Spanish flu of 2018 or World War I and II or the 9/11 attacks, this pandemic has already imprinted itself upon the worlds psyche.
Even a perfect response won’t end the pandemic. As long as the virus persists somewhere, there’s a chance that one infected traveler will reignite fresh sparks in countries that have already extinguished their fires.
It depends, for a start, on making a vaccine. If this were a flu pandemic, that would be easier. The world is experienced at making flu vaccines and does so every year. But there are no existing vaccines for corona viruses—until now, these viruses seemed to cause diseases that were mild or rare—so researchers would have to start from scratch. Its affect on humans would at least come within days or months or for at least a year, if not much longer.
Much about the coming years, including the frequency, duration, and timing of social upheavals, depends on two properties of the virus, both of which are currently unknown. First, seasonality. Corona viruses tend to be winter infections that wane or disappear in the summer. That may also be true for SARS-CoV-2, but seasonal variations might not sufficiently slow the virus when it has so many immunologically naive hosts to infect.
Secondly it has to be seen when people are infected by the milder human corona viruses that cause cold-like symptoms, they remain immune for less than a year or more.
The cost of reaching that point, with as few deaths as possible, will be enormous. The economy is experiencing a shock “more sudden and severe than anyone alive has ever experienced. About two in five people in the world have lost working hours or jobs. Hotels are empty. Airlines are grounding flights. Restaurants and other small businesses are closing. Inequalities have widened: People with low incomes are the hardest-hit by social-distancing measures and most likely to have the chronic health conditions that would increase their risk of severe infections. Diseases have destabilized cities and societies many times over.
After the pandemic, people who recover from COVID-19 might be shunned and stigmatized, as were survivors of Ebola, SARS, and HIV. Health-care workers will take time to heal. One to two years after SARS hit Toronto, people who dealt with the outbreak are still less productive and more likely to be experiencing burnout and post-traumatic stress.
But “there is also the potential for a much better world after we get through this trauma”. Attitudes to health may also change for the better. The rise of HIV and AIDS would completely change sexual behavior among young people who are coming into sexual maturity at the height of the epidemic. Similarly, washing your hands for 20 seconds or keeping yourself clean, a habit that has historically been hard to enshrine even in hospitals would now erupt again. Pandemics would also catalyze social changes. People, businesses, and institutions are remarkably quick to adopt or call for practices that they might once have dragged their heels on, including working from home, conference-calling to accommodate people with disabilities, proper sick leave, and flexible child-care arrangements.
Such changes, in themselves, might protect the world from the next inevitable disease.
World economic landscape would change with more emphasis on making expenditure on health and Education to make them basics of life. This would reduce expenditure on warfare material. Even Central Banks would have to incocorportae indices of Health and education in a country starting from its base line as last date of end of corona virus epidemic. The Philips curve which is used to control business activities and inflation would have to be extended by adding Health and education indices in a country’s monetary policy structure.
People would not spare those rulers and governments who have not played their due role in ending corona epidemic. This would pave way for true democracy to come on surface based on localities or at country level.
Joint family system would further fizzle down. The planet with 8 billion populations having its worth as $ 80 billion would go up after going down from Corona Virus epidemic. Doctors, Engineers, Scientists, Teachers, writers will come on the front line with the backing of Defense forces and Police with peasants and labors working in the fields and industries.
Another question is that how deeply will various projected scenarios for Covid-19 affect capitalism? An optimistic scenario says the crisis may end in two to three months. This will only briefly disrupt capitalism’s inputs and outputs. The focus will be on technical solutions to protect the rich from pandemics. But if it lingers on a few months more, large portions of its processing units may go bankrupt. State bailouts would be required to reboot them. With many states already indebted, high debt levels will necessitate increased taxes on the rich. But with basic ideology unscathed, this phase may be brief. Finally, a more prolonged crisis may lead to a major law-and-order meltdown, thus damaging capitalist ideology and institutions.
But the question remains that if it happens than who will fill the gap? Are progressive ideas and networks strong enough to steer society towards equity? Actually, terrorists, mafias, populists and autocracies like China and Russia may be better equipped to fill the gap. Thus, a fairer world seems an unlikely outcome of Covid-19. But it may come from a few more major capitalist mishaps and revolutionaries converting their dreams into concrete policy ideas for a fairer world to undermine ­capitalistic ideology.


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