The world we live in is surely a stratified one by race, religion, culture and economic status but the connection among states in international system is very plain. Extensive exchange of goods, capital and people around the world made our universe connected starting from the outset of the human civilization. Obviously recent technological innovation reduced the gap of geographical proximity. So any single major event in any part of the world is capable of bringing immense implication for the rest of the world. Recent outbreak coronavirus is casting doubt about the future order of connected world. Here I do not mean globalization as a free exchange of everything or free border rather a connected world by institutions, World Wide Web, shipments, etc.
Quantifying the consequences of coronavirus is meaningless to me. Number of virus affected deaths, cancellation of both international and domestic flights, slowdown in stock market, rising expulsions of labors, companies edge to bankruptcy are soaring every day with new increment. So, arbitrary quantification would be inadequate to measure the consequences of coronavirus. By the time readers read this article, events may soothe or deteriorate. But what we can say at this rudimentary stage is the consequence of coronavirus is and will be high for both China and rest of the world.
All states are knitted in a chaplet. Specially the emergence of international institutions covering finance to health, security and many more compelling all states to engage with each other. Obviously this complex linkage accelerated the pace of exchange and transaction benefiting a vast number of people around the globe. Despite developed countries’ exploitative nature, many poor were able to change their fortune from this connected system. Evidently disruption in international chains is causing consequences for all irrespectively. Predominantly the international division of labour creates whole process more complex. For example, the laptop I am using to write this article has been compiled in USA, Germany and finally made in China. We are not sure how many countries’ workers were behind this tiny laptop build up. So what is evident is that the global market structure is very integrated. One’s alteration causes another’s change.
Undoubtedly China is a crucial actor in international production. Its supply of intermediate manufacturing goods to both developed and developing countries for producing complete goods create an extensive dependency on China. Even US producers have higher level of dependency on Chinese goods. Countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam are also affected by Chinese coronavirus disaster. Bangladesh is going to face all-encompassing shortage in manufacturing sectors. Scarcity in raw material for garments and other electric parts would likely to bring a slowdown in Bangladesh economy.
Immobility of goods and people are two pillars of globalization. Coronavirus outbreak around the world caused a stagnant situation in these two major foundations of globalization. Not only people restrained themselves going from China rather elsewhere. Countries are imposing restrictions on interstate travel. We do not know the severity of coronavirus in many authoritarian or semi-democratic countries. Eventually most liberal countries would be also parsimonious to share actual condition of coronavirus fearing rejection from other countries and domestic panic. Middle Eastern migrants are on moving. Similarly coronavirus has been detected in African region where people’s mobilization is faster than goods. Notably Chinese presence in this region is very high. It would be horrible for African region and other developed part of the world as well since not effective treatment cure has not been discovered yet and unlikely to get in near future. All are under threat of fear. It is also economically jolting for all countries. Shipment of goods from China is nearly poor. It is also the scenario for all busy ports. We have seen the global market shift in the wake of trade war. For example, USA could buy Bangladeshi garments which were made by Chinese raw materials. But this time, the world is left with no viable market substitution. Overall business will be hurt massively, if not bringing major economic depression.
Analysts have already started to fuel Chinese leadership failure. Even they claim that China will not be able to regain its global position as it used to have before coronavirus outbreak. Others still put faith in Chinese recovery. Whatever the actual tentative scenario is, it will take time for China to rebuild its global economic empire. China sparked by building a hospital within 10 days, but could not manage coronavirus outbreak efficiently. China deserves credit for its capability of quick infrastructure building but also deserves humiliation for its weakness in bringing cure for this virus. This virus is not new rather had taken place in 2002 eating approximately 900 lives. On the other hand, Chinese position as an emerging superpower must be hampered. People will doubt about the reliability on China. It should not be thought that China would stop its old business rather would take time for recovery with new vigor, target and pace. Question of globalization would remain critical as coronavirus hunts down more lives and damage economy. We do not know if there will be any major shift or not but certainly severity of coronavirus would be remembered for a long period of time.
The author is an undergraduate student of
University of Dhaka.