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Thought Piece: Coronavirus in the Global Context – the Impact and Consequences of COVID19 on the UK Economy &Beyond

Beyond our Borders: the Impact of the Coronavirus on International Cooperation, the Eurozone’s Economy, the Politics of the US, and on the Future of China has Serious Global Consequences

Assessing The Impact

We will not know the full extent of the political impact for some time, but looking at the 1929 Crash, it was a failure of markets the like of which we’re currently seeing that paved the way for the return of the State, which in one particular case had utterly lethal consequences. By the 1970s of course, the State had become too big, too ungainly, and essentially unfit for purpose and electorates responded accordingly. Fast forward to 2008 where markets failed again and the State came to the rescue, this time more concentratedly to aid the alleged perpetrators of that collapse, the banks. We see markets have tumbled once more, but in this case, there is not quite such an easy candidate for the apportioning of blame.

Out of this world? Chinese wet markets are reportedly still selling bats. Credit: Daily Examiner

In a nutshell, human encroachment into natural habitats has severely disrupted our species’ relationship with the world it inhabits. Deforestation causes species of animal that would not naturally comingle to come into hitherto non-existent contact with the other. Animal A carrying a pathogen not lethal to it comes into contact with and passes pathogen onto animal B which has close proximity to or is the food of humans – this is an example of a zoonotic disease – COVID-19, Ebola, and HIV are all zoonotic diseases. Humanity’s greed and wilfully or not, its abject disregard for the environment, are what is to blame for the outbreak of this disease, the disruption to our lives, and the otherwise unexpected deaths of so many loved ones. But landing this at the collective doorstep won’t do. Yes, we all bear some responsibility, but it is arguably China which is going to feel the most searing heat, the coldest steel.

The debate about China will be much louder and broader than ever before and it will not centre on trade or global economics. When the dust settles, as it intermittently has been these past weeks, China and her values, her competing way of life, and the suffocating embrace of her state functions, will be debated. The seismic sparring ground of November’s US elections will be this. Trump will present Biden as a friend of China, a closet communist, and Biden will present Trump as the gullible fool who unwittingly trusted the Chinese administration and therewith disastrously handled this crisis. The debate is not limited to the US or its elections however and nor has it been in the not-so-distant past. Just think of the outrage over Chinese-state-sponsored Huawei’s role in the UK’s 5G network. Australia decided to ban Huawei from having any involvement with its own rollout and has recently rejected enormous Chinese investment into a vast earth minerals enterprise. China may now more broadly suffer a capital formation gap as it is forced to step away from various endeavours, pushed out of a lot of markets in which it is heavily invested with infrastructure and logistics investments, legal or not, (Italy is an astonishing case study in this regard and not far off being de-facto owned by the Chinese state) being the most notable casualties. Chinese investment vehicles may well have to withdraw and there will be massive opportunity for western investors to fill the gap.

It is interesting to note that at the onset of China’s outbreak late in 2019, which we did not, until recently, know to be quite so long ago on account of the CCP’s suppression of a potential pandemic, domestic flights in and out of Wuhan, the origin of the outbreak, were banned whilst international flights were not. Was this a deliberate attempt for the disease to spread beyond China’s borders the purpose of which that China would not endure the coronavirus alone? Was it a desperate scramble to make everything appear business-as-usual while authorities tried to eliminate the virus at source?

Had the Chinese state been utterly transparent with the rest of the world we would arguably not be facing what Kissinger qualified as a multi-generational upheaval. The WHO has its fair share of blame here and Trump is right to question its response and very possibly right to accuse it of collusion with the Chinese authorities. Separately however, incumbent US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s repeated assertions that the virus was created in a Wuhanese lab and deliberately released are at best farfetched. The WHO downplayed it early with the result that we have all had to overplay it now. As a result, long-term lockdown has become an even longer-term risk. This, along with their nakedly-political shunning of Taiwan, which has, ironically, shown up the WHO with its exemplary response to the crisis, may have rendered it unfit for purpose.

People will suffer, people are suffering, inequality is laid ever barer and will become increasingly exacerbated, and younger Millennials and slightly older Zoomers are guaranteed to be first generations poorer than their parents. What will this drive? Apathy and disillusionment. And you add that to the combustible embers of climate change, lockdowns, and economic crises, through which they in such a short space of lifetime have lived and they might just question whether the State does in fact have any answers. You might ask whether this is the kick up the backside our species needs and whether it will engender the changes to our ways of life that humankind needs to survive on this planet. Earth will be just fine, don’t you worry about that. Sea levels may rise, diseases may spread, animals and humans alike may perish, but the earth will find a way to carry on, only without us or with significantly fewer of us.

Henry Kissinger foreshadowing the world that awaits after COVID-19. Credit: FDD

The reaction

Eurozone

We are sliding down Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in terms of security, but beyond our economic security we now have the physical side of things to consider more than ever before and compared to its affluent northerly neighbours, the southern eurozone block will feel this the more keenly. The crisis has exacerbated tensions in the Eurozone with north and south frictions re-emerging to the tune of the eurozone sovereign debt crisis of the early 2010s. In the south, trust in politics has declined and populism has increased, on both left and right, and this lockdown period (as well as the next one, when it happens) will disproportionately hit the southern periphery.

Up till now, the suffering of the south has been a two-headed snake, political and economic, but now it faces the three-headed hound of hell with health added to the toxic mix. Will the Eurozone be able to get through this in a way that keeps it together for the longer term with the imbalances that exist? As with many other democracies, the questions of inequality, jobs, tax, and wealth redistribution will be big topics, but they will be acutely so in this region given the destruction of wealth, mass unemployment, as well as government and central bank stimulus – the EU is close to issuing common debt for the first time and this is a very big deal – the Italians, Spanish, and Portuguese would issue bonds that the northern countries would de-facto buy. The north owning the south.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Plateresca / Getty Images

In terms of a Eurozone recovery, the typical V-shaped iteration will instead be U- or L-shaped and also very prolonged, all the more so when you think of the Italian, Greek, and Spanish debt going into this crisis (e.g., Italy 130% debt-to-GDP ratio which will likely balloon to 180%). Latent tensions and imbedded structural problems will aggravate already stretched relationships between the EU and periphery states. Skilled workers are ever more likely to leave the imperilled nations in question and those that remain may simply not bother to vote. The political fallout will be just as volatile as in 2010s given severity of the economic downturn. We will not see dynamic and sustained growth and the resentment and retaliation that will ensue from the conditions placed on debt relief could very well be the hay bale that straight-up kills the camel.

As for Germany, despite its commendable handling of the crisis, perhaps nothing surprising given the Wundermensch of a captain at the tiller, its all-important car sector may be permanently damaged, and this might be the looking glass held up to their economic hegemony. A return to the Mark would not be disastrous, nor would an end to its picking up the bill for its southerly partners, but the implicit trade arbitrage from which Germany benefits under the single currency would come to an end.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at a press conference about coronavirus, as journalists sit far apart. Credit: AP

The US

The US was in pretty decent shape before this crisis, with record unemployment and meaningful wage growth for the lowest 25% of earners and for African Americans and Hispanics. Towards the top, wage growth was up but not by nearly as much. Wealth was actually starting to be redistributed in the United States, at least along the lines of these data, something nobody would have expected under a Republican administration. What there is to be said however, is that if the markets lose faith in US leadership, they will invariably drop lower.

How things can change ever so quickly. The 2nd-Amendment-wielding, conspiracy-theory-believing segment of Trump’s base likely isn’t going anywhere and so too a lot of those who have become wealthier under his presidency thanks to rising markets and targeted tax cuts which just happened to favour those with wealth in Republican-stronghold states, but with an economy that has contracted 4.8% in the first quarter of this year, the biggest contraction since the recession a decade ago (with worse still to come), comingled with an utterly bizarre handling of the crisis, at least from a publicity point of view, all the more so given the stark contrast between his and Governor Cuomo of New York’s, the scales could just tip in the Democrats’ favour come the November elections. The President incumbent has been forgiven his litany of foibles on the basis of record-low unemployment, something Democrats will invariably highlight as an Obama legacy, and 401k (Americans’ company-sponsored pension pots) values flourishing thanks to bull markets that were raging almost inexplicably. Not dissimilarly to the CCP, break one part of the popular contract that keeps you in power and the people may just rise against you (not that this has yet happened in mainland China of course). Trump may just win the debate on China, however. Despite what his rivals will try to expose as unwitting trust of the CCP and the consequent, bungled management of the crisis (which still sees polling at 55% in support of the President’s handling of it), Trump has been exposing the security, humanitarian, and economic risks posed by the CCP to the rest of the world for the last 3 years. China is economically damaged but the CCP’s reputation with the rest of the world is irrevocably damaged. The triple threat of debt bomb, ageing demographics, and popular rebellion (e.g., Hong Kong) could be the melting pot its regime cannot survive. Xi making himself president for life, many might argue, was a sign of weakness not strength. In all this, Trump will undoubtedly argue he is no mug. This said, for all his bluster on China, it has not stopped their surge to topple the US from its superpower perch, nor  has it stopped the enduring presence and indeed expansion of the world’s largest post-WWII concentration camp in Xinjiang where over 1 million Uighur Muslims have been detained for ‘rehabilitation’, de-facto enforced apostasy. Trump’s shallow repetitions of, “I stand with President Xi”, from one affront to democracy, liberty, and humanitarianism to the next will inevitably be exposed.

Right, a little more on the President’s handling of the crisis and how it might be interpreted as a self-serving re-election strategy. The virus, as Americans know it and so too the rest of the world, is not, as the President and his cable network acolytes have touted, an equal-opportunity killer. Here in the UK we know that BAME (black and middle eastern) communities have been disproportionately afflicted and, in the US, a not dissimilar picture. The research arm of American Public Media reported that 27% of those killed in the US by the virus up to the middle of April had been African American, more than twice the demographic’s share of the population. This segment of the population does not traditionally vote Republican. For all the images we have seen of gun-toting ‘freedom-activists’ blocking roads and ‘militarily’ occupying state legislature, the most iconic of which in Michigan’s state capital, Lansing, the great majority of Americans support the lockdown according to a Pew poll. Double the number that fear the lockdown will drag on too long are worried about it ending too early. Despite his tweet of “Liberate Michigan!” in apparent support of the (very limited number) of protesters and as a thinly-veiled attempt to undermine Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, his support of the early lockdown release is pulling the wool of over the nation’s eyes. Add to thesereports that small-business-relief funds (the equivalent of the UK’s furlough funds) are disproportionately flowing to Republican (red) states, not Democratic (blue) ones. In South Carolina, 56% of small-business applications have been approved. In Texas, 58%. In Utah, 66%. In Kentucky, 69%. In Kansas, 79%. In Nebraska, 82%. All red states. Compare that to blue Washington State where only 45% of applications for small-business aid have been approved and blue New York State, where the figure stands at only 40%. Blue California 38%. Blue District of Columbia, only 30%.

For all the Democrats’ apparent chances, based on moral disapprobation perhaps more than anything else, Trump has two devious weapons up his sleeve that could ensure the continuation of his tenure. Either, by getting factory workers and service-level employees, who both need to be physically present in order to carry out their jobs and are unlikely Republican voters, back to work, he pushes the country to effectively trade poor people’s lives for the pursuit of economic recovery, or he gets a televisual culture war to distract his supporters from the troubles he himself aggravated by ignoring the briefings he received as early as January 3rd by asking voters to blame the governors who have been forced to respond to his failure to prepare for the pandemic. Given the collective awareness (gullibility) of a significant portion of his base, this is likely to be a highly-effective tactic. Mass unemployment tends to favour a Democratic candidate and Trump knows this, so if he can at least argue that the trend is favourable, he may just eliminate his opponents’ chances.

Armed conservative protesters rally at Michigan’s state capitol, Lansing on April 15, 2020. Credit: Jeff Kowalsky

The UK

The UK lagged the rest of the developed world in stock market performance last year given the uncertainty around its actual exit from the EU and the perceived potential for it to not so do. Its rebound is far from certain, but there is increasingly-strong confidence in this government’s capability to lead the UK out of the current crisis without having crippled its health system whilst simultaneously having got its economy back on track. Central Bank and political decisions will have serious implications for this nation.

Brexit will go through but on a justifiably-delayed timescale and Boris will get away with it, possibly being all the better for it. Alliances will be formed in spite of our exit and perhaps the more so, given what you have just read on the Eurozone, because of it. The sympathy over his contraction of the virus, Churchillian speeches, especially the one wherein he donned a suit and addressed the nation only just having been released from hospital, as well as his staunch defence of the NHS which might just distract from years of cutbacks, the arrival of a child (some twenty or so years younger than his half-siblings but so be it), and a seemingly cool but authoritative head in such heady times have bought him significant goodwill to accompany his large majority in the Commons despite what many will deem a sluggish response to the crisis which went against his, his party’s, and the chief scientific officer’s better instincts – to arm a big percentage of the population with the antibodies required to reduce the infection rate and enable people to more rapidly return to work. What the government will be judged on is the clarity and efficacity of their exit strategy, a damned if you do damned if you don’t conundrum, on which they will understandably be very reluctant to shed light until the last possible moment, not least until the best practice of comparable countries can be gauged. Does the now seemingly-ugly question of China rear its head in British rear-view mirrors? The UK and a good many of its infrastructural projects have had far from an insignificant amount invested in them by Chinese investment vehicles, most of which in some way propped up by its state, and as such, we (above and beyond this government) will have questions of some rather delicate importance to answer.

Many argue that a second wave is inevitable and that it could be even worse than the first, the more so given the unexpectedly-disciplined reaction of the British public to lockdown which means that viral exposure has been much less than expected and therefore the ability to withstand a fresh round is impaired. This said, a phased easing of restrictions seems to be the only way to go. The poorest in society are the most disproportionately affected and of those that do have jobs, they tend to be the kind where you need to be physically present in order to earn. These people, by and large, aren’t in a position to be furloughed and do not qualify for self-employment relief; the effect not only on their finances but interconnectedly, their mental and physical wellbeing, could leave the health system burdened far beyond the prevailing.

Captain (now promoted to Colonel) Tommy Moore who has captured the hearts of the nation with his campaign to raise what was initially £1,000 for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden for his 100th birthday. Donations have so far exceeded £32m and he received an RAF flypast as well as a card from HM the Queen in honour of his centenary. Credit: Graeme Bandeira, Yorkshire Post

Rebounding with Easing

Determiners of how quick a market rebound will be comprise the success of suppression-easing measures and whether there will be a second wave and just how severe it might be. The Germans have emphasised the importance of keeping the R-ought number below one-per-person even as lockdown subsides and economic activity picks up again. One way of achieving this would be to keep lockdown measures in place for the most vulnerable, especially the elderly given they do not form part of the supply side of the economy, and doing the opposite for those who are part of the supply side of the economy and likely less susceptible. Much improved personal hygiene standards, thanks to nigh universal awareness, leaving distance between each other in public, and a push towards the scale of testing that would allow the asymptomatic to tell if they have the virus from which rapid tracing of infection chains would ensue all ought to help authorities balance the trade-off between economy and health system. Mask-wearing, as the UK government has very recently suggested, could become mandatory, though with cloth masks rather than medical ones.

The consensus among epidemiologists is a second wave (73% agree that it will happen according to a March study) falling most likely in autumn or winter of this year, though of course given this is a probability not certainty, the results of easing in earlier-afflicted countries will be closely monitored. If travel restrictions are eased, especially international travel, and the colder weather increases the transmission of the virus from the asymptomatic, the likelihood of a second wave increases, but its severity will be somewhat mitigated by increased immunity in the population as well as mass testing and tracing. There may also be drugs available to treat the virus, even if these do more to assuage than wholesale cure, which could ease hospital capacity, and it is possible the virus may mutate to become less deadly by the time the second wave strikes.

To best manage that second wave, the authorities’ understanding of how to balance the damage to the economy vs the strain on the health system will have had to improve, although this balancing-act isn’t quite as straightforward or binary as economy vs hospital capacity. Lockdowns don’t just hurt the economy; they have an impact on domestic violence, mental health, and child abuse and these will also be front-of-mind for decision makers. There is also the risk of other diseases and illnesses not being properly treated as a result of capacity constraints.  The longer we take to emerge from lockdown, the greater the number of lives these will claim. Professor Karol Sikora, a British cancer specialist and former adviser to the World Health Organisation, said the UK should begin easing lockdown as soon as Monday 4th May with the opening of shops, small businesses, and garden centres and, as glib as that might sound, “see what happens”. The argument here is that, if we don’t immediately see a second wave of the virus, we should look to be as close to fully operational (schools open; pubs and restaurants back in business) as possible whilst maintaining some social distancing measures. Professor Sikora justifies this aggressive approach by saying, “If we don’t do that, more people will die from cancer and heart disease.” Of course, many pubs and restaurants will not survive if we are not permitted to pack them out. For the grown-ups to go back to work and staff these businesses, their children will need to be allowed back into school. Let us hope, as recent research has claimed, that they (children) are not in fact the most viable vectors of this virus.

Changes to life as we know it

There can’t be too many people who think flights to every nook and cranny of the world, which has by and large been possible under the auspices of low-cost airlines some of which may not exist once the dust settles, are suddenly going to be back in full swing. It is likely that we will live and travel with the prospect of being turned around or even stranded mid-journey or -holiday. As for commuting, how will people be able to use the London Underground, that cesspit of germs, whilst social distancing? With buses capped at a proposed 50% capacity, when on earth will people get to work? If only four at a time are allowed into skyscraper lifts, how long will it take to get thousands of workers to their desks? Rush-hours will have to be staggered and some degree of work-from-home will simply have to be the new normal.

Even with masks, will this degree of proximity on public transport even be permissible? Credit: BBC

Not since the last great war have we faced the possibility of not being able to venture abroad at liberty. The halting of passage through borders is now very real. We will see a degree of deglobalisation, not least because of an increased desire to manufacture medicines and medical supplies domestically. Citizenship, residency rights, and geographical proximity will be of even greater significance.

This will have some effect on immigration and indeed the net migration rate could turn negative for a time. Lower-income immigrants may prefer the sanctuary of their countries of origin. The return of large-scale unemployment – one only need look at the thousands of job cuts estimated by the likes of IAG, other airline groups, and indeed Rolls Royce to gauge as much – will hamper the young and could breed new populism. Whether the environmental movement will suffer as the focus shifts to tangible crises such as pandemics, the medical means to withstand them, military escalations, and simply putting bread on the table, is yet to be seen. As a species we might just, more than ever, realise their interconnectedness. The fashion for ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investing of the past few to five years, with higher unemployment and taxation potentially akin to 1970s, risks seeming totally out of touch. And this acknowledges environmentalism having evolved from a lifestyle choice to a core security issue.

Property prices are likely to decrease in cities and increase in the countryside. If many more can work largely from home, then why would they not move further afield to enjoy larger homes with gardens and say, a bedroom for each child? Politicians will be forced to build roads and allow developers to construct car-led, low-rise suburbs. The government will have to stop persecuting motorists until electric cars become affordable, their batteries reliable, and a national network of charging stations a reality.

We will occupy a world conflicted, caught between individualism and collectivism. States and public bodies will have to cooperate and there will be greater data-sharing. The state, with de-facto war-readiness, will play the dual role of soothing matron and strict master. Families will build the wherewithal to shield themselves from the outside world. They will save more. However, they may just exist within more cooperative communities where each looks out for the other despite the realisation that disease can strike like it did our ancestors of old. As science (which will ultimately have to save us) falters, we will suddenly grasp the fallibility of civilisation. On the one hand materialism will matter more out of sheer necessity, but on the other hand less given death’s ubiquity and the role of chance. Will we see an end to intolerance or an increase in tribalism? Will religion’s influence rebound? Will we want to bring more life into this world?

Long-term inflation risk

Given the massive quantitative easy programmes implemented around the world in response to the financial crisis, there was already a growing belief that central banks were effectively monetising government debt. This has already been seen in the case of the US where the Fed has great difficulty shrinking its balance sheet. The extra debt now being assumed by governments will make this even harder. Bigger deficits, combined with the lessened power of globalisation, increase the risk of structural inflation drivers ticking upwards. Accordingly, riskpremiums will rise as investors seek greater returns as a trade-off for a higher risk of bankruptcy or a debt write-off. Depressingly for would-be entrepreneurs, business developers, and property-ladder-seekers, cheap credit could ultimately disappear. This may just be an age for equity, not debt.  All this government stimulus should prop up securities and property prices, but will it be unsustainable? Government spending should be targeted and temporary, not long-term and broad.

And what of the markets going forward?

A sharp economic contraction in the markets is inevitable, but the ensuing recession is likely to be short-lived. The historic relationship between the depth of a recession and the depth of a drop in the market is that there isn’t much of one. This might just add credence to the observation that even though economic data has been worse than forecasters expected, the market has tended to rally. What matters more for the equity market is how long the downturn drags on. Significant equity bear markets of the past, like those around the recessions of 1973 and 2008, were long-lasting recessions. Although responding to a perilous pandemic, the necessarily-drastic counterbalancing undertaken by governments has essentially been expressly contrived and as such, this recession will not so long endure.

During Yosemite’s closure, there has been a four-fold increase in bear sightings by park rangers. Credit: Treehugger

Concluding considerations

What is true for us all is that social concerns will be far less of a priority. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs may become a focal point for discussion even among school children.

Core, tribal worries over economic and physical wellbeing will meld with this sharp economic downturn and have a direct influence on politics.

Higher education is being polarised like never before, especially in the US because of the implication of increased chances of employment.

98% of the job losses in the US and are going to be from lower-income households. This will exacerbate tension between the winners and losers of Globalisation. High Net Worth individuals are being put under much greater scrutiny – just see the reaction to Richard Branson and to the wealthy fleeing to their second homes, especially in the US.

The battle grounds will centre on economic redistribution, wages, jobs, inequality, and the future of the planet from an ecological point of view, the more so given the ever-increasing habitat and species destructions which are so clearly affecting our own species’ chances of survival.

The populist fallout could be that the far left now grabs hold of power and exerts opportunistic control.

The current deficits being created will take generations to pay back and higher taxation will have to be embraced in bigger economies.

Economic hardship is stronger predictor of left-wing populism rather than right. The Left will argue that increased taxation needs to be taken on by the top 5% and even more so by the top 1% and tax restrictions will need to be tightened to prevent those at the top avoiding it.

There will be political winners and losers, but how interesting it is to note, by the evidence first and foremost of Angela Merkel but also the female leaders of Taiwan, New Zealand, Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Denmark who have, though time will of course tell, more commendably handled this crisis than their male counterparts.

Where governments have intervened, hitherto successfully, to track and trace us, we will see an unprecedented expansion of their power and surveillance.

China will be more damaged by a cutback on US trade than the US itself. The reputation of the CCP is permanently damaged and the effects will affect global productivity and development into the long term.

Models of working and the shift to online – will it work? Absolutely yes and it has to because of the lingering implications of social distancing on urban living and commuting. The ripple effects of this will be felt by supply chains, methods of delivery of goods and services, and ultimately by consumer bases, but the world will adapt.

Back to the UK

At least 45,000 have already died in the UK, measured by excess deaths alone. The Hong Kong flu which started in 1968 and would endure several years beyond claimed 80,000 lives and we may yet surpass it, first in absolute and then in per-capita terms. We have already surpassed the death toll of the 1957-58 Asian flu, which took 33,000.

How we compare ourselves to the likes of Germany, France, or Sweden will take years. This virus is a long-hauler, not a flash in the pan. Economically, the suspension holding the chassis has collapsed and the brake pads wear ever thinner. The financial impact of this pandemic is far greater than the Hong Kong or Asian flus thanks to lockdown and the socio-economic evolution of the last 60 years. Returning to full, pre-COVID-19 normality later this year or early 2021? Sheer Wünschgedank. Even if the Oxford vaccine defies the space-time continuum and delivers the miracle panacea.

The vaccine being developed at the University of Oxford has begun human testing. Credit: Oxford Vaccine Group

A follow-up conclusion and final note on global cooperation, centred around China

In the Western world, governments are punished for their ineptitude. This is the first major breach of the hitherto more-or-less secure socio-economic contract the CCP has with its people. If the Hong Kong uprising, the ‘rehabilitation’ camps (de-facto concentration camps) brainwashing the nation’s minority Muslims, Singapore’s successful CCP-distancing, and Taiwan’s excellent and transparent response to this crisis aren’t harbingers of doom for the Chinese authorities, they should be. We should not demonise China and her people. She is a remarkable country, cultural heritage, and workforce with an enormous and by-and-large skilled population. The world, our species no less, requires global cooperation if she and we are to survive the crises to come, and be assured, they will. The next 30 years, as the most sanguine of scientists attest, will decide more than what kind of future we have on this planet. They will decide whether we have one at all.  There is a tremendous amount that China can and must contribute to the changing of the world as we know it, and this can only start with a radically-altered system of government moved and ultimately promulgated by her people. We must help, not with interference, but with openness of communication, building of bridges, and a desire to support its people, industry, and expertise to mutually-beneficial ends. Leaving China in the cold risks the polemic unthinkable. If her economy implodes and her consequently dormant factories militarily repurpose under the auspices of a panicked state, we might just flick on the Terminator movies and wish instead for the Atlantis-style grave that could otherwise very well be.

This thought piece was written by Edward Downpatrick, Strategy Director for Fintuity

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