How Do They Save Economics During the Epidemic?

In self-isolation, there was a request for the utopia of the post-apocalypse. The new world after rescue from the virus is characterized by distance education and online retail, remote work, and “consumption quarantine”, a fresh iteration of globalism and solidarity forms of the new capitalism. Thinkers construct a happy, purified civilization – and probably some of these predictions will come true. But so far we have seen the intense destruction of the old world. The degradation of the political and economic world system is long overdue, and “black swans” have been caught for years. Nassim Taleb believes that a pandemic is only a “white swan”, i.e. a crisis that would eventually take place with high probability. Perhaps the destructive events that we do not see yet are still waiting for mankind.

Fewer predictions about the state in which the world economy will emerge from the pandemic. No good news is expected. A month of quarantine even if you move your business to online is a loss of about a quarter of the developed world’s quarterly GDP. It is clear that states are deliberately sacrificing economic growth to save lives. However, quarantine measures have a limit when national economies will start to fall apart, and there will be disproportionately more victims of destruction and hunger than there are victims of the virus. In search of that balance, there are authorities all over the world today.

Every country is adapting sanitary regimes to its economic possibilities. The US and the EU are testing quarantine until May and July.  Italy, Spain, France are still leaving the population in isolation, although the economic outlook is unfavorable. People are supported by dotted social benefits and allowances, something like basic income. The situation in developing countries is much worse. Most people simply do not have savings, food and medical supplies, and States have extra resources in their budgets. “House arrest” has to be enforced with strong digital and police controls and high fines. In India and Africa, violators are simply beaten with batons.

It has not yet been possible to take advantage of the pandemic and test the possibilities of a digital dictatorship, but there is no doubt that the old world, the boundaries of personal rights, and the state are being destroyed. This erosion did not begin today. Following the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York in 2001, the Patriotic Act was adopted, which already changed the relationship between the State and the individual. It was believed that the restrictive measures and emergency capabilities of the authorities were not for long. Wiretapping, freezing of accounts, transfer, and imprisonment of suspects without trial, attacks on sovereign states – all wrote off the paranoid fear of terrorism. The state has gained experience in invading private life. Democratic governments have found it possible for some time to try on the role of authoritarian regimes. The level of hysteria and helplessness of an ordinary man turned out to be such that in exchange for support of the state people are ready to act with any personal rights. In turn, this gives the state a sense of permissiveness.

After the pandemic, we will have an economic crisis, increased unemployment, increased inequality, claims to the effectiveness of the authorities. All this against the backdrop of the erosion of democratic institutions. We can assume that in a crisis scenario this threatens public discontent and mass protests. The state may be tempted to use the experience of digital control for self-protection with the prospect of going into digital dictatorship. That is why it is so important today, in another emergency situation, to demand that the state fully complies with all laws and legal norms.