Several Follow-up Thoughts on Professor Goodwin’s ‘Five Thoughts on COVID-19 and Geo-Politics’​

1. Bigger Government. It has become much more visible as a result of the W(corona)-crisis, and as such should be welcome if it means a more open, more receptive, more responsive and more efficient government. Otherwise, we may be heading towards “1984” Big Brother, fully armed with all high tech and fintech, AI, machine learning and other advanced IT and cyber capabilities…

2. Poor will become poorer. Very unsettling conclusion. I think inevitable social re-appraisal of value and contribution of certain low-wage professions (medical staff, critical infrastructure and food supply chain, etc.) that proved indispensable during global lockdown may somehow deter this trend. Growing inequality resulting, among other things, from unfair job remuneration ‘philosophy’ of liberal capitalism may lead to much greater political volatility and unpredictable geopolitical risks.

3. China. Sooner or later, this reset was bound to happen. The China-driven model of global producer, assembler and exporter has not been sustainable. W-crisis clearly demonstrated not only the vulnerabilities but also great and real global threats and risks of this model. Decoupling with China has already started, and this trend will shape the brave new world to come.

4. Hierarchy of needs. Fully agree with Prof. Goodwin. With the advent of Bigger Government, voters will demand, apart from jobs, social justice (fairer redistribution of wealth) and reliable provision of basic needs (healthy food, clean environment, better schooling and free but effective healthcare system). These ‘basic’ needs will drive much-needed reforms of politics and governance.

5. The challenge to intergenerational contract. It is, indeed, a very sad conclusion that the generation that follows may be economically worse off than their parents. And in the post-W world threatened by pandemics, global warming disasters, info and cyber wars as well as increasing tensions over social contracts, a sustainable and credible new political agenda for economic growth (?) or, perhaps, social progress or even ‘gross national happiness’ is yet to be proposed by the new political class to emerge from the ashes of global crisis.

Yuri Poluneev