The pandemic, the elite and our immediate future Saeed Qazi

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Everything was going pretty well in the world when all of a sudden Covid-19 struck like a bolt from the blue and the world at large changed beyond recognition in a matter of days.

What followed was uglier than we could have prepared for. Health systems around the globe, mostly designed to earn profit, came under tremendous pressure, laying bare their inability to handle asocial emergency of this scale.

The next disaster was a sudden rise in the unemployment particularly in the developed world. During the great depression of 1929-30 it took months for people to lose their jobs while in the case of Covid-19-recession was triggered in a matter of days, with40 million people losing their jobs in America alone. We saw long ques of people sitting in their expensive SUVs, begging for a meal or two for themselves and their kids. The system based on artificial expansion of the market through extending credit to consumers came down crashing instantly. The Washington Consensus and neo-liberalism has taken its toll.

Intertwined health and economic crisis, quite understandably, were followed by political turmoil and all that happened in the political arena was quite unthinkable just a few weeks ago. Curfew imposed in more than 200 US cities, followed by a worst ever tug-of-war in the ruling class of the most powerful country under the sun.

The pandemic has proved to be a huge qualitative change that has caught the world unaware. Even the UN Secretary General was forced to confess the world health system based on profit was lying in tatters even in the most advanced countries of the world.

History has quite visibly put to question the entire consensus on neoliberal agenda and blind faith in the market fundamentalism as supply chains were broken down, endangering globalization on the basis of maddening race seeking untold profits at the expense of the humanity at large. The policy capture by the world elite was also exposed when figures came pouring how the world elite has fleeced about $ 11 trillion out of the misery of 7.8 billion children of the lesser god after the pandemic. Another startling revelation that came to the fore was that just ten people could have provided free vaccine to all under the sun without losing their status of being the richest persons of the world.

As a natural sequel to it, now we are seeing scores of leaderless movements across the globe. American ruling elite has just papered over a deep divide in the society which may erupt sooner than later. There is unrest in Russia and Iran also, where scores of strikes among the industrial workers are taking place demanding nationalization of some sections of the national economy.

In India, peasants movement more commonly referred to as farmer’s movement, shows no signs of abating. About 250 million Indian workers organized in the trade unions in India are still watching this drama from the fence and were they to join the fray soon, it would not come as a surprise.

There is a Chinese proverb,’ we are living in interesting times’. Indeed we are. The new era is striving to emerge out of the ashes of the old one while elite of the world is striving to preserve the old rotten system.

According to a news that came from Davos during the World Economic Forum, Western elite is busy buying their residences away from their countries to protect themselves from the wrath of the people in the event of any social unrest.

But, alas, it’s impossible to sign on to a separate peace in a globalised world with an uninterrupted flow of information.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed and watch in awe what is in store for us, in the not too distant future.