The Lesson We Could Learn, But Won't - 2020-03-25
With the current spread of the COVID-19 virus, we're currently seeing the consequences of our highly interconnected global society. What started out as a small outbreak in a province of China became a global epidemic in a matter of a few months.Currently, as is rational, the global focus is on treating the infected and finding a cure. However, the time will come when this crisis blows over and we will ask ourselves: how do we prevent this from happening again? Unfortunately, I fear that rather than trying to find a way to prevent similar incidents from occurring, we will simply attempt to find ways to mitigate future casualties. Because the one thing we must change in order to prevent future events like this would require a change in our way of life that would inconvenience us greatly; and if there is one thing our modern man cannot stand, it is to be inconvenienced. We must scale down our society from global, down to national, regional, and especially local. In effect, we must practice the principle of Subsidiarity.
To talk about the solution, we must first clearly outline the problem: our societies have become globalized and are too interconnected. This has offered certain kinds of technological advancements to be made, as well as given us access to a larger variety of goods/services, it has driven down the prices of these in a global market, and it has improved our standard of living in the first world as we export our exploitation of labour to developing nations. But this comes at a grave cost. Rapid development of technology has caused man to become naïve, and begin to develop for development's sake rather than to serve an actual need. The access to foreign goods/services has caused certain sectors of our national economies to die off, the hindering of our national sovereignty, the specialization of our economies that makes us extremely vulnerable to the often random changes in the market. The low prices have destroyed entire industries in our countries, while favoring exploitation of workers in a developing nations where labour laws are either sparse or non-existent. Far from driving us towards a utopia of sorts, globalization has caused suffering, exploitation, and the destruction of domestic culture. However, many of us do not see these (with exception of the last), as we have exported these abroad where we can conveniently ignore them. As such, we exploit their nation's resources until they run dry, and while that country panics trying to find another industry to specialize in, we simply move on to the next country with resources to exploit.
But with regards to our problem at hand, the COVID-19 epidemic, globalization has enabled the rapid spread of any kind of crisis from one nation to the next. When an epidemic breaks out in one country, it will inevitably reach all others who participate in this global society. When an economic crisis hits one country, it will inevitably affect all others who relied on that country for supply of certain specialized goods, or demand for others. Such interconnectivity has made us as a planet more weak and vulnerable. And the only way we can avoid similar problems from occurring again in the near future is to de-globalize our society, returning to a primarily local, regional, and national economy and way of life.
However, as we can already guess, we are not going to do this. We are too stubborn and naïve to make any decisions that will truly help us prevent these crises. Instead, what you will see is a lot of talk, a few measures taken and protocols designated in order to mitigate the damage, but no attempt to truly solve the problem at hand.
My suggestion: leave the cities.