Shortages are a window on to the challenges facing the post-pandemic world economy. This article originally appeared in the Financial Times.
It’s a sign of the times. In China, teachers are gobbling up the leftovers from their students’ lunch plates, on the spot. Their diligent economising follows an exhortation by President Xi Jinping that the nation needs to reduce food waste, in part to increase Chinese food self-sufficiency.
Last weekend I drove through the Skokie Lagoons, just north of Chicago. They are both beautiful and manmade, created literally from the sweat of the Great Depression. Four million cubic tons of soil were removed to form a series of lagoons from the existing marshlands. It was one of the largest public works projects of FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps, employing thousands of men, including three African-American construction companies. Started in 1933, the project took until the beginning of the US entry into World War II in 1941 to complete.
Yesterday Peter Navarro declared that the US-China trade deal was dead in the water, which his boss quickly walked back on Twitter. In a world of global threats, should bilateral disputes remain our focus, or are we wasting precious time? As I wrote for the G7 Research Group:
“All Eyes on Asia”: The Geopolitical State of Affairs in Northeast Asia Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic
Last month on April 10th, the Korea Society and the Japan Society hosted a virtual talk titled “Geopolitics of Coronavirus: Japan and Korea,” moderated by Dr. Joshua Walker from the Japan Society. The two main speakers, Dr. Sheila Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations; and Dr. Stephen Noerper, Senior Director at The Korea Society, outlined how these two democratic nations in Northeast Asia have tackled the coronavirus pandemic to date, and the regional implications it may pose in the foreseeable future.
The outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus is so potentially impactful that we are devoting this entire edition to the epidemic, to an attempt to gauge its seriousness. Some stories are so big that it is hard to get your arms around them and this one definitely fits that category. Social media wasn't a factor during the 2003 SARS epidemic. The Chinese economy was a much smaller percentage of global GDP, and travel to and from China was far less common. So a simple comparison to SARS is not enough.