I have criticized some of the views I think are very extreme when it comes to post-Covid-19 forecasts in a previous column. One of these was the view that foresees the end of globalization, while others were statements that liberalism would be abandoned. Of course, I will not elaborate here on the difference between what’s ideal and what’s real. developments that support my forecasts about the political schisms in Europe after the epidemic are ongoing. The grim picture painted by European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde shows that healthcare system insufficiencies and economic problems in Western countries will have serious political consequences.
Over the course of the week, Lagarde held a video conference with 27 heads of states on the exten of the outbreak's damage to the European Union economy and plans for recovery. Of course, some information from this conference, which was closed to the media, has leaked.
According to leaked information, there are quite a few negative scenarios in the forecast of the European Central Bank regarding the economy of the bloc.
For example, it is said that Lagarde told the leaders of the EU that the gross domestic product (GDP) of the union can fall by as much as 15% due to the epidemic and that there is a risk that the measures to be taken are already overdue. It is not difficult to predict what impact a 15 percent figure will have on an economy like Europe, which constitutes approximately a quarter of the global GDP.
The International Labor Organization’s dim outlook
As the epidemic grips the world, both human and economic costs continue to mount. Unfortunately, one of the most affected areas is the labor force. According to a report of the International Labor Organization (ILO) dated April 7, full or part-time isolation measures such as curfews and restrictions affect 2.7 billion employees, corresponding to 81 percent of the world workforce. Some of these employees are at risk of losing some or all of their income. Also, the fact that the furloughed employees are deprived of social security system benefits means that hard times appear to lay ahead unless the epidemic is brought under control.
The first upheaval will be a societal one
We know that people living in certain third-world or developing economies are in a "learned helplessness" on issues such as access to economic conditions and/or healthcare systems. For this reason, it is not very logical to expect radical social and political upheavals with regards to what goes on in these economies. However, insufficiencies in the healthcare infrastructure and the problems of welfacre coverage in a region consisting of developed economies such as Europe are being experenced for the first time. When we look at the examples of England, France, Italy, Spain and Germany, we see that a societal backlash not only against governments but also against the concept of the state in these countrie is fast approaching.
It would not be wrong to think that if democracies are not suspended, there will be serious score-settling to be done between societies and state administrators in developed countries where people cannot get even the most basic products such as masks and gloves, nor can they find an ambulance, hospital, doctor, patient bed, respirator or intensive care unit.