The scenario to unfold due to Coronavirus – Varghese Pamplanil

International relations

Globalisation was put in place by the international business conglomerates for establishing hegemony in world trade. In the beginning developed economies such as US, Japan and a few emerging economies viz. South Korea, Thailand  reaped the benefits. 

Then China emerged as  the game changer. Nominally communist, but in essence free market oriented, a highly centralised government overseen by the only political party allowed to function, the ruling regime could steamroll its way the manner it chose. A more or less  homogeneous population made things easy. The absence of any strong religious organisation to disrupt the government’s programs was another plus factor. The migration of thousands of unemployed rural folk  to urban centres in search of jobs, enabled industrialists, with the connivance of ruling dispensation, to extract maximum work from these “no other go” people for a pittance. The almost slave workers were forced to put in 12 hrs of hard labour non-stop.  Constantly tethered to the conveyer belt, without pause or rest and, not even allowed to attend toilets (they were compelled to wear diapers while standing in the assembly line to defecate and urinate). These conditions enabled China to produce low priced goods and  become competitive in the international market.

Egged on by the MBAs from  Harvard, Carnegie and other  business schools, the ever greedy merchant class resorted to  importing low cost goods from China to sell them in the home  market for hefty profit margin. In the short run, the game was attractive and lucrative. But it killed domestic manufacturing activities causing unemployment and social turbulence.

Silicon Valley techno-utopia wizards who spearhead the Fourth Industrial Revolution are now on a roll. The new breed tends to be a mix of Ayan Rand devotees and engineering absolutists who hold a  hyper-logical view as the answer for everything. One day soon enough, some people will be able to download their brains to computers, relax and let their algorithms take over. Artificial intelligence aided by robotics and  machine learning will usher in a new brave world. This may create different strata of humans; the superintelligent, probably genetically modified, who may undertake galactic journeys and settle down in Elon Musk bored tunnels in other planets. Eventually, they may succeed in creating earth like environment in Mars and elsewhere in the space. At the other end,  there would be cow urine analysers seeking cure for all deceases such as cancer and the pandemics like Coronavirus. They would engage in futile attempts to search for the “elixir of life” from cow dung.   

The spread of the pandemic Coronavirus has resulted in the closure of borders by almost  countries. Outsiders are out and out out.The global village is being replaced by insulated communities. People from other countries and races are looked down as pariahs and lepers. Ultra-regionalism is the new paradigm.

The Coronavirus has rung  the death knell of the Global Village with people taking behind closed doors in utter fear and trepidation. The streets are empty, the churches, mosques and temples  are empty, the Vatican square is empty, the Manhattan too is empty, the Piccadilly Circus is empty, the Dalal Street is empty, Kamattipura  is deserted, Call girls may have called it a day for the time being, the clerics are unemployed, their nostrums have no takers! Politicians are forced to rest their vocal cords lest they saturate the air with Coronavirus, Immigrants are ogres. Witch-hunt is on the cards. 

An enormous economic recession is on the cards which  could outstrip the 2008-09 financial meltdown, and will expose the chinks of crony capitalism. The destruction of the earth’s environment due  to the unbridled “Greed” of the humans, sought to be justified by quoting the Bible saying that “everything is created by the Semitic God for the use of Man”. It  underscores a pernicious ideology and portends a dangerous turn of events. 

People  who migrated to countries perceived to offer better opportunities  will be forced to return to their native soil; their future bleak, deprivation and unemployment, mocking them.  Social and economic asymmetries will develop; and the fabric of society may rent asunder and fractured.

Impact on India.

India is a mixed bag;  techno-savvy IITians may rule  the roost in Bangaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune etc. They could keep up with the world trend and march ahead. The laggard  diehard conservatives and past emulators will drag the Indian society to a quagmire. The opulence and blitz of the metros hide the real face of India in the hinterlands of  inequalities and inequitable system presided over by obscurantism. Fleeing to one’s own hearth has assumed the contours of stampedes. This may end up extreme poverty and deprivation to millions  of people. 

The Kerala scenario 

For more than five decades, Kerala  has been heavily depending on remittances from the Gulf; the classic money order economy. It is  human tendency to splurge unearned income on frivolous things. High spending, no work consumer societies spawn laziness and many other social evils. The rentier class may become disillusioned and get into the grip of utter pessimism. In Kerala all unpleasant jobs  are sought to be done by people euphemistically called Bengalis/Hindi people. Goods for consumption, even vegetables are imported from regions outside the state. Most of them are sprayed/saturated with toxic pesticides. Adulterated poisonous oil, milk etc flood the Kerala  market. 

The people of Kerala may be for a rude shock. The reverse  “exodus back to the native soil” may more than disrupt the Kerala social scene.  The grim choice for the the lazy bones will be, either to get down to the dusty soil, after getting rid of their fine garments, till the earth and break the stones, and produce whatever is needed by the sweat of their brows. The alternative is thieving, robbery, plunder and the like. High spending may  become a thing of the past. The queues in front of the Beverage Corporation may thin out. IMFL may be replaced by local hooch. The demand for effeminating broiler chicken may come down. The high priced fish will give way to lowly types. Food grains distributed by PDS could become staple diet. Top model cars may be replaced by the humble bicycle or Shank’s mare may  become preferred mode of transport. Overburdening debt trap may lead to suicides of even whole families. Living up to the next door neighbour may come to an end.  

The fate of excessive religiosity. 

The symptoms of socially, economically, intellectually deprived desease-ridden societies are all pervading superstition and excessive religiosity, PEW research has revealed. The overtly religious types lack self-confidence and optimism. They tend to attend religious ceremonies and other observances of their faith day in and day out as a matter of routine. Charismatic Circuses, Divine Fire dispensing and similar hoodwinking programmes have many takers. People with very low estimation of self worth flock to these cheating shenanigans, thereby wasting their time and energy. Above all, the charlatans easily pick the pockets of these brainless lot, who lose their hard-earned money by way offerings and donations. The cunning confidence trickers with the gift of their gabs  mislead and exploit the dumb credulous by hook or crook run all the way to their banks or spend the lot on wine and women. 

The habit of attending the ceremonies and rites conducted by the priesthood in places of worship has been suspended as of now due to the fear of infection from Coronavirus. If the pandemic remains  unbated for a pretty long time, which is quite likely, the faithful may realise that not attending ceremonies in places of worship even for a long duration will not invite the ire of their god(s). If this realisation paves the way for the emergence of rationality, it would do a lot of good. The hegemony of intermediaries/ brokers of various  deities may come to an end. The “apply apply, but no reply” situation may give rise to disillusionment and the realisation that the abject dependence on god for solving problems ad granting boons may turn out to be a good thing. How long “apply apply, but no reply situation would last?

Varghese Pamplanil

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1 Response

  1. George Nedumparambil says:

    Thought provoking indeed. 

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