The Omicron variant of the Coronavirus comes at a time when the world is especially vulnerable, battered as it is by the repeated disruption to economic and social life. Indeed, I would say that the Omicron variant can very well spell the death knell to the nascent economic recovery that most nations worldwide were beginning to experience. Moreover, with so much media hysteria about this variant, it is likely that panic responses would ensue like lockdowns and bans on air travel, being announced at short notice. This is already happening as can be seen in the multiple travel bans that most countries have imposed on the African countries, from where this variant is spreading worldwide.
In addition, with so much uncertainty and confusion regarding the alleged potency or the lack of it of this variant, policymakers can be excused for acting in haste, though the public would certainly blame them as is the case in many European countries, where protests against vaccine and mask mandates are tearing the social fabric apart. Indeed, talking about Europe, it is also clear that the continent faces renewed threats from Russia and its client states such as Belarus, both of which are exploiting the fault lines among European nations and testing their unity, through manufactured migrant crises as well as an invasion of Ukraine.
These geopolitical tensions come at an inopportune time for the EU as is the case with the Chinese sabre rattling in Taiwan. Indeed, if there is something that the world could do well to avoid, it is these flareups that can lead to full scale war, a scenario, that can doom the entire global economy. Moreover, the United States Congress seems unable or unwilling to address the Debt Ceiling and other pressing issues, something that can equally tip the global economy into a recession or worse. Indeed, it is as though our political elites would like to drive their and by extension, the global economy off the cliff and derail whatever little gains that the lay persons have made over the past few months.
As if these crises were not enough, Brexit is back and bad, and with soaring energy prices rattling the coming cold season, it almost looks like the scenarios are something that I had written about in October (https://rammohansusarla.substack.com/p/the-coming-winter-of-discontent-and). In effect, we might witness a full fledged crisis by Christmas and it sure looks like Santa Claus would come empty handed as this (https://www.ibtimes.com/supply-chain-disruptions-chinas-power-crisis-threaten-sour-holiday-experience-3313279) article that I had written earlier explains in detail. The crux of the matter is that the world has been beset by multiple shocks over the last couple of years that another large scale shock would simply unleash chaos worldwide.
So, this is where we stand now as the converging crises threaten a Perfect Storm of events that can make us literally blindsided and unable to respond coherently. What more! we are also witnessing heart wrenching human misery compounded by lack of empathy and humanity from the powers that be, which almost seems by design to drag the globe down to the Dark Ages. Perhaps, it is time we asked the right questions and demanded accountability and responsibility from those who represent us in the portals of business, politics, and society. However, the lack of any meaningful channelization of grievances is leading to out of control behavior from almost everyone as can be seen in the rising instances of riots and brutal violence worldwide.
Last, technology is worsening the situation with its addictive and hateful at the same time aspects of interaction that can only lead us to further misery. Indeed, instead of liberation, what it has done is enslaving us further, and exacerbating social tensions, that is now resembling a Dystopia of sorts. I really do not know where all this is leading to and can only hope, and perhaps pray, that some semblance of order returns to our battered world. Worse, all this is leading to the rupturing of the Social Contract that binds us together as a cohesive unit and even a tiny event can lead to utter chaos, with so much of pent up and fractious undercurrents sparking a tectonic crashing of the surface in an earthquake like manner. To conclude, here’s hoping that the Omicron variant does not seriously imperil humanity and that we would usher in the New Year with gaiety and freedom.
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