OPINIONS Countries must rethink local production goals

OPINIONS

Countries must rethink local production goals

China Daily

08:50, April 07, 2020

Western countries' response to the novel coronavirus pandemic has largely been disappointing.

The world has never seen an outbreak of this scale in a century, so all countries should work jointly to meet this challenge. It has not been easy for China, which met initial success by acting quickly. China's success has been attributed not only to effective mobilization of resources and dedicated medical workers, but also to its medical goods production capacity and efficient coordination between its "institutional resources" and "economic resources".

While Western countries have the most developed economies and public health systems, they cannot produce basic things such as face masks, protective clothing and hand sanitizers. They certainly do not lack the capacity, but such production lines have shifted to other countries. As the epidemic will have huge consequences for the global economy, some fear a global recession could prompt people to do a rethink on globalization.

Economic globalization will continue, but not in its current form, dominated by neo-liberalism since the 1980s. Countries might henceforth like to keep the production capacity of things central to its national security and people's lives at home.

The novel coronavirus outbreak could have a greater impact on the world economy than the Great Depression, which largely affected Western countries. Worse, some countries have turned to a very loose monetary policy, focusing on their problems alone, to cushion the outbreak's impact.

Western countries are also tasked with curbing panic for which some have mobilized troops. In the West, the epidemic has actually exposed a "comprehensive crisis" combining economic crisis, public panic and a national governance crisis.

With the epidemic's global spread, an anti-China sentiment has emerged in some countries, a worrisome tendency that should be stopped. To shift the blame from their own inadequate response to the outbreak, some Western politicians are intentionally labeling the novel coronavirus as a "Chinese virus". It is for scientists to find out the origin of the virus, so why are politicians doing it instead?

Given that the epidemic could force countries to pursue a "limited globalization" in the future, every country should rearrange its domestic production capacity. China's local governments should not turn to large-scale infrastructure construction, but shift more fiscal spending to public utilities, such as irrigation and water conservancy, and healthcare, in order to meet domestic needs.

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