Of all the major geopolitical players on the planet, Mother Nature may be the toughest adversary. Nature has neither imperatives nor constraints to guide its behavior. Rather, it operates off general patterns that occur under various conditions. While the patterns provide broad strokes of expected behavior, it strikes mostly randomly. Even predictable phenomena, such as the Atlantic hurricane season, tell us nothing about the magnitude and target of, or potential for, economic damage. A catastrophic Category 5 hurricane that misses major population centers is quickly forgotten; a milder Category 3 hurricane that decimates New Orleans has long-lasting consequences. Read the rest at Geopolitical Futures.
History is biased, and not just because the victors tend to write it. The study of history is largely the study of humankind – specifically, the geopolitical events that have shaped human actions (and vice versa) over millennia. It’s true that to learn from the past, we must study ourselves. But what if we’re missing a large part of the story? What if Mother Nature plays just as large a role in shaping the course of human events as mankind? After all, any force that compels specific actions by nation-states is necessarily geopolitical. Read the rest at Geopolitical Futures.
When the coronavirus pandemic slows and allows us to catch a breath — both literally and figuratively — there will be an international reckoning that likely will end with China bearing the brunt of the blame. In order to force China to implement adequate safety standards, we should stop importing essential items, especially food, medicine and medical equipment, until the country proves that it can be a responsible member of the global community. Read the rest at USA Today.
The world is gripped with fear and fascination. If anyone predicted that politics and economics in 2020 would be upended by a tiny sack of chemicals known as a virus, I tip my hat to you. Few of us — perhaps with the exception of survivalists and flu scientists — saw this coming. Read the rest at Puget Sound Business Journal.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, democratic governments across the world have implemented unprecedented peacetime lockdowns. One California city is even using night vision equipped drones — made in China, ironically — to enforce it. A city in Washington encourages citizens to snitch on those who violate the “stay home” order.
Let’s pause a moment to consider the serious ramifications of what we are doing. Read the rest at USA Today.
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. But such measures can’t last forever, which is why mitigation is the only option. Read the rest at Geopolitical Futures.
What’s the case-fatality rate?
Currently, the official rate is 3.4%. But this is likely way too high. China was hit particularly hard, and their healthcare system was overwhelmed. The best data we have is from South Korea. The Koreans tested 210,000 people and detected the virus in 7,478 patients. So far, the death toll is 53, which is a case-fatality rate of 0.7%. This is seven times worse than the seasonal flu (which has a case-fatality rate of 0.1%).
Read the rest at Leaps Magazine.
The first person to die from coronavirus on American soil passed away on Feb. 29 at a Seattle area hospital – incidentally, the same hospital where my daughter was born just ten and a half months ago. Read the rest at Geopolitical Futures.
The political and economic effects of the new coronavirus – both in China and across the globe – hinge overwhelmingly on just how successful efforts to stop its spread are likely to be. Forecasting these, therefore, requires us to take a closer look at the mechanics of both contagion and containment. Read the rest at Geopolitical Futures.
The biggest political and economic effects of pandemics come from public panic and panicked government responses, not the disease itself. Read the rest at Geopolitical Futures.