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After the Storm.

Hector · 16 · 2397

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Online Hector

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I doubt there will be much argument to the fact that this Corona Virus pandemic is creating – or is  about to create the greatest change the world has ever known to the way that mankind lives, works and interacts with each other.  There have been wars that have created massive change, to be sure, but even they weren't on the same global scale and didn't radically change the economic and social structure of the world. 
It may therefore be of interest to Kfers to share our ideas on how we see these changes materialising – or will things simply return to the status quo (ante bellum)?  No-one has a crystal ball, but we are all expatriates who have lived here, outside our own countries, for varying periods of time and we must each have ideas on how this pandemic will impact us once it is 'under control', as we all hope to heaven that it will be.
What about our lives here?  The current Junta-in-Suits government doesn't seem to be getting very high marks for the way it is handling the crisis.  Then there is the not so brilliant economic performance and the complete lack of promised reforms to the police, education etc.  The country now is one of the world leaders in the social inequality table and there is the lingering unhappiness, particularly amongst the younger generation, of the way they were effectively disenfranchised by the ban on the Freedom Forward Party. There is much more, including of course the way that Immigration treats us in the aftermath: will it move out of its time warp or revert to type?
On a wider front there are some much more far reaching questions: will world travel return to what is was before?  The recovery of businesses and the economy may be beyond our ken, but will surely affect us all.  The plight of millions of people made jobless, homeless and hungry for long periods of time, is the stuff that social unrest thrives on: India, Africa and others may well develop  situations of unrest that will impact far outside their own territories.
There is of course much more that one could discuss, but I thought this might make a change from simply reading what the papers and our 'leaders' say.
Stay safe one and all!


Online caller

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I think a lot depends on how quickly they create a vaccine - if at all - or how quickly effective affordable treatment appears - if at all!

I think globalisation as it was is dead. Maybe not in the short term, but I think there will be a restructuring. China was already moving away from being a cheap option, but I doubt any country or business wants to be so reliant largely on one Country to produce important goods in future.

In the UK, before all this kicked off, one of Parliaments committees looking at life post Brexit, reported that they were astonished to learn that what they perceived as basic everyday items, were no longer produced in the UK. They simply had no idea how far globalisation had gone. And I think that in future, there will be a move to ensure that essential items, at the very least, are produced at home (wherever that is). So I believe a re-evaluation of each Countries manufacturing base will be undertaken. Which could help create new jobs.

As for Thailand. I think it is at a pivotal stage of it's history. There is clearly widescale dismay and anger at the Countries rulers. Never has it  been more obvious there is one rule for the rich and another for everyone else. The activities of the King are widely known by most people now and I think there is very little that can be used to rally ordinary people behind the status quo now, other than by force.  The way that the informal labour market, a product of the terrible education system here, have largely been left to their own devices without any support whatsoever, shames the Generals. Even in Hua Hin, people are scavenging for vegetables as there is no money to be earnt, apart from by a few. There is no support for another coup and ultimately there is little option for the Generals, maybe not this generation, other than to return to their barracks and stay there. A future Govt. must then act to remove the wealth and economic importance of the armed forces in Thailand. 

Tourism isn't going to return to the numbers previously claimed and enjoyed, so somebody with vision needs to identify another income source for all those working in the industry. If not, a lot of people here will lose everything. 

Such a massive subject!

 


Online Thaiwolf

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Well written Caller.  I think in the first instance,  China should be villified and all future relationships with the rest of the world should be reassessed.

To my mind Globalisation is all but dead.  The only way to stop future (and potentially more deadly) virus pandemics is to stop inter-continental and perhaps international travel.

Rich countries and their companies will have to stop relying on cheap foreign (asian)  labour and manufacture more goods and food at home.

The inexorable desire for increases in country GDPs must be replaced by sustainable economic and social policies.

This pandemic could be the saviour of the planet in that we have learnt that we can survive in a  far more sustainable way with less unecessary travel and consumption.

The planet's battered environment has been given a well earned rest.  I personally hope that the world does not return to its frivolous and indulgent former self.


Offline Alfie

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I think that in the long run (5-10 years from now), all over the world things will have returned to much like before Covid-19 appeared. There will be some changes for sure, due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, but overall the world will revert to the way it was before. International travel will ramp up again and tourism will return and companies will still look for cheap labour wherever they can find it in the world. Some companies will go bust but other companies will rise from the ashes and of course new companies will be started. People will fill sports stadiums again and social distancing will become a quirky memory from the past.


Offline TJD

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Nice.  I was just watching/listening to an American-centric podcast about this last night. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsV_YXq-1x4

Humans seem to have increasingly short, generational memories, and overall, lack the resolve to change social habits without some activist group shaming us into it, fines, enforcement, etc.   I mean really, look at teeth gnashing during multiple attempts to reduce plastic carrier bags; admittedly this last go has finally taken hold more than the previous attempts.    And the push back on social distancing and other impositions on our usual level of retail freedom during this COVID event.     

Bit hard to say how long the echo from this will last given we are still in the throes of it.  After we get on the backside of the trend, it'll take some time to back off the restrictions, probably in stages, not all at once, so my guess would be about 1 year to drift back into "normal". 

Upside is if the next pandemic hits within the span of this generation, society in general, and governments in particular, will (hopefully) have some institutional muscle memory from this event, and start shutting things down quickly to get out in front of it.   


Online Roger

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Looking for a point after excellent posts so far:-

"Inflation occurs when the rate at which people are spending is greater than the rate at which the available supply of goods or services is increasing" (I remember that - 54 years ago - Edward Sladen at Swindon Tech  :PInflation will affect some economies . . . .

Interest rates are low atm but we can't assume that can continue indefinitely. There'll be upward pressures and any increases will just add to crippling National burdens.

There's gonna be more BIG State than in past decades as Govt's try to 'dig out' of their own economic disasters.

Companies will tend to localise their supply chains.

Crime rates in developed economies may worsen as the jobless and those who can't be bailed out, exert their strains on others more fortunate.

Increased pressure on Europe, USA, Australia etc. as the ambition for emigration from Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh etc. for a better life, is bound to run riot in the poorest economies.

TW I shared your anger vis China but Trump will live that one out for us. More important to co-operate with China on firm lines, but get them to act more responsibly in wider interests. Ha Ha I hear you say . . .

I listened to this on wakening - right on topic ! The panel includes Mervyn King and Yanis Varoufakis and some lively insights . . . .

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000h1ms

((How will people in the UK feel the economic impact of the virus in the future? Are we about to experience a financial crash to top 2008? How will the virus exacerbate global inequality? Will the virus kill off globalisation? What will global trade look like now that we've experienced the widespread disruption of supply chains? What will happen to the already fractious relationship between the West and China? Does the virus spell the end of the Euro and even the European Union itself? And in the midst of so much uncertainty and instability, what strategies should we adopt to future-proof the global economy against pandemics and other systemic shocks in the future?))
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Hector

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Some interesting thoughts and opinions as to how life may or may not change once the dust from Covid 19 has settled.  We all have our own ideas as to how our own personal lives may be affected such as social interaction, but I really wonder if, say, pub life' in the UK will be much different after an initial glitch. 
Over here, I think there is a distinct possibility that the 'puritan' element in government, who are hell bent on banning wine and women – if not song, may well use the occasion to clamp down on bar life in its various forms and I feel sure that we will see changes here.   Immigration has always been a law unto itself and it would be nice to think that reporting conditions will ease, but I am not convinced that will happen.  Quite what will happen to the country's rather poor economy is anyone's guess, but as expatriates we are probably just as interested in how many Baht our pound, dollar etc will buy us.
Internationally, I agree with those who suggest that globalisation is unlikely to continue as was and that countries will revert to producing more goods and services themselves rather than outsourcing them.  This will have a knock-on effect on employment in countries such as India, who have relied a great deal on this and it will inevitably increase production costs. I also think that the EU is at something of a turning point and we may well see major changes there.
International travel – an interesting one, but I don't believe it will stop; people have become too used to being able to travel and I really can't see 'Butlins' taking back the tourist high ground from the Costa del Sol (or wherever).  Having said that, I think Thailand will need to pull up its tourist socks if it is to attract the sort of numbers it has enjoyed in the past.
On balance, I am inclined to agree with those who think that there will be a return to the status quo, after  something of a pause, but with a few alterations.  Let us just hope that 'The Four Horsemen' aren't let out again for a long time.


Offline Herbie

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We have all seen over the last twenty years how mainstream high street stores and online outlets source their products from China and elsewhere. Even a high tech company like Jaguar Land Rover were in the news recently with urgently needed components being brought back in suitcases before the China lockdown. I feel that unless another catastrophe comes along, attitudes will return to where we were before. Will governments, businesses and industry take measures to bring manufacturing and outsourced services back home or will the pressure of the next set of accounts or the next election be irresistible? I suppose it depends on what you believe. Is this likely to be a recurring issue or like the Spanish flu of 1918, once a century?


Online Thaiwolf

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I think it is safe to say that if life carries on as usual,  there will be a strong possibility that more future pandemics will occur. 

Just imagine if such a future pandemic has a death rate of 20+% rather than 1%, then make decision whether life should go on as normal.

There really is only one answer.... that's if,  we as a species are to survive!!

If profit and GDP growth are the main determinants of our future - as,  to be honest they will be,  the human race's future looks bleak.


Online Roger

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Thaiwolf - nil desperandum   ???

Herbie - "likely to be a recurring issue". Arguably, it is already - "Human coronaviruses were discovered in the 1960s. The earliest ones studied were from human patients with the common cold, which were later named human coronavirus 229E and human coronavirus OC43. Other human coronaviruses have since been identified, including SARS-CoV in 2003, HCoV NL63 in 2004, HKU1 in 2005, MERS-CoV in 2012, and SARS-CoV-2 in 2019." (WikiP)

Re. AFTER THE STORM one UK think tank has this suggestion :-

"Scott Corfe, the SMF’s research director said: “Quite rightly, society is making sacrifices to protect its elderly right now. There is a clear case for intergenerational reciprocation when it comes to meeting the fiscal costs of the crisis in the years ahead. “The crisis has emphasised our obligations to other generations, even in the face of personal sacrifice. This spirit must be maintained when the dust settles – with the economic costs of responding to the crisis shared fairly across the generations.” "

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/apr/14/scrap-triple-lock-uk-pensions-coronavirus-crisis

What do you think ?
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Thaiwolf

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5 pence on basic income tax to pay essential workers more.  Let's how many of the clappers vote for that.


Offline Alfie

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"Scott Corfe, the SMF’s research director said: “Quite rightly, society is making sacrifices to protect its elderly right now. There is a clear case for intergenerational reciprocation when it comes to meeting the fiscal costs of the crisis in the years ahead. “The crisis has emphasised our obligations to other generations, even in the face of personal sacrifice. This spirit must be maintained when the dust settles – with the economic costs of responding to the crisis shared fairly across the generations.” "

What do you think ?

It seems like nonsense to me but I'd like to know what his ideas are to achieve that.


Online Roger

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Well Hector - it is 'after the storm' here but emphatically NOT, 'there'   ;)  Thailand's strong stance is reassuring for us here CV-19 free, (hopefully), but for those struggling to resume normal life patterns, like Teess etc. and maybe your Nephew, it doesn't look as if Thailand intends to lighten up soon.

"The ban on international commercial flights will remain in force while the Covid-19 pandemic situation remains critical in many countries, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) said on Wednesday. It is an indefinite ban, said CAAT director Chula Sukmanop and the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) would monitor the global situation before deciding when the flights could resume."

Let's face it - if Thailand is waiting for quieter CV-19 times in Europe, USA, Brazil, Middle East and so on, we are yet a long way away from easing up   :(

https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1967163/no-end-in-sight-for-flights-ban
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Hector

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I don't think we are “after the storm' here in Thailand and, just to continue the analogy, perhaps we are just in the eye of it.  Yes, the country is Covid 19 free – apart from cases of infection found in returnees from abroad already in quarantine – but look at New Zealand, which only the other day locked down Auckland when 4 cases were found in the city, none of whom had been abroad.  I was wrong in my original post when I denigrated this juntainsuits' government's tackling of the problem, as whatever one thinks about quarantine, border closures, state of emergency measures and so on, the fact is that we are free of the Virus – for the moment.  But if we have a NZ-like situation and there is a 'second wave', then all bets are off.
I agree that most other countries are by no means in an 'after the storm' situation and there is a lot of muddling through by governments – some more successful than others.  All the things we have mentioned already: eg air travel, tourism, globalisation, unemployment and a lack of basic social intercourse are all still unresolved and I agree with those who feel it will be some time before things get back to anything approaching normal.
This country is a case in point; tourism is zero and medical and business 'bubbles' aren't going to do much to help.  The economy is in a parlous state and exports are well down.  Rice this year is unlikely to be a successful crop due to the weather.  If you add to this the serious unrest that was evident back in March, which didn't go away during the darker days of the pandemic and which has now resurfaced big-time, I think you have all the ingredients for 'tears before bedtime'.  As for the 3-400,000 (?) foreigners here on short term visas, does anyone believe the borders are going to be opened in time for their renewal?  I reckon I can see the Lemmings gathering already not far from the edge of the cliff!


Online Roger

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Fair comment Hector - Thailand could be in the 'eye' of, or indeed, 'past' the storm   8)  Time will tell. Vietnam is another stark example with New Zealand that CV-19 can reappear anywhere and regenerate anytime. Europe is bubbling along and it's a mess - my eldest Son is in Netherlands with his Family atm so they face quarantine when they return.

I see the Govt. here, is starting to detain Student protestors  ::)
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Hector

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I think your last sentence Roger almost deserves a topic on its own, as “after the storm” may not be entirely appropriate and “before.....” may well be more so!  I hope not, but I suspect the situation is not going to be resolved either peacefully or in a hurry.  For those of us who have lived here for some time, this is something of a case of déjà vu, and while most of us probably think that in the end little will change we could just be in for a surprise.  As always in these situations comments and posts will require some careful wording, but I'm sure that none of us would like to see the sort of violence erupt that has been evident in the past.