Economic Collapse 2020
They ought to know. To hear some of the financial world’s smartest folks, today’s buoyant times are numbered. Hey, they’ve been through it before. And they know the odds are in favor of a skid.Some day, maybe next year, maybe in 2020, the economy will take a swan dive and the market will take the plunge with it. This is as inevitable as getting a cold: There are some germs lurking that eventually will make you sniffle, cough and feel sorry for yourself. The same goes with the economy and the stock market. . . .Ben Bernanke, former chair of the Federal Reserve. “In 2020, Wile E. Coyote is going to go off the cliff and look down.”. . .Alan Greenspan, also former head of the Fed. “There are two bubbles: a stock market bubble and a bond market bubble.”. . .Scott Minerd, Guggenheim Partners chief investment officer. The market “is on a collision course with disaster” and the catastrophe will hit in late 2019, with stocks losing 40%. . . .Jim Rogers, founder of the Quantum Fund. “When we have a bear market, and we are going to have a bear market, it will be the worst in our lifetime.”
highlighted new IMF research that compares the current economy to the “roaring 1920s” economy that culminated in the great market crash of 1929. “The IMF delivered a stark message about the potential for another massive financial disaster that we last experienced during the Great Depression,” noted United Nations finance expert and Jubilee USA Director Eric LeCompte. “With inequality on the rise and concerns of stability in the markets, we need to take this warning seriously.” In addition to financial sector stability and growing inequality, Georgieva shared that we face additional challenges in the current economy. “Trade problems and climate-driven weather events pose additional risks at this time,” said LeCompte. “It’s imperative that we ensure the financial sector is free of risky behavior and corruption if we want to protect ourselves from another global financial crisis.”
Warnings from the IMF and World Bank have been dismissed. But even if they are wrong, a demographic crisis looms. The warning signs are clear. Debt is rising on every continent and especially in the business sector, which has spent the past decade ramping up its borrowing to previously unheard-of levels. Last October, the International Monetary Fund said that almost 40% of the corporate debt in eight leading countries – the US, China, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Spain – would become so expensive during a recession that it would be impossible to service. In other words, tens of thousands of businesses, employing millions of people, would have gambled with high levels of borrowing and lost, making themselves insolvent. Worse, the IMF said the risks were “elevated” in eight out of 10 countries that boasted systemically important financial sectors, adding that this situation was a repeat of the years running up to the last financial crisis. . . . Most of the problems afflicting the global economy relate to a lack of demand for goods and services, at least on average, compared with the years prior to the 2008 crash. And much of the weak demand relates to our ageing populations, which, in the main, focus more on storing up savings for retirement than on spending (emphasis added).
The Covid-19 has been jokingly referred to by black-humored and resentful youths as “boomer remover.”
Kyoto Protocol & Carbon Credits in Brief
Many a slip between an oil drum and a gas tank:
The term petrodollar warfare refers to the alleged motivation of US military offensives for preserving by force the status of the US dollar as the world’s dominant reserve currency and the currency in which oil is priced. The term was coined by William R. Clark, who has written a book with the same title. The phrase oil currency war is sometimes used with the same meaning.
The petrodollar system originated in the early 1970s. In a series of meetings, the United States—represented by then U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger—and the Saudi royal family made an agreement. The United States would offer military protection for Saudi Arabia’s oil fields, and in return the Saudis would price their oil sales exclusively in United States dollars (in other words, the Saudis were to refuse all other currencies, except the US dollar, as payment for their oil exports).
The US dollar remains the de facto world currency. Accordingly, almost all oil sales throughout the world are denominated in United States dollars (USD). Because most countries rely on oil imports, they are forced to maintain large stockpiles of dollars in order to continue imports. This creates a consistent demand for USDs and ostensibly supports the USD’s value, regardless of economic conditions in the United States. Political competitors of the United States therefore have some interest in seeing oil denominated in euros or other currencies. The EU could also theoretically accrue the same benefits if the euro replaced the dollar.
Flashforward to 2020, as Russia and allies are conspiring to bankrupt US fracking companies. This is from “Trump, Putin Will Discuss The End Of U.S. Shale Oil,” Moon of Alabama, March 30, 2020:
The Trump administration has asked the Saudis to produce less oil but as the Saudi tourist industry is currently also dead the Saudi clown prince needs every dollar he can get. The Saudis will continue to pump and they will sell their oil at any price. The White House is now concerned that it will completely lose its beloved shale oil industry and all the jobs connected to it. Russia of cause [sic] knows this and a few days ago it made an interesting offer: A new OPEC+ deal to balance oil markets might be possible if other countries join in, Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund said, adding that countries should also cooperate to cushion the economic fallout from coronavirus. . . .
As Ria reports (in Russian) the topics of upcoming phone call [between Putin and Trump] will be Covid-19, trade (???) and, you guessed it, oil prices.
Trump, who sanctioned the Russian-German Nord-Stream II pipeline while telling Germany to buy U.S. shale gas, is now in a quite bad negotiation position. Russia does not need a new OPEC deal right now. It has many financial reserves and can live with low oil prices for much longer than the Saudis and other oil producing countries. . . .
The carnage in the oil markets will continue and will ravage those producer countries that need every penny while the corona virus is ravaging their people. Meanwhile the U.S. shale market will go bust. The minute the Al Saud family begins accepting yuan for oil their days are numbered.
What this looks like is aggressive geopolitical economic warfare that is making it increasingly expedient to uncouple the US dollar from oil production and hitch it to a new resource. Or, put differently, and to link it back to the current thesis, whichever nation state gets its currency hooked to carbon looks likely to become the new superpower.
A blogger, Katchum, predicted this back in 2012: “Euro To Replace U.S. Dollar As Reserve Currency By 2020.“
The euro’s rise may have to await a serious policy lapse by the United States, as in the late 1970s, or a renewedexplosion of America’s external debt position, as in the mid-1980s. Even the most successful and best-managed countries undergo occasional setbacks, and the euro’s rough parity with the dollar is probably inevitable. . . . When French President Valerie Giscard d’Estaing and German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt decided to create the European Monetary System in 1978, one of their goals was to foster a more stable global monetary regime. The creation of EMU could bring that vision closer to reality. However, in the absence of cooperation between the European Union and the United States, the euro could create greater instability. It is up to the governments of the two regions to achieve a smooth transition from the sterling- and dollar-dominated monetary regimes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to a stable dollar and euro system in the early 21st century.
Foresight is 2020: Event 101
Event 201, hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, envisions a fast-spreading coronavirus with a devastating impact. . . .“Once you’re in the midst of a severe pandemic, your options are very limited,” says Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Center. . . . “The greatest good can happen with pre-planning.”That center’s latest pandemic simulation, Event 201, dropped participants right in the midst of an uncontrolled coronavirus outbreak that was spreading like wildfire out of South America to wreak worldwide havoc. As fictional newscasters from “GNN” narrated, the immune-resistant virus (nicknamed CAPS) was crippling trade and travel, sending the global economy into freefall. Social media was rampant with rumors and misinformation, governments were collapsing, and citizens were revolting.For those participating in New York City on Oct. 18—a heavyweight group of policymakers, business leaders, and health officials—Event 201 was a chance to see how much catch-up work is needed to bolster our disaster response systems. . . . Event 201 is the fourth such exercise hosted by the Johns Hopkins center, which works to prepare communities for biological threats, pandemics, and other disasters.The simulations started with 2001’s Dark Winter, which gathered national security experts for its simulated smallpox outbreak. The groundbreaking event turned out to be influential in shaping U.S. efforts around pandemic preparedness—particularly due to its timing, right before 9/11.
Evidence that Reports of Covid-19 Pandemic Have Been Grossly ExaggeratedFrom “A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data” by John P.A. Ioannidis, March 17, 2020:
The data collected so far on how many people are infected and how the epidemic is evolving are utterly unreliable. Given the limited testing to date, some deaths and probably the vast majority of infections due to SARS-CoV-2 are being missed. We don’t know if we are failing to capture infections by a factor of three or 300. Three months after the outbreak emerged, most countries, including the U.S., lack the ability to test a large number of people and no countries have reliable data on the prevalence of the virus in a representative random sample of the general population.
This evidence fiasco creates tremendous uncertainty about the risk of dying from Covid-19. Reported case fatality rates, like the official 3.4% rate from the World Health Organization, cause horror—and are meaningless. Patients who have been tested for SARS-CoV-2 are disproportionately those with severe symptoms and bad outcomes. As most health systems have limited testing capacity, selection bias may even worsen in the near future.
A new epidemiological study (preprint) concludes that the fatality of Covid19 even in the Chinese city of Wuhan was only 0.04% to 0.12% and thus rather lower than that of seasonal flu, which has a mortality rate of about 0.1%. . . .
According to the latest data of the Italian National Health Institute ISS, the average age of the positively-tested deceased in Italy is currently about 81 years. 10% of the deceased are over 90 years old. 90% of the deceased are over 70 years old. 80% of the deceased had suffered from two or more chronic diseases. 50% of the deceased had suffered from three or more chronic diseases. The chronic diseases include in particular cardiovascular problems, diabetes, respiratory problems and cancer. Less than 1% of the deceased were healthy persons, i.e. persons without pre-existing chronic diseases. . . .
In many cases it is not yet clear whether the persons died from the virus or from their pre-existing chronic diseases or from a combination of both. . . . Furthermore, studies have shown that the internationally used virus test kits may give a false positive result in some cases. In these cases, the persons may not have contracted the new coronavirus, but presumably one of the many existing human coronaviruses that are part of the annual (and currently ongoing) common cold and flu epidemics. . . . .
Current all-cause mortality in Europe and in Italy is still normal or even below-average. . . . A hospital doctor in the Spanish city of Malaga writes on Twitter that people are currently more likely to die from panic and systemic collapse than from the virus. . . .
German immunologist and toxicologist, Professor Stefan Hockertz, explains in a radio interview that Covid19 is no more dangerous than influenza (the flu), but that it is simply observed much more closely. . . . most of the Eastern European nurses who worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week supporting people in need of care in Italy have left the country in a hurry . . . . because of the panic-mongering and the curfews and border closures threatened by the “emergency governments.” As a result, old people in need of care and disabled people, some without relatives, were left helpless by their carers.
Many of these abandoned people then ended up after a few days in the hospitals, which had been permanently overloaded for years, because they were dehydrated, among other things. Unfortunately, the hospitals lacked the personnel who had to look after the children locked up in their apartments because schools and kindergartens had been closed. This then led to the complete collapse of the care for the disabled and the elderly, especially in those areas where even harder “measures“ were ordered, and to chaotic conditions.
The nursing emergency, which was caused by the panic, temporarily led to many deaths among those in need of care and increasingly among younger patients in the hospitals. These fatalities then served to cause even more panic among those in charge and the media, who reported, for example, “another 475 fatalities.“ “The dead are being removed from hospitals by the army,“ accompanied by pictures of coffins and army trucks lined up.
However, this was the result of the funeral directors‘ fear of the “killer virus“, who therefore refused their services. Moreover, on the one hand there were too many deaths at once and on the other hand the government passed a law that the corpses carrying the coronavirus had to be cremated. In Catholic Italy, few cremations had been carried out in the past. Therefore there were only a few small crematoria, which very quickly reached their limits. Therefore the deceased had to be laid out in different churches. . . .
Hospital situation in the US, Germany and Switzerland
- The US television station CBS was caught using footage from an Italian intensive care unit in a piece on the current situation in New York. In fact, dozens of recordings by citizen journalists show that it is currently very quiet in the hospitals on the US East and West Coast. Even the “corpse refrigerator trucks“ prominently shown in the media are unused and empty.
- Contrary to media reports, the register of German intensive care units also shows no increased occupancy. An employee of a Munich clinic explained that they had been “waiting for weeks for the wave to hit,“ but that there was “no increase in patient numbers.“ He said that the politicians‘ statements did not correspond with their own experience, and that the “myth of the killer virus“ could “not be confirmed“.
- Also in Swiss clinics, no increased occupancy has been observed so far. A visitor to the cantonal hospital in Lucerne reports that there is “less activity than in normal times.“ Entire floors have been closed for Covid19, but staff “are still waiting for patients.“ The hospitals in Bern, Basel, Zug and Zurich have also been “cleaned out.“ Even in Ticino, the intensive care units are not working to capacity, but patients are now being transferred to the German-Swiss departments. From a purely medical point of view, this makes little sense.
Here Come the Enviro-Fascists?
This is from “A Green Reboot After the Pandemic,” Mar 24, 2020, by Sandrine Dixson-Declève , Hunter Lovins, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, and Kate Raworth:
In addition to threatening millions of lives and the global economy, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that human societies are capable of transforming themselves more or less overnight. In fact, there’s no better time than now to usher in systemic economic change. . . .
The Club of Rome issued a similar warning in its famous 1972 report, The Limits to Growth [1972 was the year of the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm mentioned above] and again in Beyond the Limits, a 1992 book by the lead author of that earlier report, Donella Meadows. As Meadows warned back then, humanity’s future will be defined not by a single emergency but by many separate yet related crises stemming from our failure to live sustainably. By using the Earth’s resources faster than they can be restored, and by releasing wastes and pollutants faster than they can be absorbed, we have long been setting ourselves up for disaster. . . .
Rather than simply reacting to disasters, we can use the science to design economies that will mitigate the threats of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pandemics. We must start investing in what matters, by laying the foundation for a green, circular economy that is anchored in nature-based solutions and geared toward the public good. The COVID-19 crisis shows us that it is possible to make transformational changes overnight.
Who wrote this piece? Sandrine Dixson-Declève is Co-President of the Club of Rome. Hunter Lovins is President of Natural Capitalism Solutions and a member of the Club of Rome.Hans Joachim Schellnhuber is Director Emeritus of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and a member of the Club of Rome. Kate Raworth is Senior Associate at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, and a member of the Club of Rome.
Scenario-Planning a Post-Covid-19 World
This is from “The Clairvoyant Ruling Class [“Scenarios for the Future of Technology & International Development” 2010 Report],” at the Wrong Kind of Green blog, March 25, 2020, by Cory Morningstar:
“The ruling class exists, it’s not a conspiracy theory. They operate as a class, too. They share the same values, the same sensibility and in Europe and North America they are white. They act in accordance with their interests, which are very largely identical. The failure to understand this is the single greatest problem and defect in left discourse today.” —John Steppling, Author, Playwright
Scenario planning [as discussed in Prisoner of Infinity] for corporate strategy was pioneered by Royal Dutch Shell in the 1970s. [Further reading on scenario planning: The Art of the Long View] The following excerpts are highlights from the May 2010 “Scenarios for the Future of Technology & International Development” report produced by The Rockefeller Foundation & Global Business Network.
Following “Event 201” (Oct 18, 2019), we must concede that the ruling class has been gifted with phenomenal and prophetic intuitions and insights. (They truly are the chosen ones.) Thus it is worthwhile, even mandatory, to study their scenario exercises and simulations.
“We believe that scenario planning has great potential for use in philanthropy to identify unique interventions. . . scenario planning allows us to achieve impact more effectively.” [p 4]
“The results of our first scenario planning exercise demonstrate a provocative and engaging exploration of the role of technology and the future of globalization.” [p 4]
In 2012, the pandemic that the world had been anticipating for years finally hit. Unlike 2009’s HlNl, this new influenza strain — originating from wild geese — was extremely virulent and deadly. Even the most pandemic-prepared nations were quickly overwhelmed when the virus streaked around the world, infecting nearly 20 percent of the global population and killing 8 million in just seven months, the majority of them healthy young adults. The pandemic also had a deadly effect on economies: international mobility of both people and goods screeched to a halt, debilitating industries like tourism and breaking global supply chains. Even locally, normally bustling shops and office buildings sat empty for months, devoid of both employees and customers. . . .
During the pandemic, national leaders around the world flexed their authority and imposed airtight rules and restrictions, from the mandatory wearing of face masks to body-temperature checks at the entries to communal spaces like train stations and supermarkets. Even after the pandemic faded, this more authoritarian control and oversight of citizens and their activities stuck and even intensified. In order to protect themselves from the spread of increasingly global problems—from pandemics and transnational terrorism to environmental crises and rising poverty—leaders around the world took a firmer grip on power. . . . In developed countries, this heightened oversight took many forms: biometric IDs for all citizens, for example, and tighter regulation of key industries whose stability was deemed vital to national interests (p.18-19).
It appears that rather than let the population be exposed to the virus and most develop antibodies that give them natural, long-lasting immunity to COVID-19, Gates and his colleagues far prefer to create a vast, hugely expensive, new system of manufacturing and selling billions of test kits, and in parallel very quickly developing and selling billions of antivirals and vaccines.
And then, when the virus comes back again a few months later and most of the population is unexposed and therefore vulnerable, selling billions more test kits and medical interventions. . . . Gates talked about how he sees things rolling out from there:
“Eventually what we’ll have to have is certificates of who’s a recovered person, who’s a vaccinated person . . . Because you don’t want people moving around the world where you’ll have some countries that won’t have it under control, sadly. You don’t want to completely block off the ability for people to go there and come back and move around. So eventually there will be this digital immunity proof that will help facilitate the global reopening up.”
that we introduce a system that apportions responsibility to individuals, and accommodates the fact that human nature clings tighter to luxuries than the boring necessities of life. My proposal is to set a global quota for fossil fuel combustion every year, and to share it equally between all the adults in the world. Individuals would be entitled to take part in any fuel-consuming activity —whether flying in an aircraft or using electricity to heat their house or to cook by—only if they had enough Fossil Fuel Rights to cover it. Anyone wanting to consume more than their quota would have to buy extras FFRs from one of the underconsumers. . . .One prime candidate for the task is the Global Environmental Facility, which was set up by the World Bank and the UN Development Programme to fund major environmental projects. But with a monopoly in FFRs, the GEF might all too easily become yet another ineffective and elite-dominated UN bureaucracy. The same applies to governments. The solution seems to lie with a Fossil Fuel Forum. Its members would be a mix of UN agencies such as the GEF, UNICEF, the WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization, along with charities such as Oxfam and the World Wide Fund for Nature. . . .The task of setting the total global quota for fossil fuel combustion each year would have to be a matter for governments, and doubtless the UN too.
For those keen to slow global warming, the most effective actions are in the creation of strong national carbon currencies. . . . For scholars and policymakers, the key task is to mine history for guides that are more useful. Global warming is considered an environmental issue, but its best solutions are not to be found in the canon of environmental law. Carbon’s ubiquity in the world economy demands that cost be a consideration in any regime to limit emissions. Indeed, emissions trading has been anointed king because it is the most responsive to cost. And since trading emissions for carbon is more akin to trading currency than eliminating a pollutant, policymakers should be looking at trade and finance with an eye to how carbon markets should be governed. We must anticipate the policy challenges that will arise as this bottom-up system emerges, including the governance of seams between each of the nascent trading systems, liability rules for bogus permits, and judicial cooperation.
These and other data points were gathered together in “Carbon Currency: A New Beginning for Technocracy?“, by Patrick Wood, which also cites UK Environment Secretary David Miliband, who in 2006 spoke to the Audit Commission Annual Lecture about
a country where carbon becomes a new currency. We carry bankcards that store both pounds and carbon points. When we buy electricity, gas and fuel, we use our carbon points, as well as pounds. To help reduce carbon emissions, the Government would set limits on the amount of carbon that could be used.
The following year, in 2007, New York Times published “When Carbon Is Currency” by Hannah Fairfield, who stated “To build a carbon market, its originators must create a currency of carbon credits that participants can trade.” Wood’s article continues:
PointCarbon, a leading global consultancy, is partnered with Bank of New York Mellon to assess rapidly growing carbon markets. In 2008 they published “Towards a Common Carbon Currency: Exploring the prospects for integrated global carbon markets.” This report discusses both environmental and economic efficiency in a similar context as originally seen with Hubbert in 1933. [And] on November 9 2009, the Telegraph (UK) presented an article “Everyone in Britain could be given a personal ‘carbon allowance.’”: [I]mplementing individual carbon allowances for every person will be the most effective way of meeting the targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. It would involve people being issued with a unique number which they would hand over when purchasing products that contribute to their carbon footprint, such as fuel, airline tickets and electricity. Like with a bank account, a statement would be sent out each month to help people keep track of what they are using. If their “carbon account” hits zero, they would have to pay to get more credits.
Carbon as the Anti-Currency
Following an eventful week that saw the release of dollar-pegged stablecoins from both Paxos and Gemini, crypto project Carbon has now launched one of its own, dubbed CarbonUSD, that is based on ethereum. Starting Wednesday, the new “compliant, price-stable” coin is being made available for institutional accounts, hedge funds, traders, and exchanges. Carbon said in a press release that it is “actively pursuing” exchange listings for CarbonUSD. . . . If and when CarbonUSD reaches a $1 billion market cap, Carbon will transition to a hybrid algorithmic model, Miles Albert, co-founder of Carbon, told CoinDesk.“We’ve already developed our algorithmic scale model, we’ve already done simulations as well, to test the resilience of our model,” he said “We plan to whitelist our algorithmic stablecoin into the ‘metatoken’ structure after CarbonUSD has reached sufficient scale and liquidity.”
The Geo-Politicians’ Playground
“In 2017, an international agreement was reached on carbon sequestration . . . intellectual and financial resources were pooled to build out carbon capture processes. . . A functioning global cap and trade system was also established.” [p 27]
“Centralized global oversight and governance structures. . . not just for energy use but also for disease and technology standards. . . systems & structures required far greater levels of transparency, which in turn required more tech-enabled data collection, processing, & feedback.” [p 27]
“Enormous, benign “sousveillance” systems allowed citizens to access data—all publically available—in real time and react.” [p 27]
“Nation-states lost some of their power and importance as global architecture strengthened and regional governance structures emerged. International oversight entities like the UN took on new levels of authority. . .” [p 27-28]
“The worldwide spirit of collaboration also fostered new alliances and alignments among corporations, NGOs, and communities.” [p 28]
“In many places, traditional social barriers to overcoming #poverty grew less relevant as more people gained access to a spectrum of useful technologies—from #disposable #computers to do-it-yourself (DIY) windmills.” [p 29]
“Over the course of two decades, enormous strides were made to make the world less wasteful, more efficient, and more inclusive. But the world was far from perfect. There were still failed states and places with few resources.” [p 29]
“Indeed, demand for everything was growing exponentially. By 2028, despite ongoing efforts to guide “smart growth,” it was becoming clear that the world could not support such rapid growth forever.” [p 29]
“There are considerable flows of talent between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, and the lines between these types of organizations become increasingly blurred.” [p 30]
“. . . the global have/have-not gap grew wider than ever. The very rich still had the financial means to protect themselves; gated communities sprung up from New York to Lagos, providing safe havens surrounded by slums.” [p 37]
“In 2025, it was de rigueur to build not a house but a high-walled fortress, guarded by armed personnel.” [p 37]
. . . .
Let’s circle back to the beginning. Schwartz, report lead, is Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning for Salesforce. Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff serves as the inaugural Chair of the World Economics Forum’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco. On June 13, 2019 the World Economic Forum partnered with the United Nations. On March 11, 2020 the World Economic Forum announced a partnership with the World Health Organization (a UN agency) to establish the COVID Action Platform For Business. This same day the World Health Organization officially characterized COVID-19 a pandemic. [Source] This is the consolidation of global power, happening in real time.
Drawing lessons from the development of the Marshall Plan and the Manhattan Project, the U.S. is obliged to undertake a major effort in three domains. First, shore up global resilience to infectious disease. . . . We need to develop new techniques and technologies for infection control and commensurate vaccines across large populations. Cities, states and regions must consistently prepare to protect their people from pandemics through stockpiling, cooperative planning and exploration at the frontiers of science. Second, strive to heal the wounds to the world economy. Global leaders have learned important lessons from the 2008 financial crisis. The current economic crisis is more complex: The contraction unleashed by the coronavirus is, in its speed and global scale, unlike anything ever known in history. . . .Third, safeguard the principles of the liberal world order. The founding legend of modern government is a walled city protected by powerful rulers, sometimes despotic, other times benevolent, yet always strong enough to protect the people from an external enemy. Enlightenment thinkers reframed this concept, arguing that the purpose of the legitimate state is to provide for the fundamental needs of the people: security, order, economic well-being, and justice. Individuals cannot secure these things on their own. The pandemic has prompted an anachronism, a revival of the walled city in an age when prosperity depends on global trade and movement of people.The world’s democracies need to defend and sustain their Enlightenment values. A global retreat from balancing power with legitimacy will cause the social contract to disintegrate both domestically and internationally. Yet this millennial issue of legitimacy and power cannot be settled simultaneously with the effort to overcome the Covid-19 plague. Restraint is necessary on all sides—in both domestic politics and international diplomacy. Priorities must be established.
At first, the notion of a more controlled world gained wide acceptance and approval. Citizens willingly gave up some of their sovereignty—and their privacy—to more paternalistic states in exchange for greater safety and stability. Citizens were more tolerant, and even eager, for top-down direction and oversight, and national leaders had more latitude to impose order in the ways they saw fit. (Rockefeller Report, p. 19)