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Politics of pandemic

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By Joschka Fischer

BERLIN ― The asteroid has hit, and suddenly everything has changed. But the asteroid that has crashed into our planet is invisible. One needs a microscope, rather than a telescope, to see it.

With COVID-19, the world faces several crises in one: a global health crisis has triggered crises in the economy, civil society, and daily life. It remains to be seen whether political instability will follow, either within countries or internationally. But, clearly, the pandemic has drastically changed life as we know it. While the end of the crisis and its consequences can't be predicted, certain significant changes can be anticipated.

The crisis is not just complex, far-reaching, and threatening to the foundations of individual societies and the global economy. It is also many times more dangerous and extensive than the 2008 global financial crisis. Unlike that episode, the coronavirus threatens millions of lives around the world, and its effects on the economy are not centered in only one sector.

Around the world, most economic activity has been frozen, setting the stage for a global recession. Apart from the death toll and the stability of health systems, the big question right now is how severe the economic downturn will be, and what permanent consequences it will have.

Similarly, we can only guess what effects the virus will have on already-fragile regions, and particularly on refugee camps. Iran seems to be heading for a major humanitarian crisis, in which the poorest and most vulnerable will be the most affected. Beyond that, it is still too early for any........

© The Korea Times