Economic implications of the coronavirus outbreak

David Goldman, best known for his series of essays in the Asia Times under the pseudonym Spengler, discusses the current state of affairs in China vis-a-vis the coronavirus and its implications for China’s economy and political order.

“No one knows exactly what is going on. The official data show a very sharp leveling off of the rate of new infections and the rate of new fatalities, if you believe that. The World Health Organization said yesterday the epidemic has peaked in China would appear to be correct. The Chinese have ordered a great many of people back to work in the case of the state owned companies its roughly 75-80% back to normal, and in the case for smaller businesses the Chinese have taken emergency fiscal and monetary measures to paper over losses that businesses are suffering. According to the data we see on high frequency measurements like highway transportation, there has been a great jump. So, you would conclude from the data the Chinese have presented, if you believe it, that gradually they are getting this thing under control. The conclusion might be, if you believe the data, that a totalitarian surveillance state is pretty efficient in dealing with an epidemic as compared to, for instance, Italy’s government, which is a hypothetical entity on the best of day.”