fredag 31. januar 2020

How the coronavirus crisis is exposing the ills of the China model

China is effectively in a lockdown. From big cities to little villages, almost every community is under quarantine to a varying degree, or at least faces some travel restrictions. There is little information on how long this will last. One thing for sure is that the government is willing to keep the country in lockdown until the virus outbreak comes under control. A government mobilisation on this scale is unprecedented.

This shows the awesome power of the China model. With government power at the centre of everything, it can mould society in a way not possible in any other large or even mid-sized country. It has grass-roots party cells to implement quarantine policies in every urban compound or village. Going anywhere in the country feels like going through an international airport; someone may pop out suddenly to measure your temperature.

China’s political system allows it to put down everything else to focus on one thing. The economy can take a back seat. If the lockdown lasts for four weeks, which is an optimistic assumption, the economic loss could be around 2 per cent of the gross domestic product. If the crisis lasts longer,
the cost escalates proportionately.