In the new book by Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, Rage, he reports talks he conducted in February and March with US President Donald Trump about the coronavirus. Asset admitted that the virus was virulent, but he decided to downplay its danger. “I always wanted to downplay it,” Trump said, “because I don’t want to cause panic.” Despite months of warnings Chinese authorities, Trump and his health secretary Alex Azar completely failed prepare for the global pandemic.
The United States continues to have the highest total number of COVID-19 cases. The government continues to flounder as the number of cases increases. No state in the country appears to be immune from the spread of the disease.
Meanwhile, in China, since the virus was crushed in Wuhan, the government has simply had to contain small-scale localized epidemics; China has not recorded any nationally transmitted COVID-19 cases over the past month. Martin wolf wrote in the Financial Times of March 31 that China has succeeded in “controlling the disease in Hubei and halting its spread through China.” There has never been a pan-Chinese epidemic. It is more accurate to call it a Hubei epidemic.
Measuring people’s lives
As Trump lied to his own citizens about the disease, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that his government would “put people first.” China has hastily subordinated its economic priorities to the task of saving lives.
As a consequence of a science approachThe Chinese government very quickly broke the chain of infection. At the beginning of September, this country of 1.4 billion had 85,194 cases of COVID-19 and 4,634 deaths (India, with a comparable population, had 4.8 million cases and 80,026 deaths; India loses more lives every week than the total number of deaths in China).
the United States, meanwhile, as Monday suffered 194,411 deaths and 6,550,629 million cases. In absolute numbers, deaths in the United States are about 43 times higher than in China, and the number of cases is about 79 times higher.
The US government, unlike the Chinese government, has been reluctant to properly craft a lockdown and test the population. That is why, in per capita terms, deaths in the United States are about 186 times higher than those in China and cases are about 343 times higher.
Trump’s racist attempt to put the blame on China is pure diversion. China contained the virus. The United States has absolutely failed to do so. The huge death toll in the United States was “made in Washington” not “made in China”.
Measure the economy
In the first quarter of 2020, China’s gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 6.8% compared to a year earlier. Due to the rapid elimination of national transmission of the virus, the economic recovery in China has been rapid. In the second quarter, China’s GDP was high 3.2% compared to the same period in 2019. The International Monetary Fund projects that China will be the only major economy to experience positive growth.
How did the Chinese economy rebound so quickly? The answer is clear: the socialist character of the economy. In July, the Chinese state investment was 3.8% above its level of a year ago, while private investment is still 5.7% below 2019. China has used its powerful public sector to extricate itself from recession. This illustrates the macro-efficiency of the public sector.
In mid August, the theoretical journal of the Chinese Communist Party Qiushi (Seeking Truth) published a speech by Xi Jinping, in which he said: “The foundation of Chinese political economy can only be a Marxist political economy and not be based on other economic theories.” The main principles of this are “People-Centered Development Thinking”. It was the foundation of the government’s response to the pandemic and the economy in its context.
Trump, meanwhile, made it is very clear that his administration would not do anything akin to a national lockdown; it seems his priority was to protect the economy over American life. As early as March, when there was no sign that the pandemic could be controlled in the United States, Trump ad“America will be open for business again and soon – very soon.”
Disaster in the United States
Ineffective policies in the United States have resulted in skyrocketing COVID-19 infection rates. Basic protocols – masks, hand sanitizers – were not taken seriously. And the impact on the US economy has been catastrophic.
The United States has made it clear that it is not going to pursue a people-centered approach. Trump’s entire emphasis was on keeping the economy open, in large part because he remains convinced his election victory will come through the wallet; the human cost of this policy is ignored. The United States had only a half-lockdown, and little testing and contact tracing.
US GDP in the second quarter fell by 9.5% compared to a year earlier. There is no indication of strong improvement. IMF estimates this US economic contraction will be around 6.6% for the year. The “risk that awaits us,” writes the IMF, “is that a large part of the American population will face a significant deterioration in living standards and significant economic hardship for several years to come.” The disruption will have long term implications. These problems are clearly defined by the IMF: “prevent the accumulation of human capital, erode labor force participation or contribute to social unrest”. This is exactly the opposite of the scenario unfolding in China.
It is as if we live on two planets. On one planet, there is outrage over the hypocrisy in what Trump said to Woodward, and outrage at the collapse of the health care system and the economy – with a difficult path to rebuild either. the other. On the other planet, the chain of infection has been broken, although the Chinese government remains vigilant and is prepared to sacrifice short-term economic growth to save the lives of its citizens.
Trump’s attack on China, his threats to decouple the United States from China, his racist noises about the ‘Chinese virus’ – all of this is boast designed as part of an information war to delegitimize China. Xi Jinping, meanwhile, focused sure “Dual circulation”, which means national measures to raise living standards and eradicate poverty, and sure the Belt and Road Initiative; these two elements will reduce China’s dependence on the United States.
Two planets could start to move away from each other, one moving in the direction of the future, the other uncontrollable.
Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor and journalist. He is the editor and chief correspondent of Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He is the editor-in-chief of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He is a non-resident senior researcher at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. He has written over 20 books, including The Darker Nations and The Poorer Nations. His latest book is Washington Bullets, with an introduction by Evo Morales Ayma.
John Ross is a Senior Fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. He was previously director of economic policy for the Mayor of London.
Source: Independent Media Institute
This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.
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