Life after the virus? It’s up to China.
In order to quarantine people correctly, you have to do it together, at once, at the same time. You can't stagger it. Unfortunately it's too late for that. The virus started in China, and the Chinese will think that they have the right to go back to work sooner than the rest of us. Of course it doesn't work like that. New Yorkers are technically three weeks ahead of Floridians, Georgians and some other other US States who enjoyed Governors buried with their heads in the sand. So even if New York is ahead of Florida, when it comes to a stay-at-home policy, we can't relax that policy and go back to work earlier than the required time Florida and others need to get their situation under control. I don't think China will set the example the world needs. At the time of this writing, factory workers are already slowly getting back to work. Meanwhile, pollution and global warming contributions in China and elsewhere have gone down dramatically. Who knew we'd be seeing a smog-free Los Angeles in our lifetime? The canals in Venice are clear. Nature has a way of returning fast. Will China take notice?
China's choice is our choice.
China can do something amazing right now. They have the power to learn from the situation and what this virus is teaching us. Go slower. Consume less. Manufacture less. Enjoy a cleaner planet. Or, and this is the real danger, they can think they must catch up. Make up for lost time. And in the process bring us all back to a rat race faster than ever before with the expected consequences. Europe, South Korea and certainly the US won't let China run a new marathon by itself. Because we are all so entangled with Chinese manufacturing, Korea, India, the West and others will have a contentious choice to make. Either go back to the way things were. And let's face it, that'll be the easiest move to make politically and commercially – or, take a good chunk of manufacturing away from China. Bring it here. Try to slow things down in the West - and in the process build up quality products, increase job creation and versatility, while finally doing something concrete towards the climate problem.
Is slowing down even possible?
After this is over we will have learned something new. We truly live on a globe that's global. We all suffered equally from a new flu variation. We are all equally fragile. And yes, it has to be said, we are the same. Slowing down proved to be difficult and painful. And some Governors and even the President didn't want to admit it was necessary. At the same time our richer economy did not shelter us from this virus. No vaster quantity of hospitals or access to scientists and pharmaceutical companies helped us overcome this. That is the new reality. Slowing down is the exact right thing to do. For the sake of more conscientious economies, cleaner surroundings, better relationships and thoughtful coexistence between everyone, we should look at slowing down as the new way to speed up a better world.