Dr Owain Williams By: Dr Owain Williams
Lecturer in IR and Human Security
View profile and Diary

28 Mar 2020 : The Atlantic

There is increasing news and very disturbing footage of Indian migrant workers stuck with no wages or food, locked down by brutal police wielding batons or enforcing crawling or sit ups to people on the street. Others are walking home: carrying kids and belongings. Many facing trips back to villages of hundreds of miles. Indian government is injecting $20 billion for relief, but that is just 1% of GDP, clearly inadequate. WHO is warning of the critical shortage of PPE in many countries (most countries). To confirm there are stark pictures of ICU staff in the UK working without masks.

The US is now over 100,000 cases. It is a catastrophic; and I think back to my York presentation with no sense of pride. Like most people, I have many friends in the US, they must all be feeling very vulnerable at present. Country after country announcing lock-down measures of some shape or form. Yet air traffic tracking websites still show amazing levels of airline activity over the USA. Ireland is pretty much on full lock-down today and they really did seem to get on top of this quickly.

My mother ran out of books today, so I ordered 4 huge books on the Waterstones website. There is a warning that they are experiencing high levels of demand. I got her the Magus, all the Harris Imperium trilogy and some random novel. The news from the UK is also staggering. We have discovered socialism and Keynes again. The UK now covering the self-employed which is a big relief for many friends like Toby, Skatty and others Germany is just pumping money into the system, including 50 billion Euros to the arts. At the same time they are running 500,000 PCRs per day, just astounding levels of testing. The $2 trillion package today was signed off by the POTUS, and he then gave out pens to those lemons watching and clapping him. All he has is a rat brain for survival and ego, nothing else.

In New Zealand all non-essential work and business is stopped with an 80% guarantee of wages for 3 months, mortgage holidays and rents. Australia has similar measures. Huge lines at the Centrelink offices with many signing on as businesses close down. They should mothball the economy and guarantee wages. In the USA 3.3 million have registered for unemployment benefit in this week alone. IMF announces global recession, one of those IMF pronouncements that make me think what do they think that we do not already know.

One lovely interlude was watching the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra with Joanie and Kylie online. It is lovely to see her little face on my phone looking spellbound by the music and the sheer feat of endeavour that and orchestra is. But our investment in a trip to a Victoria zoo that livestreams was less successful, just a few sad penguins all other cameras showing nothing. I think they got desperate and started eating the animals.

An article in The Atlantic is superb today. It deconstructs the psyche of Trump and how his rent-seeking narcissism and petty inadequacies are shifting into a form of tragic cognitive displacement around the crisis.  He is beginning to wildly blame all and sundry for failure and is not coping as his country falls apart. He needs praise and is facing only hostility and approbation. Much talk of 25 being invoked. That would be something. The defence Production act is invoked in a dispute revolving around GM quibbling about contract for ventilators. Must read up on how it is enforced, but it is clear that Trump will start trending blame for lack of equipment with anyone, including car makers.

Deaths in the US have surged to over 2000, doubling in 2 days, now with 120,000 cases.

In the meantime, Boris Johnson and the CMO have both tested positive with mild symptoms. Taking it on the chin I guess.

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