The Broken World: Optimism, Opportunities and Threats

The world has shaken up after the corona outbreak. It is painful to look at growing fatalities across the world. The millions of corona cases globally, thousands of deaths, billions of impacted people, lockdowns and the devastated world are definitely sign of a very uncertain tomorrow.

The world is going to change for sure. Those who are calling it as a “new normal”, are either taking impact of Covid 19 too casually or are over optimist or completely ignorant.

One thing is for sure that impact of this pandemic is going to be far worse than 2008–9 global financial crisis. Even IMF chief (Kristalina Georgieva) had confirmed it indicating the world has already entered into recession and calling this pandemic as humanity’s darkest hour.

Those who are taking pandemic impact casually, must read some literature on “Spanish flu” pandemic that killed about 50 million people worldwide with unaccounted economic losses. The recovery path post pandemics are most challenging aspect for any country irrespective of timing of the pandemic.

While we cannot do a direct comparison between 1918 pandemic to current corona pandemic and its associated impacts due to a century gap, advancement in science, technology and preparedness of our society. The point is any pandemic impacts are adverse in nature and takes time to get to a new normal. The idea is not to create fear and panic but to be aware of magnitudes of unknowns and uncertainties that every country is going to deal for the very first time. Let’s hope that our global scientist and doctors find a cure or vaccine for covid 19 quickly and the world contain the virus and its severe impact.

Let’s look at what can change most likely in short to mid term: Attitude of people towards life, health and safety, human behavior/psychology, lifestyles, consumption of goods, economic activities, purchasing power of individuals, industry output, geopolitics, globalization boundaries and most importantly the trust factor within our societies. It is going to be a challenging world without any doubt.

Possible downside of the broken world

· Global slowdown

· Recession, Financial crisis

· Unemployment

· Pay cuts, job loss

· Bankruptcies

· Stock markets collapse

· Fear & pessimism

· Business disruptions

· Social unrest, crime, inequalities

While the economic activities are expected to resume in many parts of the world sooner or the later however the fear, anxieties, casualties and the depressing environment may nullify or neutralize the overall positive effect in short term. There are no sign or immediate solution to this pandemic at the moment, so the downward spiral seems to dominate the reality than hope and optimism at the moment.

Not everything is going to be negative and dull for long time. The world will come to normal for sure. New methods, working style, new innovations, new technologies, new medicines/vaccines, new businesses would emerge in these challenging times. People, businesses and societies would adjust and adopt to the new changing paradigm for survival, revival and sustenance.

The government actions in each country, the collaboration across IMF , World Bank, WHO, WTO, ILO and leading economies ( G20 and beyond) across the globe would play critical role to navigate the future.

While stimulus and relief packages might give some relief and cushion to industries, it alone will not solve the problem till the industries and economies find ways to stand and run on its own. Few upsides of the broken world post corona crisis are expected include:

· New business models (online business)

· Digital driven economy

· Business and Technology Innovation

· Economic reforms, stimulus

· Localized manufacturing, supply chain

· Restored humanity

· New research, development

· Focus on healthcare, personal care

· Protection of small businesses

· Revival of impacted industries/people

While the world is broken at the moment, we must remember that it is not the end of the world. There are already positive sign of declining patterns of corona cases, mortality and it’s spread globally. Once this sets it and situation improves, countries would focus primarily on economic revival plans.

The world will bounce back for sure. The pace of recovery is mainly dependent on how each country handles the post crisis situation balancing the humanity, revival plan and global harmony without complicating its equations with other economies.

The world is too cascaded and complicated, so any country that distract from its recovery path might become a chapter in history. It is the time for global collaboration, not for any kind of retaliation or sanctions or fault findings for any country. Hope the governments, industries, financial institutions in each country align on recovery plans and way forward strategy.

Let’s hope for a better world tomorrow. Stay optimist, Stay safe.!

Girish is VP-Digital at Collabera with 20+ year experience. He has led digital transformation for many Fortune 100 companies while at Wipro, DXC, HPE, Mindtree.