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The Pandemic Is a Dress Rehearsal
Antigovernment protesters in Beirut, July 7.
Nabil Mounzer/Shutterstock

The Pandemic Is a Dress Rehearsal

Walter Russell Mead

Eight months after the novel coronavirus burst out of Wuhan, China, it has created unprecedented economic and social disruption, with economies cratering across the globe and more destruction to come. Tens of millions have lost their jobs, and millions more have seen their life savings disappear as governments forced restaurants, bars and other small businesses to shut their doors.

Wealthy societies are able, for now, to print and pump money in hope of limiting the social and economic damage, but such measures cannot be extended forever. For the first time since the 1940s, political authorities around the world face a flood of economic and political challenges that could overwhelm the safeguards built into the system.

In poorer countries, the situation is worse. The pandemic rages unchecked through countries like South Africa and Brazil, where low commodity prices, falling remittances and falling demand for industrial products are intersecting with capital flight to create an unprecedented economic shock. Countries like Lebanon and Ethiopia, facing grave crises before the pandemic, struggle to maintain basic order.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal

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