BRIQ Journal
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Tasks Entrusted to Humanity by the Post-Coronavirus World

Social systems that succumb to the pandemic will seek new footholds to hang on to, while those who overcome the pandemic will try to turn their successful deeds into permanent achievements of humanity. The upheaval triggered by the coronavirus will intensify the conflict between the socially advanced and the backward, the rising one and the one that has started to collapse. In developed capitalist countries, it has been the worry about losing social consent, which triggered public intervention in the outbreak. The failure of the USA in its efforts to globalize the world by military force and the financial crisis of 2008 triggered by this failure caused neoliberalism to begin to decline rapidly. The main factor behind neoliberalism’s decline was, however, the unavoidable rise of Eurasia, based on statism and development by sharing, rather than the domestic developments in the homeland of neoliberalism. The coronavirus, which has led to a strong sensation of the common destiny of humanity, has brought about the biggest blow to neoliberalism on the ideological plane. The key to success in the combat against the pandemic is seen to be statism that is implemented under the guidance of science and accompanied by social solidarity. While the “invisible hand” remained desperate in the combat against COVID-19, it was the “visible hand” of the “nation-state” that brought success. The currents triggered by the coronavirus pandemic have created a very suitable ground to further limit hegemony. Taking advantage of this ground to consolidate world peace more securely will enable humanity to breathe more comfortably.

 

THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC continues to affect the whole world deeply. The combat against the pandemic covers not only the health sector, but also the entire social system with its economic foundation as well as its superstructure. Therefore, the pandemic also functions as a touchstone that distinguishes between social systems. Moreover, there is no one in the world whose work, income or daily life has not been affected since the beginning of the pandemic. Hence, the coronavirus’s testing of social systems takes place on an open stage that everyone watches with intense attention.

The economic crisis triggered by the pandemic has already reached great dimensions. More importantly, in some countries this economic crisis is accompanied by a social crisis, where fundamental value judgments are also scrutinized. The coronavirus experience reflects an unprecedentedly wide common ground for humanity. The processes that unify the fate of humanity reveal the “power of solidarity” by destroying the dreams of “salvation alone”. COVID-19 is a disease, which may end up with death, and its treatment is not yet known. It is therefore that this experience has lifted the “openness of mind” to a level that goes far beyond that in the usual periods. The coronavirus brought forward the conflict of the “social being” of man with his “individual existence.”

The virus, of course, does not make history. It is the human who makes history. Yet, the effect of the processes triggered by the virus accelerates the change that our world has been going through for quite some time. This effect will continue to also exist after the pandemic to such an extent that it cannot be overlooked by anyone. Social systems that succumb to the pandemic will seek new footholds to hang on to, while those who overcome the pandemic will try to turn their successful deeds into permanent achievements of humanity. The upheaval triggered by the coronavirus will intensify the conflict between the socially advanced and the backward, the rising one and the one that has started to collapse.

 

”Private-Interest-Focused” Systems versus ”Human-Focused” Systems

Different countries’ attitudes towards the pandemic have revealed the value attached to the human by the system adopted by those countries. The human’s position within the system along with the function attributed to the human has thus become visible with naked eye.

The capitalist health system considers the treatment of a disease as a commodity that can be bought by paying its price. Yet, since the cure of COVID-19 is still unknown, there is no commodity that the capitalist health system can supply to the market in this regard. The production of health care under capitalism is shaped according to profit maximization. The capacity of hospitals and intensive care units is determined in accordance with the purchasing power demanding healthcare, and not the community’s health needs. Arranging a temporary capacity increase during the pandemic is regarded as an inefficient investment by the private sector. Therefore, meeting the health needs of the society in a pandemic is something that only the public sector can handle, not the private sector.

In the eyes of the capitalist system, people exist to the extent their “purchasing power” covers. The loss incurred is measured not by the number of people who die in the outbreak, but by the impact of the pandemic on the “private interest”, which orients the economy.

Capitalist countries, which have largely privatized the health sector, have thus faltered in face of the coronavirus pandemic. The desperation of some developed capitalist countries in dealing the pandemic is, let alone being strange, an inevitable and natural consequence of having privatized the health system.

The first reaction of the capitalist system against COVID-19 was to let the outbreak alone until “herd immunity” appears. This approach is consistent with the nature of the system. Such consistency is, however, not limited to the viewpoint of healthcare sector. In the eyes of the capitalist system, people exist to the extent their “purchasing power” covers. The loss incurred is measured not by the number of people who die in the outbreak, but by the impact of the pandemic on the “private interest”, which orients the economy. Hence, the fact that the proportionally greatest loss during the pandemic in developed capitalist countries was in elderly nursing homes cannot be regarded as the outcome of just a simple and accidental negligence.

However, the “herd immunity” approach has been partially abandoned in many of these countries gradually and protective measures started to get employed to take the pandemic under control. The main reason for this consists of having identified that “letting the pandemic alone” started to shake the social trust in the system deeply. Systems that lack “social consent” become unsustainable. In developed capitalist countries, it has been the worry about losing social consent, which triggered public intervention in the outbreak.

The People’s Republic of China, where the pandemic first appeared, took control of the pandemic in a short time with a human-health-based approach and overcame the first wave of the outbreak. There is no doubt that this positive example also played a decisive role in getting the herd immunity approach abandoned. Therefore, China not only protected the health of its own people, but also made an effective contribution to the protection of the health of other peoples with its successful combat against the pandemic.

Even though there was no prior example China could benefit from, following science as a guide, mobilizing all public means without losing time, and establishing an organized social discipline in the implementation of preventive measures lie behind China’s success. By sharing information, materials and health personnel, China has also revealed that it sees the combat against the pandemic as a common problem of humanity that requires solidarity. Some other countries including Turkey have also been successful in the fight against the pandemic to the extent they adhered to these fundamental principles and have contributed to international solidarity.

The coronavirus conduced to revealing the real essence of private-interest-focused systems. The emerging truth, however, does not only pertain to the health system; it is rather concerned with the overall value attached to human by such systems. The social currents triggered by the outbreak are dealing a final blow to neoliberalism, which had already entered a process of rapid collapse. The imperialist system itself is now in search of new footholds that it can hang on to ideologically. It will not be surprising that we will be facing a new paradigm that replaces neoliberalism in the near future.

 

The Ideological Collapse of Neoliberalism

The basis of neoliberalism is neoclassical economics. Its perspective concerning man is also derived from neoclassical economics. According to neoclassical economics, man is “homo economicus”. The main feature of homo economicus is not “rationality”, it is “sheer self-interest, accompanied by not caring about others’ fates at all”. Rationality, however, depends upon what the aim is. The rationality of an individual, who finds happiness in others’ happiness, induces an altruistic behavior rather than a selfish one. But homo economicus has no freedom to choose his own preferences. He has to “want to have more of everything” as is imposed upon him by neoclassical economics. If the rest of the world is destroyed, he must be pleased without caring about it, in case the value of the papers he owns on the stock exchange increases by five cents.

The homo economicus of neoclassical economics reduces the essence of man to the level of passive organisms, which react against the stimuli of prices in a way expected of them. His only freedom consists of “choosing between apple and pear”. Yet, since the consumption bundle he will choose is constrained with his budget, his freedom is just as large as his budget.

The “Welfare Theorem” of neoclassical economics, which states that a competitive market equilibrium is efficient, makes three important assumptions. The first is that all economic agents who act as decision-makers belong to the species called homo economicus. Secondly, there should be no public goods in the economy, instead all goods should be “private goods”. Thirdly, the larger the scale of the market is, the higher will be the efficiency level. Even if we keep separate to what extent one can talk about perfect competition in a world, where people can list monopoly names more precisely than country names in a questionnaire in the street, the remaining three hypotheses do not fit either the circumstances of the world or the essence of man. This situation left a single remedy to neo-liberalism. It is to “try to fit the world to the theorem if the theorem does not fit the world”. The essence of the neoliberal globalization consists of creating a single global market by destroying national states, transforming all public goods into private goods through privatizations, and reducing the human species entirely to homo economicus. In other words, “globalization” is nothing more than an attempt to “adapt the world to the theorem of neoclassical economics”.

 The failure of the USA in its efforts to globalize the world by military force and the financial crisis of 2008 triggered by this failure caused neoliberalism to begin to decline rapidly. The main factor behind neoliberalism’s decline was, however, the unavoidable rise of Eurasia, based on statism and development by sharing, rather than the domestic developments in the homeland of neoliberalism.

 The failure of the USA in its efforts to globalize the world by military force and the financial crisis of 2008 triggered by this failure caused neoliberalism to begin to decline rapidly. The main factor behind neoliberalism’s decline was, however, the unavoidable rise of Eurasia, based on statism and development by sharing, rather than the domestic developments in the homeland of neoliberalism.

The coronavirus, which has led to a strong sensation of the common destiny of humanity, has brought about the biggest blow to neoliberalism on the ideological plane. The key to success in the combat against the pandemic is seen to be statism that is implemented under the guidance of science and accompanied by social solidarity. The solution of every social problem requires the formation of an organized social force that is directed towards the right goal. The goal is identified in the light of science. The creation and mobilization of a social power capable of overcoming the problem can only be achieved through an organization equipped with the necessary skills and tools. While the “invisible hand” remained desperate in the combat against COVID-19, it was the “visible hand” of the “nation-state” that brought success.

 

Individual Freedom and Collective Freedom

According to neo-liberalism, the social structure does not have an objective existence beyond and above individuals. The basic features are ascribed to the individual and the interaction between individuals is derived from these features. The society is nothing but the sum of individuals who come together as sand particles do. Social welfare is then just the sum of individual welfares. There is no further “public interest” outside and beyond this. “Public pest” individual acts are also included in the total welfare account due to their “contribution to the individual’s welfare”. Freedom also belongs to the individual since the public does not have an existence beyond the totality of individuals. There is no space for “collective freedom” that belongs to the public. Thus, the concept of freedom is exempted from its social content by disconnecting individual freedom from public interest and collective freedom.

Freedom is “to be able to do”. The individual is “as free as he can do”. Making history, developing science and art, in summary, all activities that reflect the human essence at its highest level can be realized not with individual power, but only with a collective power based on the accumulation of the entire humanity. That is why freedom is among the concepts whose social content is most eminent.

Freedom, to the contrary of the neoliberal approach, is not an ahistorical concept. Throughout history, the social function of liberty contributing to the development of humanity has been to unleash the potential of doing, not to make the way free to destruction. Democratic revolutions freed man from land slavery and equipped workers with the “freedom to hire or not hire their workforce”. Of course, the worker has no choice but to hire his workforce to survive. But the naked force of feudalism is turned into economic force under capitalism. More importantly, the social consequence of this liberation was the raise of the productive forces to an unprecedented level. Freedom served to unleash the economic potential of society.

As is also mentioned earlier, the “doing-component” of freedom granted by neoclassical economics to masses who try to survive on a constrained budget, is as large as the budget. In the age of imperialism, “individual freedom” is clashed with “collective freedom”, which has become an indispensable part of human development, and thus mobilized towards destruction, rather than towards doing. During the imperialist campaign to demolish nation-states and to dissolve the nations of the Oppressed and Developing World, the function assigned to “individual freedoms” has always been to clash with the nation-state and divide the nation.

The collective measures that were implemented to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Wuhan, when the pandemic was limited to China, have been widely slandered in the West as a “severe violation of individual freedoms”. However, after the pandemic gained a global character and China took control of the pandemic in a short time, the practices in China have become “a handbook against the pandemic” everywhere. Today, a struggle against COVID-19 is a “collective freedom struggle”. In all countries of the world, those who violate the collective measures taken to combat the virus under the banner of “individual freedoms” are no longer considered as “libertarian”, but as “defeatist”.

It is extremely important that the relationship between individual freedom and social freedom is handled properly. This question should not be tackled by an ahistorical approach, but within the framework of the needs brought by social development to the agenda of humanity. The virus outbreak has led the function of the nation-state and the relationship between the nation-state and democracy to come forward. This function and relationship constitute the most suitable framework for the discussing of the question of freedom.

 

Nation-State and Democracy

Democracy, like freedom, is not an ahistorical concept. Plato is the founder of idealist philosophy. He is the inventor of the “Idea”s, after which this philosophical approach is named. But his greatest contribution to the history of thought is perhaps his identification that the “idea”s -as reflections of absoluteness- do not exist on earth and are thus carried outside of life. Democracy is not an “idea” outside of life, but it is a form of social order, whose formation and transformation are subject to historical circumstances.

What makes social development a subject of science is that it is subject to objective laws. In social sciences, the criterion of truth is testing against objective reality as in natural sciences. Therefore, the laws of social development are determined by science, not by election. Hence, there is an objective yardstick of what is socially advanced and what is backward. But there is another fact that is just as important as this. It is that knowing what is advanced and what is backward does not suffice to replace the backward by the advanced.

There is also an important difference, which distinguishes social sciences from natural sciences. In natural sciences, the subject is the human and the object is the nature. On the other hand, society forms both the subject and the object of social change. History begins with the division of society into classes. While some classes constitute the social power of progress, others stand as obstacles to development. To materialize a social transformation requires the creation of a sufficiently strong and target-oriented social power.

Today, the main obstacle to social development is the imperialist system. The nations of the Oppressed and Developing World, on the other hand, constitute the main engine of social progress. The oppressed nations can realize their development and advance their nation-building process to the extent they limit imperialism and make it retreat. Nation-states are the organizational means that nations possess to achieve this goal. One of the most striking proofs of this is that the “neoliberal globalization” attack of imperialism focused on “destroying nation-states and dissolving nations”. The rise of Eurasia constituting an alternative to the imperialist system was realized as an outcome of the resistance of the nation-states. Imperialism is capitalism endowed with an armed state. The success in making the way free to development by overcoming imperialism requires a struggle organized at the level of a state.

On the other hand, the nation-state can fulfill its duty only if it becomes the genuinely organized form of the nation. The yardstick of the democratic content of a nation-state is its ability to unleash and mobilize the nation’s social potential at a maximal level. Strengthening this ability is only possible by increasing the level of the masses not only on the economic plane, but in all spheres of life. In other words, the main factor to reinforce the democratic content of the nation-state is a “cultural revolution”, which should be continued uninterruptedly.

The masses learn by experiencing in their own practice. This process requires peace of mind along with an atmosphere that enables making comparisons. Democracy provides the breadth and flexibility required for the success of this process through individual freedoms. Terrorism and imposition form an obstacle to “appropriation by internalizing”, which lies at the core of the learning process. Terrorism employed by the imperialist system as a battering ram also aims to deprive the masses of the experience of learning. This is because the masses deprived of this experience do not turn into an effective social power.

 Neoliberalism is the philosophy of clashing individual freedom with collective freedom. However, individual freedoms do not form an alternative to collective freedom; they, to the contrary, provide a tool to reinforce collective freedom.

 Neoliberalism is the philosophy of clashing individual freedom with collective freedom. However, individual freedoms do not form an alternative to collective freedom; they, to the contrary, provide a tool to reinforce collective freedom. Besides, the stronger collective freedom becomes, the wider will be the area of individual freedoms. The destruction of collective freedom is the function ascribed to individual freedoms by neoliberalism. According to the dictionary of neoliberalism, “authoritarianism” is the name given not to “lack of freedom”, but to the “subordination of individual freedoms to collective freedom”.

Each state represents the “power of sanction”, in other words, “authority”. The problem is not the existence of this enforcement force, but whether it is used in the interests of the nation. Democracy is the tool to mobilize the nation’s power in line with her social interests.

Social power requires social discipline. Democracy is not the antithesis of social discipline, but it is a tool to reinforce social discipline on a voluntary basis. Voluntary discipline can only be achieved through the internalization of the social goals by the nation. Creating the opportunity for a nation to learn in her own practice and maintaining a cultural revolution, which aims to raise the level of the nation, uninterruptedly are, therefore, amidst the indispensables of democracy.

Contemporary democracy entered the agenda of humanity through the democratic revolutions against feudalism. What made individual freedoms possible was the collective freedom that democratic revolutions brought to the nation by destroying feudalism. Today, the main obstacle to the collective freedom of oppressed and developing nations is imperialism. The more nation-states limit the pressure and control of imperialism, the wider becomes the area of the nations’ collective freedom. For a nation being crushed under the feet of imperialism, individual freedoms will be out of the question.

It is common to all social systems, which exhaust their historical life, that they lose the ability to do and turn into a mere destruction power. Today, the imperialist system can continue its existence based on the power of destroying rather than doing. Therefore, it is not a coincidence that neoliberalism is trying to turn individual freedom into a tool for destroying collective freedom by falsifying its content.

In the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, every nation is left alone with its own state in ensuring her safety in health and other areas. The pandemic has tested not only the skill level and the tools the nation-state owns in dealing with the outbreak, but also its ability to mobilize the society. Successful countries are those that have achieved voluntary social discipline in implementing the measures taken.

The prominence the nation-state gained with the pandemic has also brought to the agenda the question of the content to be assigned to contemporary democracy. The nation-states of the oppressed and developing nations are the main organizations these nations own in protecting and developing their collective freedoms against imperialism. That is why the perfection of these nation-states by transforming them into genuinely organized forms of the nation is of decisive importance for the future of humanity.

 

Science is the Truest Guide in Life

Science has also taken its place among the rising values during the pandemic. Everyone hopes that science will find the treatment and vaccine for COVID-19. Science has gained prestige by rising to the “savior” status in the eyes of humanity. But there is another crucial issue that the pandemic brought to the agenda regarding science. It is the vital importance that the “immediate and open sharing of scientific findings” carries.

In the process of globalization, privatization also covered information. Using the nomenclature of neoliberalism, the essence of the “Information Age” is nothing but the “privatization” of information. The effort was to reduce information to a private good, which only the purchaser is entitled to use, by exempting information from its public features. Therefore, trendy information of the Information Age is information that immediately gets converted into money or military or political power, i.e., information such that there is someone who is ready to buy it. Knowledge whose return is to occur in the longer run is discredited no matter how large that return might be, since nobody wants to pay the “storage” expenses. This approach struck the heaviest blow to basic natural and social sciences. Moreover, in the short term as well, the profit-oriented production of information acts as the biggest obstacle to sharing information. In fact, information is eminent among the products, which increase as you share. It is only through the re-expropriation of knowledge that the produced information becomes “the property of the entire humanity”.

It is not only because of the struggle against COVID-19 that science was located higher in the agenda as a rising value during the pandemic. Government interventions to control the pandemic required a holistic approach and planning covering all areas of life with economy at the top. The “miraculous” achievements in economic and social development brought about by planning a mixed economy and social life under the leadership of the state had previously been carried to the world agenda by the Chinese experience. A prerequisite for the success of such a holistic approach is the guidance of science.

Humanity has come to the end of the spontaneous development of production relations with capitalism. Capitalist production relations were not born as an outcome of design. These relationships were formed spontaneously within feudalism due to the driving force caused by the need for expansion in production. But socialist production relations do not arise within the capitalist system by themselves. Today, all countries that are in the stage completing their national democratic revolutions and opening up to socialism are supposed to find the way of development that suits their initial conditions, pave this path and create the means necessary to progress on this path. Such a development can only be achieved by drawing science to the center of life. Today, as technological development has become impossible without a scientific knowledge basis, so also has permanent social progress that is not based on science.

Knowledge has been central to productive forces throughout history. With the Enlightenment, democratic revolutions turned science into a source of social power as well. With the formation of social sciences, science has now become the main tool for constructing the future. Today, the creation of social power of development is dependent upon getting the goals set in the light of science appropriated by the masses. “Making science the truest guide in life” by drawing it to the center of life can only be materialized by letting the masses live these experiences.

 

The USA’s Hegemony Ground Slips Rapidly Under Its Feet

One of the most important effects of the coronavirus pandemic is the blow it has dealt to the hegemony of the USA. The USA had the dream to turn the 21st century into an American Century after the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, this dream did not last long. Attempts to consolidate the dominance of the world at gunpoint by taking advantage of America’s unmatched military superiority have failed. The goal of the USA’s armed power-based political hegemony was to get its financial capital dominate production all over the world without hindrance. In this way, the coverage of collecting financial tributes would expand and its political hegemony would be reinforced thanks to the domination of financial capital. America, which was left as the only “superpower”, started in the 1990’s to invent new financial capital instruments and to expand their coverage in an unfettered way. This led the USA to think that it had found a way to “consume without producing” and to “gain without working”.

Keeping this “recirculating machine” work permanently depended upon America’s ability to maintain the perception that it was the only force that is “able to get everything it targets” and “capable of shaping the future.” The military failures of the USA started to erode this perception rapidly. The joint effect of this erosion and the unfettered practices in the financial sphere caused the financial crisis of 2008 to break out in America. More importantly, in the meantime the center of production in the world had shifted from the West to the East. Eurasia, with China at its the center, was on the rise, which could not be controlled by the US through financial capital. Moreover, this rise based on statism, populism and development by sharing had already started to represent an alternative to the imperialist system in the eyes of the whole world.

 The United States itself is deeply divided today in an unprecedented way since its foundation except for the American Civil War. It is the collapse of US hegemony which underlies this dividedness. America is seeking to rebuild its hegemony, but cannot find any remedy to do so. This is what deepens the internal dividedness of the USA.

 Hegemony requires dominance not only over the Oppressed and Developing World, but also over other developed capitalist countries. The decline of the USA and the rise of Eurasia strengthened the centrifugal forces within the Atlantic System and induced a tendency to approach Eurasia. The struggles led against the US hegemony on three different planes in the world had started before the coronavirus pandemic and also continue today. Syria’s resistance and Turkey’s military operations in West Asia are armed struggles against the plans and armed forces, which are referred to by the US as “their land forces in the Middle East”. China is leading the struggle against America on the economic plane. The political struggle against US hegemony is also getting stronger day by day in Europe.

The United States itself is deeply divided today in an unprecedented way since its foundation except for the American Civil War. It is the collapse of US hegemony which underlies this dividedness. America is seeking to rebuild its hegemony, but cannot find any remedy to do so. This is what deepens the internal dividedness of the USA.

The US administration cannot lead its own states in the struggle against the coronavirus pandemic, let alone acting as the leader of the Atlantic System or the world. Conflicts between states and the central government as well as those between states came to the surface and got deepened during the pandemic. It is neither leadership nor solidarity, which left its mark concerning the relations of the USA with Europe during the pandemic. What will be remembered in that regard is that the US Government seized the protective health material belonging to European countries while it was passing through its own ports.

When the countries of the European Union were left alone in combating the pandemic, they started to remember the location of their national borders, which they had forgotten for a long time. In Italy, who suffered severe losses during the outbreak, flags of the European Union, which did not care about Italians, were taken down and instead the flags of China and Russia, who ran to their aid, were drawn.

In fact, this process is an indication of the extent to which the “soft power” of the USA – an indispensable aspect for American hegemony – is eroded. Anti-racist demonstrations that encroach all over America and spread to Europe after the murder of African American George Floyd by police, reveal the dimensions of this erosion. The United States, who had condemned China’s quarantine measures against the pandemic as a severe violation of fundamental freedoms, is now declaring a curfew to suppress anti-racist demonstrations and summoning the army to the streets.

 The effects of the outbreak have strengthened the ground for international cooperation in the fight against hegemony. The 20th century has always witnessed that “wars lead to revolutions”. The 21st century, on the other hand, is a candidate to witness that “revolutions prevent wars”.

 Both the success of the People’s Republic of China in its struggle against the pandemic and the solidarity it has shown by sharing information, materials and health personnel with other countries have enhanced this country’s worldwide prestige. The USA, who sees this prestige as a great threat against its hegemony, has launched an anti-Chinese campaign to overshadow this success. In America, perhaps a more intensive effort is being spent to “showing that China is responsible for the spread of the virus to the world” than to take the pandemic under control. A diplomatic campaign is being carried out on the international plane to establish a “virus alliance” against China.

The effects of the outbreak have strengthened the ground for international cooperation in the fight against hegemony. The 20th century has always witnessed that “wars lead to revolutions”. The 21st century, on the other hand, is a candidate to witness that “revolutions prevent wars”. The world wars of the last century were imperialist wars to re-share the world. If a new world war is to come, that will be a war led by the imperialist system headed by the US against the Developing World. What will deter such a war is to make the USA see the impossibility of winning it from the beginning.

The USA currently lacks the power to pull the Atlantic System into such a war. NATO is described by its own members as an organization whose “brain death” has already taken place. The rising trend in Europe and other developed capitalist countries outside the USA is “approaching Eurasia against the US hegemony”. America has failed in its attempts to damage the relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation. In fact, in the USA’s latest National Defense Strategy Document announced in December 2017, China and Russia are both included in the “enemy front”. The reason for this is that the US has set its main goal as slowing down its decline and creating circumstances which will allow it to get on a rise again.

This situation should not lead the Oppressed and Developing World to lessen its efforts against hegemony. The currents triggered by the coronavirus pandemic have created a very suitable ground to further limit hegemony. Taking advantage of this ground to consolidate world peace more securely will enable humanity to breathe more comfortably.

 

The Economic Crisis Caused by the Coronavirus Outbreak

The pandemic has dealt a great blow to the economy all over the world. Unlike the crises arising from within the economy itself, production and consumption shrank simultaneously. The shrinkage in production resulted from precautions taken against the pandemic along with the break of supply chains due to the global nature of the outbreak. The shrinkage in consumption resulted from the rapid increase in unemployment accompanied by a decline in incomes, as well as from the service industry and transportation getting largely disabled during the pandemic.

The problem of countries’ self-sufficiency has also come forward since international trade got significantly interrupted during the outbreak. Insufficiencies arose in the provision of health supplies and some other basic items. The economic crisis will not be overcome by taking the pandemic under control and returning to the usual daily life. In fact, the relationship of the crisis with the social system will occupy the agenda in an even more pressing way.

In private-interest-focused systems, economic operation is completely shaped by market forces. Production is subject to consumption demand and growth is consumption-oriented. The line of development of the country’s production power is determined by the quantitative and qualitative content of consumption demands. Consumption-oriented growth renders the place, where the goods are produced, unimportant. For what matters is not the origin, but the price of the good. In case a good can be imported more cheaply from another country, its domestic production becomes unnecessary. Consumption-oriented growth makes the nation-state fade away. It creates incentives for sources getting allocated to consumption rather than savings and investment. So long as borrowing is sustainable, borrowing acts as a means of growth until it becomes unsustainable.

Consumption demand reflects the tendency of those who possess purchasing power, not the actual needs of society. Everyone is included in total demand to the extent of his purchasing power. Therefore, consumption-oriented growth has a discriminatory rather than unifying effect on different sections of the nation.

It is impossible to build a production-oriented economy in the absence of the planning, participating and guiding leadership of the state. The point of departure of a production-oriented economy is public interest and not private interest. The quantitative and qualitative development of production power is planned in order to meet the needs of the country and society. The needs are determined by the combined effect of ensuring public safety in certain main areas and promoting social welfare. Private incentives and markets are employed by subjecting them to public interest. The balance between savings and consumption is established in a way that unleashes the nation’s production potential at a maximal level. In order to prevent unemployment, a suitable range of technologies is used in production. Acquisition and development of necessary technologies in specific priority areas are planned including the training of qualified workforce needed.

In the post-coronavirus periods, there will be state interventions to overcome the crisis in both developed capitalist countries and developing countries. But these interventions will gather around two different axes.

State interventions in developed capitalist countries will aim to restore capitalist markets by expanding consumption. In fact, there is no doubt that the system will try to make “flexible work”, which is introduced as a temporary application during the pandemic, permanent to the extent possible. Ensuring a friction-free operation of the labor market through flexible work is a goal that the capitalist system has been dreaming of for quite a long time.

On the other hand, the outbreak has shaken the trust in the private interest focused system. Besides, there is also a social opposition that started to rise against this system before the pandemic. Therefore, while the capitalist system will try to get out of the crisis, social opposition will simultaneously take its place on the stage as well. In fact, the anti-racist demonstrations that spread to different states of the USA and then to Europe after the murder of George Floyd by the police in the US should be regarded as a precursor of this opposition.

The coronavirus outbreak has brought forth the problem of self-sufficiency concerning basic needs and security in each country. The need for self-sufficiency is naturally accompanied by the production-oriented economy approach. The experience lived during the pandemic along with the driving force of objective necessities will strengthen the production-oriented economy approach in developing countries. Developing countries can continue their development only if they build a production-oriented mixed economy led by the state. But the success of this process depends on the formation and implementation of a holistic program. It should be expected that the differences existing in the developing world in this respect will be reflected in a more accentuated way on the developments in the forthcoming period.

 

Conclusion

The coronavirus crisis delivered a final blow to neoliberalism, which already began to decline rapidly as the USA started to lose its hegemony power. The imperialist system has already begun to search for new footholds to hang on to in place of neoliberalism on the ideological plane. It would not be wrong to predict that the search for a new paradigm will be affected by both the social opposition that will rise within the capitalist system and the struggle of the Developing World on the international plane.

Values such as the human-focused nation-state, science, statism, populism and developing by sharing, which have risen during the virus crisis, should be expected to lead to more permanent gains after the pandemic in the Developing World. This is because these values constitute the building blocks of the only way out of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, as they also coincide with the objective interests of the Developing World. Moreover, the decline of the US hegemony provides the Developing World with a wide range of freedom to maintain these values. As regards Turkey, turning the experience we are going through into a permanent gain will be possible by reaching the aim of the “Producers’ National Government” that will put the ‘Program of Production Revolution’ into practice .

Globalization is the derivative of neoliberalism on the stage of international relations. The coronavirus crisis has put an end to globalization along with neoliberalism. This situation provides a suitable ground for organizing an international cooperation, whose main actors are nation-states. This cooperation should be of such a nature that each country trusts its own power, while it also has the opportunity to benefit from the international cooperation to consolidate its own power. The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, first introduced by Zhou Enlai in the 20th century and later adopted by the Non-Aligned Movement, will form the basis of such international cooperation. These principles are “mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference into each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful co-existence”.

The “Belt and Road Initiative” led by the People’s Republic of China provides an infrastructure to Eurasia, which will enable a rich international economic interaction. This infrastructure creates a suitable ground for each country to benefit from international cooperation in line with its specific development path and strategy. This kind of cooperation will not be a “new type of globalization”, since cooperation will not make nation-states fade away, but it will, to the contrary, strengthen them and cooperation itself will develop further as nation-states become stronger.

The construction of this kind of international cooperation should be expected to bring important political results along. It will bring Europe and other developed capitalist countries closer to Asia, serve to isolate the hegemony pursuing USA and thus force it to normalize its relations with other countries.

It is vital for the future of humanity to maintain the guidance of science that has gained prestige all over the world during the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. In our age, the nation-states of the Developing World constitute the main organized forces of social development. It will only be possible for nation-states to fulfill their duties by turning into “visible hands” that will replace capitalism’s “invisible hand”. What the “visible hand” will need most is to replace spontaneity by the guidance of science. Finally, transforming the nation-state into a genuinely organized form of the nation itself will be possible to the extent the nation appropriates the guiding role of science within its own experience.

The rising values in the struggle against the coronavirus outbreak can once more be summarized as follows:

  • a nation’s confidence in its own power -Nationalism;
  • republic is the form of state that ensures that a nation-state is genuinely the nation’s organization -Republicanism;
  • to subordinate private interest to public interest -Populism;
  • the leading role attributed to the state in economic and social development -Statism;
  • the guidance of science -Laicism;
  • the need to maintain economic and social development continually -Revolutionism.

These principles are the basic principles of the Atatürk Revolution.

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