Edited by Marta Marson, University of Turin and OEET

Newsletter n. 15| May 2020 - Download PDF

The 15th issue of the Emerging Economies newsletter includes three contributions about Covid-19 in emerging and advanced economies and about its implications for peace and stability. This time, we have two articles in Italian, with abstracts in English, and one in English, with abstract in Italian. Authors are Ignazio Musu, Vittorio Valli and Renata Targetti Lenti. 

We start with the note by Ignazio Musu about China and the Covid-19 pandemic. Musu describes gaps and errors in the early management of the crisis by China’s authorities, particularly at the local level. Nonetheless his main point is about the importance of international cooperation. Regardless gaps and responsibilities, not only economic recovery needs China, but also the very nature of epidemics in the global world calls for international cooperation, among scientists, among public health systems, and for the protection of global biodiversity as a means to prevent new outbreaks. Responsibility should prevail over hegemonic and geopolitical ambitions by both the US and China, in order to recover from the Covid-19 crisis. The second note, by Vittorio Valli, points to the errors in the strategy implemented by Western countries to manage the emergency of Covid-19. The author, after a critical analysis of the available indicators on the pandemic, draws some comparisons between Eastern Asia and Western countries and in particular between South Korea and Italy. Important differences are detected both in their success in limiting the spread of the epidemics and in the fatality rate among infected persons. The relatively poor performances of Italy and most other Western countries are partially explained by errors and lack of political courage at the start of the pandemic, and by previous cutting of public healthcare expenditure, rise in privatization and disregard of primary care and general practice. However, the overoptimistic attitude of our leaders about the capacity of Western systems to address the challenges posed by Covid-19, can also be explained by a kind of ethnocentric presumption. This presumption, particularly at the onset of the outbreak, prevented them from learning from Eastern Asian countries. The United States did not only show presumption, but they openly blamed China for the outbreak and the management of the epidemic, as effectively described in the contribution by Musu. The third contribution, by Renata Targetti Lenti analyses the experience of European societies during the first months of Covid-19 pandemics, based on the consideration that, from ancient times to date, violence and epidemics were accompanied, or followed, by reduction in income and wealth inequality. While the effects of Covid-19 on mortality rates will hopefully remain well below that of pests like, for example, the Black Death which affected Europe in the late Middle Ages, social and economic consequences might be worse and, noticeably, no positive effect is expected on equality. So far, the effects that can be identified operate towards increasing inequality, particularly when dimensions of inequality beyond income and wealth are considered, like equality of opportunities in health and gender disparity.


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