Had enough excitement yet? At least the stock markets are following an established script: the bubble pops, the elevator drops, for a while it stops… and then investments sink to the deepest sub-basement, where they linger for a long, long time. Hello, next great depression…. We know how that story goes, even if it hurts.
This corona virus is something else. It engulfs whole populations in a fog of confounding narratives. Is it no worse than a bad common cold, except for old folks already half-gone with chronic illness? Or does it really slam people even in the midst of life? Well, Wuhan hospital director Liu Zhiming, 51, went down two weeks ago, and gastroenterologist Xia Sisi, 29, and Dr. Peng Yinhua, also 29, and some prominent Iranian politicians, and lots of very sick healthcare workers from Korea to Italy. Whatever corona virus is, I’m not persuaded that it’s a hoax.
One monster banging around in that fog is the narrative that China started this thing simply to get rid of Mr. Trump. There’s a real baby-and-bathwater proposition. Would China, in effect, blow up its export economy for that, i.e. commit suicide? Because a lot of those prior arrangements will probably not come back — the manufacturing supply lines for this-and-that, the fabulous cornucopia of plastic goodies extruded from all those smoking factories and flushed out to the world, the whole glorious let’s-get-rich extravaganza that Deng Xiaoping kicked off forty years ago. It’s looking like the global economy is on the rocks, perhaps for good, as we knew it. Is China as plumb crazy as, for instance, America’s political Left?
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