Bad Bets

This is all absolutely true and hardly mentioned at all by anyone. The entire industrial world bet the house that economic engagement with China would turn the Chinese government into democrats and that making China the global economic linchpin for almost every industry on the planet would pay big dividends forever with no possible downside.

The Wuhan virus is not all that scary as viruses go but it’s absolutely existentially terrifying in economic terms as a significant slowdown of any length is liable to have really awful consequences for pretty much everyone. There were major problems with supplies of some medicines in Poland a few months ago because the existing pharmaceutical industry has largely been shut down and what’s left is dependent on Chinese ingredients.

Worse yet, if the virus burns itself out in the spring then I predict that no one will have learned anything and will just double down on depending on the good will and ongoing health (literal and metaphorical) of the Chinese economy. Even worse yet, the idiots that made these decisions will not suffer any consequences…. it’ll be the rest of us.

 

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