Posted on March 28, 2020

Issues surrounding the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic on our world, the consequences of decisions being made now, and how it could change the world have been discussed in the latest edition of Doha Debates’ Course Correction podcast series.

Course Correction has been developed by the Qatar Foundation production to unpick key global issues through the eyes of experts and thought-leaders who aim to make a difference. In a special coronavirus-focused episode, host Nelufar Hedayat gauged the views of Parag Khanna (pictured), a leading global strategy advisor who specializes in international relations, and Dr. Jason Hickel, Economic Anthropologist at the University of London.

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“I am based in London, and there is an incredible amount of frustration here,” said Dr. Hickel, speaking about his experiences of the impact of COVID-19 on the UK and the world. “It is becoming increasingly apparent that the new Western liberal model of governance is being shown to be farcical, in comparison to what East Asian countries are able to accomplish in terms of governance in the public interest, public health, and protecting lives. “I think this is, in some way, the final nail in the coffin of the legitimacy of the new liberal system in the West. The question is whether we will be able to learn from these mistakes or not.”

Speaking about how East Asians countries such as Japan, South Korea, and Singapore have tackled the virus in comparison to other countries, Khanna said: “We still do not know what the impact will be in these countries. “The fact that the virus spreads so fast is an important reminder of how connected we are, but you can’t be so sure that everything will simply be fine in these countries next week. “All our economies are relatively open. If Singapore wants to go back to business, that means letting people in, so I believe we are nowhere near the stage where we can say that Asia has got it right.”

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Hedayat also spoke about the effects of coronavirus from a social aspect, and her personal experience saying: “I have a neighbor who suffers from several health issues, and I worry for her every day that she might get the virus and it might affect her. She does not have anyone to look after her. “I think this virus is changing us on a personal and behavioral level, and it is changing us as communities”.

Doha Debates launched Course Correction as part of a revamped concept, which includes a live event debate series, digital videos, blogs, and a portal facilitating live video conversations on key global topics with people around the world. To view the podcast, visit www.dohadebates.com/listen

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