I wrote my first blog post about the potential the coronavirus had to harm the Chinese economy and, by extension, the global economy. It is crazy to see the evolution of what were theories and possibilities just four weeks ago develop into realities that are shaping the international economy now. The S&P 500 index fell to its worst loss in nine years this week, and global stock values fell by more than $4 trillion. Beyond stocks plummeting as investors big and small pull their money from markets, there are questions about supply chains. The main factory for assembling iPhones in China has been shut for the entire month of February. This exemplifies the interconnectedness of global supply. International trade used to typically mean products that were manufactured in one country and shipped to another, but now it exists across many boarders. iPhones alone are the product of 43 countries working together. So, with a main assembly factory shut, the economies of 42 other countries will feel the impact of the coronavirus.
The market meltdown in America is just one small example of how the coronavirus is impacting millions of lives beyond those who have the virus. Watching the effects that the virus has on the world has made me reflect on how small the world really is. A virus that started in a Chinese city that, embarrassingly, I hadn’t heard of before the past several months, is now infiltrating nearly every aspect of everyday live in countries around the world. We all feel the consequences of this virus in different ways – some are losing their lives or losing a loved one to the virus itself, while others may be feeling economic losses which affect people in different capacities. Unfortunately, it is often the people who have the least to lose that suffer the most in these economic downfalls. All in all, this virus is truly demonstrating to me that, at the end of the day, we are all far more similar than we are different. No human is above suffering, and, perhaps, a shared suffering can demonstrate our humanity. To me, the most important attribute to maintain in this turbulent time is empathy because when everyone is suffering or will likely be suffering in the near future, we could all benefit from one another’s support.
Lee, Yimou, “Exclusive: Outbreak to hit iPhone output if China extends Foxconn factory halt – source,” Reuters, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-health-foxconn-exclusive/exclusive-outbreak-to-hit-iphone-output-if-china-extends-foxconn-factory-halt-source-idUSKBN1ZX1ZH
Lynch, David J., “As stock markets tumble because of coronavirus, this time feels different,” The Washington Post, 28 February 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/02/28/stock-markets-tumble-because-coronavirus-this-time-feels-different/
Petrova, Magdalena, “ We traced what it takes to make an iPhone, from its initial design to the components and raw materials needed to make it a reality,” CNBC, 14 December 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/13/inside-apple-iphone-where-parts-and-materials-come-from.html
Phillips, Matt, “Coronavirus Fears Drive Stocks Down for 6th Day and Into Correction,” The New York Times, 27 Feb 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/business/stock-market-coronavirus.html
Yglesias, Matthew, “This week’s stock market meltdown, explained,” Vox, 28 February 2020, https://www.vox.com/2020/2/28/21157689/coronavirus-stock-crash-dow-recession