For the past year or so, we’ve all been scrambling to pretty much stay alive. This means staying home, trying to make a living when we can’t go outside, practicing social distancing, and praying to whatever higher power we believe in that the world doesn’t collapse around us.
I actually knew a marginally crazy, conspiracy theory type guy who thought the world was going to collapse a few months after the pandemic hit the news. I was worried, but I didn’t fear that sort of outcome. A lot of people did, and I can actually understand why. Just because you thought the world might fall apart does not mean you were crazy, that guy just had a tradition of being crazy before hand.
It’s the aftermath that people aren’t thinking of. This is having a major impact historically, beyond the terror and the very unfortunate loss of so many lives. If you have lost someone you love or care about to this disaster, you do have my absolute condolences, and that deserves discussion all of its own, one that I fear I am not qualified to engage in.
However, what’s it going to look like on the other side of this? Sooner or later, the pandemic will land, and it will be safe to step outside your house. But what kind of world is that going to be? What are the ramifications on foreign affairs in Australia, or trade in Australia?
The digital world has arrived!
The new trade system is going to be entirely digital. Let’s face it, the age of the brick-and-mortar is dead. It was slowly withering away before the pandemic, and it would’ve been another couple decades before this happened without it. However, the way the pandemic is forced us to rely on the Internet to purchase things, have food delivered, socialize and work or learn… That’s not going to go away.
If you are working from home right now, are you going to be all that willing to return to your little cubicle, having to rise at six in the morning to get to work, deal with your obnoxious coworkers, and that have to do with rush-hour traffic to come home? No, you’re not. And businesses are not going to be that eager to deal with the overhead that they haven’t had to cope with, with everyone telecommuting.
What does this mean for foreign affairs in Australia? Well, security, threats and trade are all going to be handled digitally. We’re going to have to compete very hard on a global level, and we are going to have to deal with the interaction of our citizens with foreign people in other nations via the Internet. Currently, everyone communicates very freely across borders over things like discord, social media and so forth.
This is the new front for society, and our foreign affairs policies are going to have to reflect this. As far as trade in Australia, our biggest competitor is going to be China and the rest of Southeast Asia. We really want to get in on selling goods to Russia, and right now their biggest supplier of everything is understandably China. We don’t want to try to get into America’s sectors, those guys have what they have and there a giant we don’t want to mess with. We need to double down on our digital infrastructure in our manufacturing capabilities, and be able to ship mass product of a better quality for a more reasonable price that are Southeast Asian neighbors can provide.
At the end of the day, though, remember this: those nations with which we compete are still our allies, but we need outcompete them in the trade front.