Many political challenges are animated by fear. Often, that fear manifests itself as arguing or pessimism. The proper response to these obstacles is to build constructive alternatives, not passively wait for salvation.
Today, the biggest challenge of global politics is not terrorism, elections, the trade war, or anything human. It is the spectre of global pandemics. Covid 19 ignores all borders as it destroys health, social distancing, supply chains, and lives. The result is declining trust in our institutions and the genuine possibility of a global recession. How can we convert this hopelessness into solutions?
Small and special jurisdictions have an advantage when dealing with coronavirus and similar pandemics. Their size makes it more manageable for governments to trace goods, people, and to implement drastic measures to fight health threats. We can see this working with the numbers of coronavirus infections in Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau.
Even as global trade declines, Special Economic Zones (SEZ) can provide a role to reduce transmission. Trade barriers will likely follow recent travel restrictions, as states are more motivated to control their own supply chains, yet states must still trade. But SEZs can provide a bastion of global exchange amid mounting tension. They can also more effectively track shipments to ensure that goods will not transmit diseases.
Also, SEZs that focus more on remote work or the ICT industry can provide economic value with less risk of spreading contamination. These tech Zones can also facilitate, and be run by, Distributed Ledger Technologies that can help administer areas with less reliance on physical contact.
In the aftermath of Covid, the world will need to rebuild economically and politically. Startup Societies should be at the vanguard of this, by providing innovative, accountable, and nimble governance. Now, at the depth of the pandemic, is the time to lay the foundations.
To jumpstart the process, the Startup Societies Foundation will host a virtual Summit on May 1st-2nd. The event will bring together leaders in special jurisdictions, policymaking, epidemiology, distributed ledger technology, and data science. To promote social distancing, we will hold the Summit online through a Virtual Summit platform that will allow users to network, conduct workshops, and watch speakers.
Stay tuned as we announce more details and join the conversation on how to take practical action against fear, despair, and Covid.