For most of us, 2020 has been a challenging, silly, mad, awful lot of a year and we were so happy to leave all of this sadness behind approaching midnight on New Year’s Eve to engage with happier times in 2021 with the hope of leaving the pandemic behind and regain normalcy in our day-to-day lives. Now, I don’t want to spill the beans and it even hurts my own confidence to write this, but there is a risk that 2021 could turn out to be as bad as last year, some would say even worst. So, in this article, we will look at 4 things that could make 2021 another bad year.
If you want to stop reading here, you know I understand and feel to do so. But if you are looking for some comfort in this new year, I encourage you to read my other post about the 6 things that could make 2021 a great year!
1 – The virus vaccine and the virus variants
Scientists all around the world have done an awesome job at getting vaccine solutions out as quickly as 9 months in the pandemic. That’s a heck of a job when you look at the usually average time of 10 YEARS to get vaccines out! Not only that, but governments have been quite efficient on the whole working to tackle logistic challenges such as storage, stocks, transport and deployment. And before I get blasting comments about operations not being flawless, I know there are still some challenges being worked out today and the roll-out isn’t going all that smoothly exactly. So, just safe your ink.
Precisely, this “after-effect” challenges could cause a flaw in the sought-after plan for mass immunization. With the virus mutating into more insidious, aggressive variants while we see delay in getting vaccinated, the result could be more spreading across countries and a more challenging context to deal with. That would include more lockdowns and shutdowns and more demanding sanitary measures and would be increase the social and economical challenges that we already face.
2 – A new economy for which we are not ready
Even when our economies bounce back, there are great chances that no aspect of our lives will be the same as before. For the most part, the pandemic has changed the way we live, travel, shop and work… And that last one is especially important.
The concept of globalisation has taken a hit in 2020. What had become the absolute normality for our post-Word-War-2 world has been simply put on hold 12 months ago. Complex global supply chains have been overloaded and disrupted. Such a phenomenon demanded serious fixing. And it came in place with scaling-back the scheme and a more regionalized economy. However, using technology companies are able to manufacture quicker and more efficiently… Meaning a product doesn’t necessarily need as much people as it used to for being built and shipped. Therefore, even when countries get back to business as usual, some of us will need additional help to catch-up with a new way of work via learning some new skills, new tools and new processes.
3 – Political instability
As early as the last quarter of 2020, 2021 was already appearing as a very challenging year. With just the ongoing global agenda (no considering anything specific to the pandemic). Mainly the arrival of a new president in the United States of America and Brexit coming into force as of January 2021. But wait, there is more to add to the potentially tectonic climate of geopolitics in 2021.
First, the doings of the now-former Trump administration in America have brought more suspicion on China and its activities worldwide. But it also reinforced its own positions. Although a Biden presidency foresees a very much progressive era, the new administration will have to remain careful. On another hand, the new President could be seriously constrained over the next 4 years due to the senate being held by a republican-red majority.
On top of that, tensions have also grown in various regions around the world. In small Taiwan and Hong-Kong, with threatful and powerful Chinese neighbours. Once again, what didn’t help is the provision of weapons from the U.S to Taiwan. That just fuelled even more tensions in the region. Add some on-going nuclear threats from North-Korea and Iran… And Neo-Ottoman fundamentalism in Turkey and you get less of a Mojito and more of a Molotov cocktail here.
Oh and… yes, Brexit! That is certainly going put high pressure on both UK’s and European countries’s economy! So there you have it: a whole wide word becomes as unstable as a flask of TNT!
4 – Weakened economy and financial crisis
The 2020 pandemic has brought to the world the biggest economic recession since World War 2. It is what it is… The only country that is still in the green zone on the tab is China. With 2% growth in 2020 and an estimated 10% by the end of 2021. Meanwhile, western countries are still struggling with growth. This is due to the slow recovery from the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. Another key fact is the lasting damage of the surge of populism in Europe (Brexit) and the U.S.A.
Addressing the pandemic alone, economists in the U.S believe that the government should extend stimulus beyond the end of the pandemic. Nonetheless, they fear that the government focuses on debt reduction instead. In Europe, most countries were already struggling with installing steady growth. The post-pandemic world is just revealing itself as filled up with more challenges to overcome.
Wrapping it up
And these are our 4 things that could make 2021 another bad year. Congratulation for not being discouraged by this hailstorm of negative insight for the year that just begun. Though these risks are real, I’m confident that most things will go for the best. Ultimately we will all make it through. Seeing at our common interests, living responsibly together and keeping flexible and ready and embrace change when it comes… This is what will allow us to breakthrough. Resilience, common sense and adaptability are what will get us through this.
By the way, the image feature at the top of this post is from a photographer named Pavel Anoshin. Please go check his work on Unsplash!