Updated: Apr 7, 2020
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Agatha Farmer Editorial
Downing Street in London confirmed this afternoon that PM Boris Johnson's condition has worsened since being hospitalised with persistent COVID-19 symptoms and he is currently in the ICU. Canada's first lady has apparently recovered from her confirmed coronavirus case but PM Trudeau clearly hasn't left his front porch. It does seem that this virus really spares no one and it will depend solely on an individuals immune system and overall health to determine how each case will proceed.
It was reported that Italy as a country had a very prominent senior demographic and while that is correct at the present moment the pandemic has claimed more victims in Italy than any other country, and more than 45,000 worldwide. Italy has been under full lockdown for weeks and yet the spread is still far reaching. Many businesses have been shuttered for well over a month and the economic carnage continues. Our local public officials stress daily that we are now living the "new normal," which also translates to "have a seat, buckle up, this is going to be one long bumpy ride."
Many people including medical professionals it seems have predicted something like Covid-19, if you haven't yet watched the Netflix special "Pandemic" it is like a Stephen King novel forecasting real life. Therefore, the assumption is that a pathogen of this viral magnitude was a good, highly probable scenario given the global rate of travel and the powers which control society would have been prepped for such emergencies. In theory they might very well of have been but I don't think to this extended cataclysmic economy shutting down state. This once capitalistic system is now mimicking communism.
It was circa 1986 and I remember rather well waiting in line at a local grocery butcher shop with my mother in communist Poland noticing the vividly empty hooks and shelves. I didn't have my first taste of a banana until I was about 7 years old when I visited East Germany. It seems surreal to me to see empty shelves and the lack of necessities such as toilet paper in a Canadian supermarket. There are now lineups, but to me it's almost weirdly familiar to line up at a grocery store and have limits on food, some part of me remembers this survival process. To an extend that was my childhood, my mother taught me to cook with scraps of meat and make all kinds of soups, crepes, pasta, etc. and I can definitely stretch a food budget dollar. That is partly because much of my childhood was lived in a communist country. But I've lived in Canada since 1990 and have never experienced the type of shortages I'm seeing in North American grocery stores today.
The interesting note to our current state is that while capitalism has grown over decades due in part to the rise in global trade, and has used and abused China like a lady of the night for the world's manufacturing pleasures all while creating some of the wealthiest businessman in Asia and the US. The capitalist system requires the wheels of the economy churning at all capacities, at all times, the more overtime the better everyone performs in this trickle down global dystopian dream. Any downtime in trade or shutdown time of this hamster wheel and the ripple effect of a thousand tsunamis within the current financial system leads to devastating outcomes. As an example of this tsunami wave Canada this week was left begging the US for the release of desperately needed PPE for our front-line health care workers which we don't produce in this country. So where is our manufacturing sector in Canada for essential items humans depend on? See countries like Russia and obviously China, while communist and lacking in serious human rights, are capable of remaining self sufficient. A 2018 assessment paper titled Russia’s food self-sufficiency and food security presents the following summary.
"The impact of Russia’s 2014 food embargo on the food system and food trade is analysed. Domestic production has increased and Russia has become more self-sufficient in food and seafood. In addition, food trading partners have changed. Western food and seafood trading partners have been replaced by trading partners from Asia and Central Asia. There is a high likelihood that the Russian food market has been lost to Western exporters for the foreseeable future. Even after sanctions and countersanctions end, it is difficult to see the pathway for Western food exporters to recapture market share in Russia."
This is absolutely correct, the pure hatred for the West has strenghthened Putin's resolve to keep Russia self sufficent from cultivating domestic natural resource to farming. Don't like communists? That's fine, they don't like you either but they also don't need you. This is exactly the lesson that should be learned from this Covid19 pandemic, and it seems like Ontario's Premier Doug Ford is learning. At a recent press conference Ford wasn't afraid to acknowledge the lack of self sufficiency and promised that Ontario will begin manufacturing more goods for its residents after expressing disappointment in President Donald Trump over his emergency measure to seize the export of masks to Canada. To which I say don't hate the player, hate the game you took part in creating. Darwin's theory is bang on during the testing of survival.
Canada has a well developed technology sector we are past the time and seriously too late to the game of indoor farming. We have a less than desirable growing season, but there is no reason why we can't grow indoors and while growing hydroponically indoors why not incorporate fish farms? We need to think more local, less global, I'm quoting a meme but carries an important message;
"Amazon won't sponsor your kids ball team but a local business will."
We need to expand our manufacturing of all necessary goods within our local communities, we need to introduce farming and horticulture to kids in elementary and high schools. There is no doubt that this would lead to better paying jobs, and most importantly a local community based supply chain. We need to return to nature, to community while using our technology capabilities as leverage.