We hope this pandemic is contained and that the hyperbole can be chalked up to excess caution, but it occurs to me that it could have a longer term influence on the commercial relationship with China.  For China to expect global companies to invest in their nation, they need the confidenceI that comes from dependable infrastructure and institutions.  If their systems of health and sanitation can bring their entire economy to a screeching halt,  this has to give second thoughts to global companies seeking to invest there.

The Corona virus may succeed in realigning the balance of trade better than any of Trump’s tariffs or negotiations.  The Chinese market is still so large that it cannot be ignored, but it also can no longer be depended on to be a consistent and secure source of supply of critical components for American manufactured goods.

Politically the virus can undermine confidence of the established government, and that is not limited to China.  It could have an equally influential effect on the fragile balance of power in Iran.

Closed societies like China and Iran pose a greater threat because their propaganda machines will fabricate the reality they want. Open societies are open to criticism and accountability and this may have as much an effect on containing the problem as their advanced medical practices.

The virus may affect political as well as economic balances of power.