Andreas Kluth’s View to 2022: Plague and War, But Good Stuff Too
(Bloomberg Opinion) --
What to expect:
Two of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will keep us busy in 2022 as they did in 2021. One is plague — in our case the SARS-CoV-2 virus that keeps mutating. As I predicted in March, we’re in for a seemingly permanent struggle between us (science) and nature (evolution). We keep coming up with new and better vaccines, but nature keeps changing the virus just enough to evade any immunity we can build up. I’ll certainly keep watching how this race evolves, and how it changes us socially, economically, psychologically and politically.
Another Horseman is war. Russia under President Vladimir Putin and China under President Xi Jinping are, in different ways, testing the norms — imperfect though those may have been — that have kept the world relatively stable since the Cold War. Xi has his eye on Taiwan, among other things. And Putin is right now trying to blackmail NATO and “the West” into staying out of eastern Europe so he can turn it into his sphere of influence. He’s massed his troops and may invade Ukraine. If so, how will the West — including Germany, where I live and which has a new and untested government — respond?
The other two Horsemen won’t be far, of course. In our context, Famine and Death could stand for climate change and mass extinction. Still, as I was in 2021, I’ll be careful throughout 2022 to look not only at the bad and nasty this world offers but also at the good and creative. Yes, we humans cause a lot of problems. But we sure are good at solving them too.
From the year behind us:
We Must Start Planning For a Permanent Pandemic: With coronavirus mutations pitted against vaccinations in a global arms race, we may never go back to normal.
mRNA Vaccines Could Vanquish Covid Today, Cancer Tomorrow: The best news about the mRNA shots from BioNTech and Moderna is that the same technique could also defeat many other diseases.
What Is Consciousness? Scientists Compete to Find Out: A new type of experiment could get us closer to grasping human consciousness. Or it could simply raise it.
Science Shows Why Simplifying Is Hard and Complicating Is Easy: Our brains appear hardwired to add stuff rather than take things away. That explains a lot about the messes we keep making.
The Post-Heroic Legacy of Angela Merkel: History’s verdict, I believe, will be that Merkel deserves huge and lasting credit for managing situations that could have become disasters, but that her departure became necessary for a new era to be born.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
Andreas Kluth is a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion. He was previously editor in chief of Handelsblatt Global and a writer for the Economist. He's the author of "Hannibal and Me."
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