Sat | Oct 16, 2021

COVID-19: The new world order

Published:Saturday | October 9, 2021 | 12:05 AMKaren McFarlane - Guest Columnist

“Believe it or not, the next 3-5 years will remind us that COVID-19 was the lightning before the thunder” – Parag Khanna and Karan Khemka

For more than a decade now I have been hearing about the new world order. What is the new world order? Slaughter (2009), in a book titled A New World Order, defines the phenomenon as a “system of global governance that institutionalises cooperation and sufficiently contains conflict such that all nations and their peoples may achieve greater peace and propriety, improve their stewardship of the earth reaching a minimum standard of human dignity”.

Is this a fact or a mere opinion?

Take a look at what COVID-19 is doing worldwide.

She further opined that “in a world of global markets, global travel, global information networks, of weapons of mass destruction and looming environmental disasters of global magnitude, governance must have global reach to use their soft powers (persuasion and information) to exploit, as using their hard powers are now limited”.

Take a look at what the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is doing across the world.

While it may need diversely fresh lens to look into new possibilities for future world order, we don’t have to look far to see what economic mutilation a world pandemic can do.

Jamaica and her Caribbean counterparts are adversely affected, but the large first-world countries are equally affected. This pandemic has spared no race, class, creed, nationality, group, culture or gender.

Conversely, the minority groups across the world are going to be more affected than the dominant groups.

We have been experiencing the effects of the virus in Jamaica. Prime Minister Andrew Holness has asked the vulnerable groups to stay home as much as possible. Urging them to work from home, limit their time spent in public, self-isolate where possible, and the wearing of mask in public is mandatory.

Trust me, it is scary!

“The coronavirus is like an earthquake, with aftershocks that will permanently reshape the world” – Khanna & Khemka (2020).

Believe it or not, this pandemic is highlighting the new world order prominently for all who never saw it coming.


COVID-19 has descended on us like a plague, urging everyone to do almost everything virtually. There are now virtual parties, virtual work, virtual banking, virtual burials, virtual pharmacies, virtual restaurants, virtual counselling, virtual meetings, virtual testing, virtual school and much more.

The virtual world is an emerging trend brought on by COVID-19.

Isn’t this the new world order?

With emerging technology and new advancement, everything is heading virtual. Technology and change is the new normal.

I am foreseeing that employers will take advantage of this. If they can use less manpower to achieve high productivity, then that’s going to be their new normal. If flexi-work can produce great output and yield profit, then that is going to be their new normal. If most things can be done online for all, then that is going to be the new normal.

Open up your eyes and see the new world order. Things are going to be different after COVID-19.

I take this opportunity to urge my fellow Jamaicans to ‘tan ah yuh yard’ and flatten the curve to save lives.

- Karen R. McFarlane is a lecturer. Email feedback to