Jabbercovid from the Jabberplex
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 7 Dec 2020
In Celebration of the Jabber Strategy Ensuring a Jab-for-All as a Global Panacea
2 Dec 2020 – The UN has convened a Special Session of the General Assembly in Response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic at the level of Heads of State and Government on 3-4 December 2020 (General Assembly Decides to Hold High-level Special Session in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic, UN Press Release, 5 November 2020).
This followed a year of discussions to overcome opposition to that possibility. The session provides an opportunity for Member States, the UN system and other :relevant stakeholders” to take stock of the current global situation and response efforts, identify policy and operational gaps and forge a path for joint collective action in combating the pandemic (WHO at the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in Response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic, WHO News, 3 December 2020).
The Session is seen as a unique opportunity to define and implement joint actions at the global level to fight the pandemic in order to ensure the right to life and health for all the inhabitants of the Earth (Riccardo Petrella, Global Health: will it become the first “res publica” of the humanity? Other News, 30 November 2020).
The Special Session was immediately preceded by the 15th G20 Summit (Riyadh, November 2020) at which China proposed a coordinated security system to safeguard international travel (China’s Xi Jinping is pushing for a global Covid QR code, CNN, 23 November 2020). Related views have been echoed by the airline industry (Covid: Vaccination will be required to fly, says Qantas chief, BBC News, 24 November 2020; Travel giants back Qantas’ controversial ‘no-jab no-fly’ policy as a way to ‘open the floodgates’ to international travel in just six months, Daily Mail, 26 November 2020).
The prospect of such an initiative has aroused concerns that any such strategy would be a Trojan Horse eroding various freedoms to which people have previously been entitled. Foreseeable implication include: “no jab, no job”; “no jab, no welfare”; “no jab, no food”; “no jab, no school”; “no jab, no credit”; “no jab, no hotel” — ensured by a universal requirement for an “immunity passport”. Beyond discounted but well-documented side-effects, suspicions have also been aroused by the possibility of other undeclared effects of any such vaccines, including population culling. The UN Session may be followed around the world on UN WebTV, and thereafter through video recordings — by “relevant stakeholders” in expectation of a recommendation to “stick it to them”.
The challenge for institutions at this time is clearly framed by the demonstrably limited achievement of analogues to a global “jab-for-all” strategy:
Beyond the long-term concern with the military-industrial complex, there is now increasing concern with the medical-industrial complex and its conflict of interest in the health care industry. Debate on all such matters is an obvious feature of social media and concerns with regard to its propagation of fake news, misinformation and disinformation.
The divisive nature of public discourse, most obviously between political opponents, could now be seen as characterized by repeated attempts to “take a jab at each other“. Rather than any reference to the “chattering classes”, the associated processes might now be caricatured as a feature of the “jabbering classes” — with the military-industrial and medical-industrial complexes usefully caricatured as forming a “jabberplex”.
Debate at the highest level, such as at the United Nations, has considerable difficulty in dissociating itself from caricature as part of a “jabberplex”. For a planet that the UN Secretary-General has declared to be “broken”, there would be an ironic sting in the tale commending a “jab-for-all” proposal (“State of the planet is broken” – UN chief, AfricaNews, 2 December 2020; Guterres State of the Planet, UN Audiovisual Library, 2 December 2020). Will it exemplify the failure of the various other “for-all” strategies embodied in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and previous ‘save the world” missions
An additional dynamic has been introduced through the historical compromise by which the UN is effectively acceding to the leadership role of the World Economic Forum and the latter’s Global Reset initiative, as described by Justin O’Brien (The Moral Foundations of Stakeholder Capitalism, Law and Financial Markets Review, 14, 2020, 1). The latter notably cites the UN Secretary-General (Speech Delivered to World Economic Forum, Davos, 24 January 2019). Given the developing role of the UN’s Global Compact with business and industry, there is an emerging sense of nation states outsourcing any global “for-all” strategies to the corporate world, limiting their own role to the provision of a legislative framework to ensure the implementation previously lacking. The “jab-for-all” strategy involving the pharmaceutical industry can be seen as following the trend evident with respect to security.
In this light, it will be intriguing to note the involvement of the corporate world as “relevant stakeholders” in the debate on the pandemic at the Special Session of the UN General Assembly.
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