The long wave of Covid and the new threat

CREMONA – Great thing, globalization! In a few years it has shrunk the world and has guaranteed us benefits and services that were once unthinkable. For example, the possibility of eating your favorite fruit all year round, even out of season. How? Just get it to the other side of the world: Peru, China, Australia … If you think about it, you wonder what that fruit was like when they picked it. But meanwhile, you’re eating it. It applies to food, as well as to the latest hi-tech product made in Silicon Valley: you can buy it online and an Amazon delivery boy will take you home. Without getting up from the sofa, alternatively, you can see the latest film made in Hollywood, perhaps in the original language: just have a smart TV and subscribe to Netflix (or any other platform) and that’s it. Thanks to new technologies, distances have been eliminated and thousands of opportunities have become within everyone’s reach. At least of all those who can afford them, because comforts – as we know – have a price. And it can happen that for someone they are an unsustainable luxury.

The real problem is that progress always has a downside, in the case of globalization, in particular, two annoying side effects

The real problem, however, is another. The real problem is that progress always has a downside, in the case of globalization, in particular, two annoying side effects: on the one hand, the collapse of the value of the products at the origin (the real gain now does not come to those who create a product, but to those who distribute it), on the other hand the exploitation of the workforce (the stronger the client, perhaps thanks to a monopoly position, the less bargaining power the one who sells a product or service has). It is not enough.

The “global market” also brings with it other negative consequences. The first criticality is the fragility of the transport system, plastically jumped to everyone’s eyes a couple of months ago: it was enough for a cargo ship to run aground in the Suez Canal to send half the world into a tailspin, with delays in deliveries, shortage of supplies. , soaring prices. Because everything is linked, connected, interconnected. The problem in the problem is that the light turned on by that single accident risks turning into a structural emergency in the short term: all the fault of the pandemic and the lockdown which for over a year have slowed down the production and traffic of goods worldwide. For many months, consumption literally stopped: the strongest companies resisted (not so the least equipped, forced to raise the white flag), the distribution network suffered, retail traders had a “zero collection” turnover. The true consequences of the pandemic, however, are yet to come. Both in terms of employment (with thousands of jobs lost forever) and strictly economic. The most deafening alarm concerns the availability – and consequently – the cost of raw materials: copper, steel, corn, coffee, wheat, soy, wood, semiconductors, plastics, rubber, cardboard for packaging and a thousand other semi-finished products have become unobtainable. . O dear ones. Even the price of iron scrap has skyrocketed, also because – as always happens in these cases – in the game of supply and demand, the race to grab the few available stocks has played the game of speculators and further fueled the soaring costs. A ripple effect that will fall on the entire supply chain. The Province had already written about it in April, receiving the alarm cry of the Cremonese economic categories: industrialists, farmers, artisans, traders. «Transport costs, delivery times, availability: supplies and margins are increasingly at risk, companies will soon be in great difficulty», we had titled. Unfortunately, two months later the forecast came true. And the progressive reopening of many activities, paradoxically, risks exacerbating the problem, rather than solving it, because the newfound demand for goods requires an immediate increase in production and those who produce must order components and raw materials in large quantities. But this is a challenge full of unknowns, after – according to Bloomberg’s calculations – copper has appreciated by 47% compared to pre-Covid levels; wheat by 12%; soy of 15; 20 wood per pallet; aluminum by 26, nickel and zinc even by 51 percent. It is easy to imagine who will pay the bill for everyone: the final consumer. That is, each of us. Without any real advantage for the producers. This too is globalization. If that were not enough, another virus looks threatening on the horizon, indeed it is already among us: it is the malware that infects and renders servers, PCs, tablets and smartphones of companies, public and private offices, and anyone who uses an online device unusable. How real the risk is, not just theoretical, is demonstrated by the latest report by Trend Micro Research, an agency specializing in cybersecurity. According to the study, with 5 million reports (five million!) In April alone, Italy is the third country in the world most affected by malware, the computer viruses used by hackers to steal money or personal information with a weapon. of blackmail: either you pay me or you will no longer be able to access your devices, your emails, your archives.

The world ranking of cyber scams sees the United States in first place, followed by Japan and – after Italy – India and Australia. This too, therefore, is a planetary emergency

The world ranking of cyber scams sees the United States in first place, followed by Japan and – after Italy – India and Australia. This too, therefore, is a planetary emergency. In Italy, the family of malware most detected at the company level last month was that of the so-called Downad, viruses that can infect the entire network of a company by exploiting obsolete and outdated operating systems. Private individuals, on the other hand, have been most affected by Coinminers, viruses that hide within a system to exploit its computing capabilities and produce cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin without the knowledge of users. It happens in the world, it happens in Italy, it also happens in Cremona: victims of some companies and some professional firms (accountants and financial consultants in the first place). During the week the hackers attacked us too, but fortunately our technicians were able to repel the attack, guaranteeing the functionality of our website and the regular publication of the newspaper. Good thing globalization and new technologies, eh! But how many contraindications. And how many more problems to face in order to enjoy an out of season fruit or watch the latest movie on your home TV …

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