World economy is also going through DABDA!

World economy is also going through DABDA!

DABDA, the five stages of coping with dying, were first described by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her classic book, On Death and Dying, in 1969. They describe the stages people go through when they learn that they (or a loved one) are dying. DABDA stages stands for: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance

Pulak has written about how COVID-19 has made all of us go through these stages. But, interestingly, the economies worldwide have gone through the exact same journey. Some have skipped a stage or spent more time in a certain stage. But gradually all economies are getting to the stage of Acceptance.


Many world leaders denied the possibility of Coronavirus being a big deal. Trump’s consistent belief was that US is ready despite the lack of testing kits and infrastructure setup. In fact when CDC officials announced that they were preparing for a pandemic, there were reports of Trump threatening to fire Nancy Messonier, the director of National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Brazil’s president Bolsonaro still thinks COVID-19 is just another flu. And his continued denial has left Brazil heavily impacted. Losing two health ministers in less than a month at a time of crisis will have serious implications on the country’s ability to fight the pandemic.

Mexican president believed social distancing could not go well with Mexicans. “We have to hug” – Despite the alarming number of cases globally, President acted casual and dismissed the possibility of any preventive measures.


As one starts accepting the reality, the question of “Why me” often brings anger and frustration that is directed at the world, at random.

The huge outbreak of Anti-Asian bullying and harassment post COVID-19 around the world was a demonstration of this anger. And this spread on online forums too. Most of the month of April was about directing anger towards Asian and Chinese people in US and EU.

In India, the age-old Hindu Muslim divide sparked again. Hindu groups accused a Muslim evangelical event of turning New Delhi into a hotbed of coronavirus infection. Casually calling them “illiterate” and “Carriers” of the infection led to a lot of hatred among the masses.

Interestingly, most of this anger and hatred surfaced in April, right when Coronavirus became a reality in almost all countries by March end.


Bargaining is the stage where one clings to an irrational hope even when the facts say otherwise. It may manifest with an inner dialogue or prayer unseen by others. The implied return favor is that they would not ask for anything more if only their wish was granted. People who enter this stage quickly learn that bargaining doesn’t work and inevitably move on, usually to the depression stage.

And that’s what we are seeing with the world too. All the countries across the globe are suffering from the pandemic alike, not leaving much room to bargain. Germany and Pakistan are setting examples of boosting their economy by investing in environment friendly activities. But, that hardly qualifies as bargaining.


With majority of the countries under lockdown or shelter in place through the first half of summer, world economy slumped. Global supply chains and exports and imports has been disrupted. Stock markets are crashing and millions of people are losing their jobs. Developing countries’ currencies are also weakening.

Experts predict that COVID-19 is going to leave the entire world in depression, unlike Great Depression that only affected US and Europe majorly. World economy will shrink. Major chunks of human population will get wiped off. Surveys suggest that by now everyone would either know of someone who was affected/died due to the virus or someone who lost their jobs/took a big paycut.

The depression has kicked in and is probably going to stay for a while. But, they are gradually moving towards acceptance.


As the world economies open up again, acceptance has kicked in. Until we find a vaccine, there is no way to stop the virus completely. But, there are multiple ways to reduce the mortality rate and curb the spread of the virus.

In Delhi, shops will now open up on alternate days. There will be an upper cap on the number of people riding a bus. Uber/Ola will not operate the shared cab option anymore. Restaurants will be open only for take away and home delivery. More globally, tech companies like Twitter, Facebook, PayPal have extended the timeline for Work from Home. Select international flights have started flying again. Fiscal stimulus from the state (ranging from 5-20% of GDP) is focusing on saving small businesses to maintain employment and financial stability. And so much more…

Most global economies have now moved into the stage of acceptance and trying to find their way around it. And this journey from depression to acceptance to recovery will be unique to each country.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Anika

    Very well written!

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