Will the post-COVID-19 world be less global?
The 2008 financial crisis, concerns over inequality and the rise in populism are among the factors that have driven the anti-globalization and anti-immigration movement in recent years. Some fear the coronavirus pandemic will accelerate that mindset shift.
“The reaction of developed economies to the coronavirus will only strengthen this consensus, as all things international will be viewed as incurring unnecessary and dangerous risks,” wrote Geoffrey Garrett, dean of Wharton School, on Knowledge@Wharton.
“We are being told this de-globalization will make us all more resilient,” he added. “But it will also make us less prosperous — with less choice and higher prices. It may also make us less secure, as international cooperation will decrease and the potential for international conflict will increase.”
In an article, “Has COVID-19 killed globalisation?,” The Economist wrote, “The pandemic will politicize travel and migration and entrench a bias towards self-reliance. This inward-looking lurch will enfeeble the recovery, leave the economy vulnerable and spread geopolitical instability.”
Trade growth had already slowed significantly in 2019, due in large part to the U.S.-China trade dispute. According to the World Trade Organization, world merchandise trade is set to tumble between 13 and 32 percent this year, depending on how quickly the coronavirus is contained.
“These numbers are ugly — there is no getting around that. But a rapid, vigorous rebound is possible,” WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said in a press release. He emphasized the benefits of free trade and international cooperation in a recovery. “Keeping markets open and predictable, as well as fostering a more generally favorable business environment, will be critical to spur the renewed investment we will need. And if countries work together, we will see a much faster recovery than if each country acts alone.”
In a column for Harvard Business Review, Steven Altman, senior research scholar at the NYU Stern School of Business, wrote that he believes globalization and shifts away from globalization will offer opportunities and challenges for businesses. He wrote, “A volatile world of partially connected national economies expands possibilities for global strategy even as it complicates the management of multinational firms.”
- The Post-COVID-19 World Will Be Less Global and Less Urban – Knowledge@Wharton
- Has covid-19 killed globalisation? – The Economist
- The Coronavirus Is Killing Globalization as We Know It – Foreign Policy
- Trade set to plunge as COVID-19 pandemic upends global economy – World Trade Organization
- Will Covid-19 Have a Lasting Impact on Globalization? – Harvard Business Review
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think the coronavirus pandemic will make the world less global beyond just the near-term? If yes, will it be a negative or positive development for businesses in the retailing and consumer brand industries?