The End of Globalization as We Know It by Robin Niblett
The coronavirus pandemic could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back of economic globalization.
China’s growing economic and military power had already provoked a bipartisan determination in the United States to decouple China from U.S.-sourced high technology and intellectual property and try to force allies to follow suit. Increasing
public and political pressure to meet carbon emissions reduction targets had already called into question many companies’ reliance on long-distance supply chains. Now, COVID-19 is forcing governments, companies, and societies to strengthen their capacity to cope with extended periods of economic self-isolation.
It seems highly unlikely in this context that the world will return to the idea of mutually beneficial globalization that defined the early 21st century. And without the incentive to protect the shared gains from global economic integration, the architecture of global economic governance established in the 20th century will quickly atrophy. It will then take enormous self-discipline for political leaders to sustain international cooperation and not retreat into overt geopolitical competition.
Proving to their citizens that they can manage the COVID-19 crisis will buy leaders some political capital. But those who fail will find it hard to resist the temptation to blame others for their failure.