The coronavirus pandemic has led many to predict the end of globalization. Confronted with unprecedented social and economic challenges, countries are prioritizing their own citizens. Now, more than ever, international cooperation is necessary but, amidst the rise of nationalist-populist governments, global partnerships are absent or faltering. And as economies grind to a halt, so does international commerce — particularly in trade-dependent Asia, a region whose rise drove the period of ‘hyper-globalization’ which preceded the global financial crisis.
Yet there are other possible futures too. The level of scientific collaboration and information-sharing now underway in search of a vaccine is unprecedented, and after a hesitant beginning the major powers have woken up to the importance of concerted economic stimuli. The virus may in some ways have the paradoxical result of bringing countries together, not driving them apart. Rather than causing its demise, it could help begin a new period in which globalization is not as deep, but at least is better managed and more equitable? Could this be the catalyst for a new coming together at home and abroad?
James Crabtree, Associate Fellow, Asia-Pacific Programme
Will Hutton, Political Economist; Principal, Hertford College Oxford
Chair: Champa Patel, Director, Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House