The world in 2020 is plagued by humanitarian, financial, and health crises, none more deadly than the COVID-19 pandemic. As the global governments scramble to address the crisis, a new challenge is brewing in the form of globalization.
Rabat – The breathtaking speed of the cross border spread of the novel coronavirus has brought the issues of globalization into sharper focus.
Closed borders, enforced social distancing and self-isolation, travel bans, paralyzed supply chains, and export restrictions have prompted many to ask whether globalization itself might fall victim to the pandemic.
The global crisis facing us in 2020 is the worst pandemic the world has seen since the Spanish flu of 1918-1920 swept across the globe, causing an unprecedented economic recession.
Unlike the 2008 global recession, when world leaders banded together to save the global financial system from collapse, the coronavirus pandemic has not been met with a unified, globalized response.
The impact of the pandemic COVID-19 poses a fundamental question: How will the pandemic influence globalization in the future?
“The health crisis linked to the COVID-19 epidemic should lead us to define new criteria for decision-making in terms of global economic governance,” said economist Thomas Piquetti. Globalization is currently in a crisis, and consequently, the world must reform its goals and vision on the basis of social and humanitarian solidarity.
The pandemic has touched developed and developing countries alike and has seen the infrastructure in EU countries crumble in the face of COVID-19.
In an analysis for Foreign Policy magazine, Richard Fontaine said “the nature of globalization’s next phase of globalization will be the larger question against which many of the most important political debates of the coming years will play out.” The world must rethink the future of globalization because the pandemic will accelerate the transformation.
France and Germany have not only suspended cross-border travel but also banned the export of face masks. In Europe, isolationist policies, self-protective national policies have emerged amid the crisis.
Both France and Germany have refused to provide medical supplies to more vulnerable European Union countries such as Greece, while Cuba offered to help Europe in its battle against the pandemic.
Cuba’s offer came despite ongoing sanctions and economic blockade, indicating that the European Union is no longer an example of solidarity or cooperation.
The world now faces a new form of “non-solidarity” globalization between the countries of the North and the countries of the global South. Another dangerous global trend emerging amid the pandemic is the “brutal” economic globalization that characterizes the trade war between the United States and China, each party seeking to establish a new international order.
The two superpowers have, however, both proven unable to coordinate effectively on a large international scale due to the health crisis.
It is certain that the coronavirus pandemic will lead the world toward a new architecture for globalization. In the absence of effective international coordination and international health solidarity, industrially advanced countries in the field of medical biology have not been able to eliminate a microscopic virus.
Initially, both the United States and Europe attempted to confront the pandemic by committing to sanitation procedures, disrupting public life, and closing institutions and companies, apart from pharmaceutical companies that make incredible amounts of, due to economic considerations dictated by the “wild neoliberalism” that rules the world.
The US and Europe, in the face of a growing death toll, have taken exceptional measures, similar to China. From the closure of the internal and external borders, travel bans, the use of the army to the implementation of isolation measures, governments are risking the tenets of their democracies.
The enforcing of social distancing and self-isolation continues across the globe, even if it may cause the deterioration of democracy and human rights, the tendency to tyranny of power, the collapse of markets and the world economic system, and the abandonment of some principles of liberal thought that underpin the system of economic globalization.
The global health crisis has proven the absence of international solidarity as states have closed their doors to the outside world, or as the sociologist Edgar Morin called it “selfish closure.”
Each country faces a national challenge that once again raises the relationship of sovereignty to globalization. Countries have given up part of their sovereignty in favor of globalization without translating this abandonment into economic and social solidarity.
Meanwhile, the world expresses fear and concern over the extensive spread of the epidemic in third world countries, especially in Africa. The pandemic could be a game-changer for poorer countries with limited resources and people in conflict zones.
In an analysis for Bloomberg, Robert Kaplan said: “The second phase of globalization is different. Globalization 2.0 is about separating the globe into great-power blocs with their own burgeoning militaries and separate supply chains, about the rise of autocracies, and about social and class divides that have engendered nativism and populism, coupled with middle-class angst in Western democracies. For some, it is a story about new and re-emerging global divisions, more friendly to pessimists.”
The coronavirus pandemic will mark global economic and politics, as well as potential geopolitical unrest, for decades to come.
Therefore, we hope that the world will have an opportunity to set a new model for globalization and establish an alternative international system that pushes the global economy towards solidarity and a form of equitable globalization for the welfare of mankind.
Such a reform could also force a move away from corrupt neoliberalism, and urge world leaders to adopt sustainable development rules in facing potential environmental and epidemiological threats.
The pandemic will certainly highlight the risks inherent in overdependence on global supply chains, prompt a renationalization of production, and put a new emphasis on the notion of international interdependence.
The likely result is an acceleration of changes that have long been in motion toward a new, different, and more limited form of globalization.
In fact, the challenge in the future is to take the international order in the right direction by regulating and attenuating the burdens of globalization.
It will, however, require stronger international cooperation. The threat of the pandemic has created a global crisis, it is crucial that the world create mechanisms to respond to the disease through effective international solidarity and a unified society.