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How will the coronavirus affect globalisation? Show more Show less

World leaders now describe Covid-19 as the 'silent enemy'. Several have called the pandemic a 'war'. For the first time in history, every nation on Earth is battling a common foe. What this will mean for globalisation remains unknown. Global connectivity is, on the face of things, being eroded, as free movement stops and people 'stay and shelter'. Yet, the world is also increasingly united, as triumph depends on cooperation.

It will force us to re-imagine the international order Show more Show less

Free movement is a necessary condition for globalisation Without it, it's game over.
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More robust international institutions

This pandemic will prove how important well-funded international bodies are in times of crisis.
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European Union United Nations coronavirus economics health international institutions politics

Context

The shape of globalisation is shifting. The crisis has highlighted weaknesses in the existing system for dealing with issues of this scale, and where change is needed. As Will Hutton writes in The Guardian, "one form of unregulated, free-market globalisation with its propensity for crises and pandemics is certainly dying. But another form that recognises interdependence and the primacy of evidence-based collective action is being born."[1]

The Argument

The world will emerge from Covid-19 with a much stronger need for international institutions. Importantly, as the virus breaks down the fabric of society, and reveals our strengths and our weaknesses, we will also come out with an understanding of how to improve them. Never before has co-operation between states been so important. States must work together in times of serious crisis. Experts suggest that the coronavirus may be the first of several global crises this century. That we are now in the midst of one has hit home. Governments need to embolden international institutions and coordinate responses so that we are prepared when the next crisis strikes. As Nick Timothy writes in the New Statesman, "As coronavirus has showed, we need better international mechanisms to promote collaboration in scientific research, information sharing about public health and the coordination of national policies. But to maintain democratic legitimacy and public support, multilateral organisations need to remain intergovernmental and not supranational."[2]

Counter arguments

This argument takes a rose-tinted view of state behaviours and motivations. Much of this will hinge on the time it takes to solve the crisis, produce a vaccine, and allow normal life to resume. It is just as likely that the virus will give rise to stronger forms of nationalism. Countries such as Hungary, are already experiencing a growth in inward-looking policies focused on the nation. As Ian Goldin writes, "Far from empowering the United Nations, the world is governed by divided nations, who prefer to go it alone, starving the institutions designed to safeguard our future of the necessary resources and authority. The WHO shareholders, not its personnel, have failed dismally to ensure it can exercise its vital mandate to protect global health."[3]

Framing

Premises

[P1] We must overcome the virus [P2] The virus requires international cooperation to be overcome [P3] International cooperation relies on international instituions

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] The virus does not require international institutions to be overcome

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/08/the-coronavirus-outbreak-shows-us-that-no-one-can-take-on-this-enemy-alone
  2. https://www.newstatesman.com/world/2020/03/great-coming-apart-and-chance-build-something-better
  3. https://theconversation.com/the-world-before-this-coronavirus-and-after-cannot-be-the-same-134905

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This page was last edited on Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 09:35 UTC