The world after Covid-19 - 1
From an online event by How To Academy
In 2014, Ian Goldin, Professor of Globalisation and Development, Oxford Martin Programme on Technological and Economic Change, predicted that a global pandemic would cause the next financial crisis. He is a world-leading expert on the systemic risks created by globalisation – risks that, in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, are no longer hypothetical, but profoundly affecting every human being alive today.
In April 2020, he gave an online talk analysing the unfolding situation and predicting the likely consequences for our lives and the world. How does globalization create systemic risks, and what can we do about it? What global responses are necessary both to the current pandemic – and to prevent another such catastrophe emerging in the near future? Will the world deglobalize, and what is the lasting impact on our societies and the world order?
Here are some of the points he made:
I believe the Covid-19 pandemic is the biggest thing that's happened in the world at least since the second World War. It changes everything and it gives us a lot of challenges which are extremely difficult, which will bring great sadness to many of us as we lose loved ones, as we see people losing their jobs, and as we see people around the world suffering immensely.
But it also, I hope, provides some opportunity for a reset, for a new start for humanity. For us to learn how closely we are all interwoven together. How a problem in one part of the world is a problem for all of us. I hope it gives us time for reflection. Reflection not only in our individual lives as we reset and reprioritize, but at the global level as well. My hope is that the one thing that comes out of reflection, that even the most isolationist person or politicians must understand, is that we can only thrive as humanity if everyone's fine. We can only prosper if the world is prospering, and we can only be healthy if people everywhere are being healthy. And so this really is a call for action.
I hope that, through the suffering that we are experiencing, that the world will never have to go through this again. That young people will never see a pandemic of this nature again in their lifetimes. That we will not only learn to stop the next pandemic, which could be even more dreadful than this one, but through that experience, we can learn to stop the other great threats that we face like climate change, like immense poverty in the world, growing inequality, biodiversity loss, antibiotic resistance, cascading financial crises, and the other things that threaten us in our jobs, our livelihoods and the planet.
Whether we learn from this or not is really the key question. Whether we are able as individuals in the choices we make and whether we prioritise our governments and the global community to come together.
Out of the Second World War, through visionary leadership, we got a totally different world and it's the world we are still in today. It led to many things including the creation of the social welfare state. The view that no one in our societies should be allowed to die of hunger or starvation, and that we owed the youth that had suffered so much and died in the trenches, that we owed them a better future and a sustainable planet.
And so the question we face today is, are we able to do that? Are we able to learn from this experience?
The pandemic has arisen from what I've called in my 2014 book, 'The Butterfly Defect of Globalisation'. The interconnectedness of complex systems means that what happens elsewhere increasingly shapes our own lives. The 2008 financial crisis was also a cascading risk of contagion of interdependent systems. The crisis that started in the Midwest of the U.S. with subprime mortgages led to global economic collapse.
It's this interconnectedness, the fact that we are as humanity now interconnected in so many ways, that makes it more imperative that we manage and that we care more about what happens elsewhere.
There is no wall high enough to keep out the great threats that face us in our future, whether they're climate change, a pandemic, cyber insecurity, and certainly not the threats that face many people through poverty and deprivation, the lack of medical supplies, of vaccines. But what high walls do keep out is the ideas of how to change things, is the sharing of experiences of common humanity, the technologies, the people, the investment, the potential for tourism and exports, and the other things that we need.
So, most of all, what we need is more co-operation because these threats require that we work together. These threats require that we don't bunker down. And if we do, we will see escalating threats. When we're in a corner, we need to make sure we don't take ourselves further into an irretrievable position. That we lift our eyes beyond our national horizons to see this as a global problem. And that in that we find global solutions.
Ian Goldin's books can be found here
Part 2 of his talk is here.
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