BusinessWorld

Globalization May Not be as Healthy. Autarky May Not be as Bad

Is globalization as crucial as they presume? Should we continue our path to increased integration? Or is it the horse that sir COVID the 19th and its affiliates ride on to spread their messages? Are we truly more robust as a globalized world? Or better off sustaining our independent development? To what extent will globalization be the key to our economic prosperity and social demise?

Globalization is the leading element that is juxtaposed as the prime of development and driver of regression

Globalization has always been a topic of discussion for an increasingly tied world since the 20th century. Developed nations emphasize that we, as Earth’s citizens, should work together to tackle issues collectively and on a larger-scale to keep all kinds of environments safe and secure, despite rising political and economic tensions between globalized states. With that regard, many summits, organizations, treaties, and agreements have been formed to make trade and ties more efficient. How efficient are these bonds, though? Most media and news channels give a superficial analysis of their impact. As much as governments strive to increase globalization through certain forums, significant inequalities lie within them. The main attribute to a country’s voting power in these band of nations is their military arsenal.

These collaborations are mostly controlled by and oriented towards the desires of the developed nations that are leading in this subject. If that is the case, can we say that they are based on diplomacy and open-mindedness? Or are they geared towards the bully and the most powerful kid in the playground? COVID has no intelligence to understand rules or guidelines that stipulate physical health and nourishing integration around the world, economically and socially. Instead, it relied on globalization that is the hidden intangible characteristic that enflamed the spread of the outbreak like fire. If countries were less integrated and more self-sufficient, the virus would have simply crashed over the Pacific Ocean, if it did come out of Wuhan’s secret lab unknowingly.

The social aftermath of increased integration

Globalization sometimes leads to social segregation between leaders. Certain ones lead the organizations; others must follow. Have you ever heard “The powerful shall bear solitary”? In sociology, when there is a certain group of people in the same area, all alike in traits except a few, they all interact while the few become stranded alone. Given that globalization and diversity try to resolve this humanly innate behaviour, should governments start thinking more about their wellbeing and relive their solidarity in the name of public health? Or continue to be a part of the “economic” book club in planning the next financial crash?

In Europe, state sovereignty is lacking. Most states witness either an obligatory control and adherence to guidelines that go against their intentions by the Union. In contrast, others endure a hefty weight that is pulling them downwards economically and socially. The integration developed for this continent is becoming more unstable and challenging to replace, provided that its objectives are impacting its original purpose. It appears that the UK saved itself from certain doom. If the EU were no more, would the states become healthier and more sustainable in the long run? Or continuous conflicts will come to light given reliance on each other is essential for survival, and the four pillars of freedom will be no more?

The inflammation caused by globalization during a pandemic

The increase in COVID cases and higher levels of globalization are positively correlated. The stronger the embeddedness of nations, the stronger the spread and impact of the outbreak. Integration refers to economic trade and the flow of channels between countries in accord. Those dairy trucks that are travelling from France to Germany on a frequent, if not daily, basis, one of those can be a carrier. Europe is the land of the free flow of goods, services, workers, and capital. If everything flows freely, COVID-19, as well, can do so. If the carrier from Wuhan travelled to Milan for the fashion exhibition in March 2020, interacting with designers and visitors from all around the world, especially Europeans, the outbreak’s multiplication can be as swift as few hours within the conference hall. As much as Italy had suffered from its significance in the plethora of industries from fashion to automotive to organic produce and reliance on international trade partners, its globalized state may have been the key to the early widespread within Europe. It all started with that one man from Wuhan who was very interested in that Gucci bikers jacket. Are we sure it is the man from Wuhan who unknowingly lifted the tiny creature across the seven seas?

Popularity index proves the strong relationship between globalization and the outbreak

Besides breaking the rules and not believing in the importance of homestay and lockdowns, Italians love to enjoy their time in social no-distancing. Spain as well, whose cases shot through the roof two months ago at unprecedented rates in comparison to other European states, have that in common with Italy. Similar to New York’s popularity on the globalized index, cases are multiplying exponentially. According to A.T Kearney’s 2019 Global Cities Report, New York tops the list, followed by several other European and American cities. The globalized nature of cities is strongly correlated to the pandemic’s reach, which led to their increased COVID spread and mortality rates, proving our hypothesis that globalization is a critical player in the outbreak.

Leaders’ part in maintaining the public‘s well-being

Of course, globalization is not the only reason for the spread of this outbreak. It only made sure the virus travelled from the East to the West. Leaders, and their guidance, also play a significant role in managing this force majeure and defending the country from the attack. Taking it easy, being lenient, and not following severe precautions for those who disregarded the lockdowns or were not in cohort with the distancing and protective wear is probably one of the significant reasons for leadership’s disability to contain the problem. However, due to globalization, certain countries sought the chance to present themselves as the blessed and robust nation, given the social presence on the political scale, to some leaders, is as important as leading a country.

Brazil’s government response to COVID-19 early on was not in the right direction, as explained by analysts. Legislations regarding the outbreak need to be enforced appropriately at all times, adapting to different periods even if most cities around the world are witnessing a downfall in the numbers and are opening their doors commercially and socially. This allows governments to follow, track, and help contain the outbreak from the beginning, given all the factors and issues at hand. Certain pacific countries followed some stringent guidelines regarding the virus, and they’re doing better than other developed nations.

The main reason why countries began reopening from the lockdown is due to a rise in undue pressure from company owners and unemployment rates, which then stresses the government. It was a clear cut decision not to allow the economy to continue sleeping. Governments need to understand that such a virus cannot merely dissipate, presented that numbers are continuing to increase. Reopening without strict instructions may be as catastrophic as a second wave that most disease centres predicted to hit back, and harder, which may lead to a more substantial regression socially and economically. Can the governments justify such a concern for public health in the name of job security and flourishing the economy?

Strengthening self-sufficiency may halt integration but control the hazard

Self-sufficiency is a significant factor that influences nations’ sustainable development over the long run. From agriculture to resource mining to strengthening the local workforce and intelligence, it is always a better option to put it as a preference over globalization with parallel amelioration. Fortifying their capital for when push comes to shove, and countries fall apart, they will be able to withstand without the reliance on international trading or the macroeconomy. Self-sufficiency is related to self-sustainability, as in empowering self solidarity, which is inversely correlated to globalization, hence negatively related to COVID-19 and socio-political pressure between leaders. Since the beginning of the pandemic, governments emphasized that they shall make sure to commission attributes that go against the outbreak’s techniques. They have probably overlooked the number one factor early on.

Other than following guidelines strictly, enforcing those lockdowns periodically, and maintain the social distancing rules, a possible solution to stopping the outbreak was to pause globalization as world nations, and all its relevant subcategories from trade and labour rotation, and become more self-sufficient, at least for a short while. Self-sufficiency promotes the local economy, opens up new jobs to the people, create new ventures, and empowers creativity, given the driver of improvement is a necessity. All while avoiding international troubles. We have to choose between two unequally but critical factors, strengthening the macroeconomy with integrating the variety of international trade and the social presence or promoting the safety of the public health and local human prosperity by empowering domestic job security and talent. Who’s to say that pausing globalization at such a time is not itself an act of increased integration and assimilation that will bring nations back more robust and powerful? Let’s adapt and act forwardly.

Hassan Al-Shama
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