1. The outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to divided opinions on the impact of globalisation. What are your views on the issue? Is the pandemic a deadly blow to globalisation? Critically comment.
COVID-19 महामारी के प्रकोप और प्रसार ने भूमंडलीकरण के प्रभाव पर विभाजित राय उत्पन्न किया है। इस मुद्दे पर आपके क्या विचार हैं? क्या महामारी वैश्वीकरण के लिए एक घातक झटका है? समालोचनात्मक टिप्पणी करें।
Demand of the question:
It expects students to write about the divided opinions upon impact of globalisation along with analysis about whether pandemic of COVID-19 is deadly blow to globalisation.
Globalization is generally recognized as the fading or complete disappearance of economic, social and cultural borders between nation- states. It is sharing of ideas, technologies, skills, goods and services, finance with other countries which defines the beneficial part of globalization. Many scholars argued that ignorance to the risks associated with globalization led to rapid spread of financial crisis, cyber threats and pandemics like COVID-19 and many counter opinions also expressed.
Spread of COVID-19 and reversal of globalization:
- Process of reversal of globalization was set in motion far earlier even before the spread of corona virus and resultant pandemic of COVID-19. Corona virus worldwide spread has provided a potent weapon to use against globalization.
- The USA was already involved in a Trade war with China due to huge trade deficits with china. The Idea of increased dependence on China for goods and services and a deteriorating global health scenario has gained traction as it has been a source of many infectious diseases even before.
- There will be a focus on starting the internal economy based on consumption as the main priority of every nation in the post COVID-19 world.
- Priority of every government would be to create jobs for its own people. In a high unemployment scenario, hiring expats won’t be in favour.
- Health emergency of easily contracting infectious diseases has demonized globalization. People started viewing globalization as more centered on economic objectives and profit oriented approach of capitalism rather than positive impact on lives of people in recent times.
- Vocal for Local strategy: The disruption in supply chains due to the covid-19 outbreak and the lockdown in China have had an adverse effect on several world economies. More countries are now looking at boosting domestic production capabilities to be able to absorb supply chain shocks including India.
- It is very much in line with the global phenomenon of ‘protectionism’ adopted by various countries. India’s move can be compared with ‘America first’ rhetoric of United States.
- It is not clear whether this strategy will try to bring import substitution and high duty regime back. But priority to domestic goods procurement can be seen clearly in various government decisions recently.
- There is a possibility of raising import duties on a wide range of final goods and services. Some of these changes could focus on specific countries to address India’s trade deficit with them. Globally, such tariffs may rise due to geopolitical considerations as the world decides to move towards globalization 2.0, which relies a lot on trade between rules-based economies. Some tariffs may also be moderately hiked to correct for an inverted duty structure and incentivize final production of goods and services in India.
- India’s ability to recover from the effects of covid-19 and its economic fallout depends on the ability to protect industries.
- This is why it’s important to promote Indian industries while making them competitive through reforms and government interventions. The move to avoid global tenders up to Rs. 200 crore is geared to incentivize companies—Indian and multinational—to set up base in India. The aim is to encourage them to invest in the country.
However, Corona virus is a global crisis, not a crisis of Globalization. Globalization makes the world safer, not more dangerous, as nations are ever more closely bound together and thus have a mutual self-interest in keeping the system afloat.
- Restriction on trans-boundary movement of people and goods can help in flatten the curve of increasing transmission of corona virus in current situations but in the long-run there will be a requirement of a more sustainable plan to handle pandemic.
- Restriction on trade of goods will avert the spreading of disease but it will adversely affect industrialization and the global supply chain market of goods.
- ‘Slowbalisation’ with reduced international trade will bring Global economic slowdown which can worsen the situation of the global economy. It can also impact unemployment level. Western economies too now became dependent on globalization. Restriction of mobility of goods and people will not be a sustainable plan.
- Nature of globalization has changed already; services trade can hardly be restricted. Share of services trade in terms of value added is more than 50% of total trade of the USA as per World Bank report.
- It will be not easy to build alternative domestic supply chains. Import substitution will lead to a situation of less competition, absence of choice and inefficient production of goods and services which will not be a successful political choice for governments.
- Even with the policies of protectionism, it will be not possible to restrict movement of highly skilled individuals.
- Globalization is not the formal intergovernmental agreement between two powerful nations or groups of nations. It is thousands of years of interactions between civilizations. It will be impossible to reverse the process in the more interconnected world of 21st century.
Increasing collaborative effort of multiple disciplines towards health of human beings, animals and environment at global, national and local level initiatives such as ‘One health concept’ must be encouraged to fight the challenge of Pandemic and its after-effects.
Globalization has not only led to movement of people or goods. It’s about moving ideas, knowledge, information, values which can help us to fight such pandemic situations. It is helping to share best practices, telemedicine, vaccine development and rapid recovery as well.