COVID-19 crisis has now become an extensive global issue. It should undoubtedly be considered the most influential phenomenon and process for the formulation and structure of international relations, generating important changes. The spread of the virus and the global response to it have taken on many dimensions. It may be too early to assess its accurate and precise economic, social and political effects on the future and the process of globalisation. However, it has profoundly impacted the foundations and intellectual and epistemological structure of the people, thinkers, and global politicians. Globalisation can be considered the essential feature of the current era that has brought about profound and wide-ranging human life changes. Although globalisation’s economic aspect was initially prominent, over time, the COVID-19 crisis has taken on different dimensions that we have explored in this post.
The COVID-19 Crisis and the Belief in Globalisation
The process of globalisation is the product of reducing physical distances and inevitably ideas and intensifying global communication. Globalization ultimately transforms people’s interdependence and awareness of the world around them. Furthermore, globalization is seen as the growth of states’ economic interdependence through the volume and variety of exchanges of goods and services and the flow of capital across borders, and the broader and faster spread of technology. In view of this, globalisation can be considered a process in which states’ economic barriers become less and less. The increasing mobility of resources, technology, goods, services, and even human resources beyond the borders is more effortless. As a result, it must reduce costs and increase production and consumption in states. But this is only one side of the globalisation story that expresses the change in relationships and distances.
Importantly, this story’s unpleasantness is the practical result of reducing the quality of life and justice in enjoying globalisation’s benefits. For many years, the effects of globalisation, especially in terms of cost and service at the national and international level, have been seriously questioned. In this sense, the COVID-19 phenomenon was a tremendous global test to look at the hidden dimensions of globalisation and transform it from a mere political debate and a philosophical and epistemological issue into a phenomenon to be measured in the real world.
The depth and level of interdependence of states and the global economy in the COVID-19 outbreak brought two painful experiences and lessons for the citizens, leaders, and thinkers of the world. The first lesson was the enormous costs of this dependence and the disenfranchisement of governments in controlling the Corona crisis management factors, even within the borders. The second lesson was that despite all the moral and cosmopolitan slogans in the globalisation process: multilateral and specialized organisations, each country and the political system would only pursue its interests and fight for them without international considerations and treaties. One can even witness their rebellion and turning their backs on international organisations, such as the World Health Organisation, which were created solely to deal with such crises in a coordinated manner. This kind of confrontation of politicians and governments with the problem has practically greatly affected the public judgment, the media, and global thinkers about globalisation’s concept and process.
Will Globalisation Fall Victim to the COVID-19?
Globalisation had collapsed before the pandemic. At this point, the trend reached its peak and never returned to its original course in the face of the financial crisis in 2008. What is clear, globalisation may be declining, but it is still very likely to continue. The pandemic is undoubtedly a severe blow to the international system. The virus can somehow change the way globalisation works, but in no way can it stop this process at all.
The cessation of international aid, such as that of the EU, was a sign of introversion and self-reliance, which is practically a setback in globalisation. What was expected of globalisation was to create flexible supply chains so that there could be a viable alternative that did not, and in practice, increased speculation that the process would fail in the event of a lack of performance. The process of globalisation may change, as ports will be equipped with an advanced health testing system, and property will be transported with sanitary regulations in mind.
Overall, there are signs that globalisation is likely to take different shapes but will not go away. It has now taken a different form in the virtual world, and people are fulfilling many of their material needs in this way, like e-commerce, sales, and training. In fact, with the outbreak of Corona, globalisation has intensified in the virtual world. Besides, states still need each other’s goods and services. States need each other’s resources, and some states require cheap labour. At the same time, some states need experienced and talented labour and capital that resides outside their borders. This cooperation will continue at the international level; thus, we will not witness the end of globalisation.
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About the author:
Amin BAGHERI is an Iranian research fellow at the International Studies Association in Tehran, Iran. His primary research interest lies in international relations, political science, and conflicts in the Middle East. You can see more of his work on Twitter @bghr_amin.