uring the ongoing coronavirus crisis, a major topic of discussion has been the future of globalization. In past years, globalization has been the subject of serious criticism, especially after Donald Trump was elected US president. Under his “America First” policy, globalization was blamed for being the major cause of social and economic problems in the US.
While Trump’s policies are controversial, there is a negative impact of globalization on certain groups. Although industrialized Western countries have benefited greatly from globalization, the benefits are monopolized by big companies. For the working class, the impact of rising unemployment and stagnating incomes has exceeded the benefits of cheaper consumer goods exported from other countries. For many developing countries, globalization has resulted in the collapse of their agricultural sectors, reshaping the lifestyle of their agricultural communities who ultimately become a new poor urban underclass.
The coronavirus pandemic, which caused severe disruption to global supply chains, has further exposed the negative impact of globalization on domestic economies. As the world seems to have arrived at a crossroads, policymakers around the globe should take a new approach to establishing a new form of globalization.
First, the existence of the negative side of globalization should not lead to discarding the spirit of global cooperation. On the contrary, global cooperation is key to reshaping globalization to the benefit of all countries. The current health crisis should have been a golden opportunity for countries to find common interests and take coordinated action to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control. The US and China, the world’s two largest economies, should put aside their differences and cooperate with each other to send a positive message to the world.
Second, rather than blaming each other, countries should focus on seeking domestic solutions to mitigate the negative impact of globalization. This includes rebalancing the gains and losses of different social groups, by confronting the expansive and predatory nature of international capital. At the global level, multilateral organizations including the UN, the World Trade Organization and the World Bank should endeavor to work together to reform international institutions with the aim of better protecting vulnerable countries and groups, and to create a more equal and just world order.
Third, instead of grand globalization, countries in different regions should seek opportunities for regional globalization. Countries could focus on building closer ties with those of closer geographic proximity and cultural similarities. In recent years, China, Japan and South Korea have been moving in that direction. The ASEAN grouping of Southeast Asian nations is another example.
In past decades, globalization has been a driving force for the development of the global economy. Instead of reversing the progress of globalization, the world should explore alternative approaches to globalization. This will require strong global cooperation, not the other way around.