Planning for the world after the coronavirus pandemic

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David Steven, Alex Evans, World Politics Review

In just a few months, the tightly connected systems of a globalized world have transformed the novel coronavirus from a handful of cases in China to a global pandemic. But we have yet to see an international response that matches the scale of the threat.

The contrast with the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent economic crash is stark. Then, governments vastly upgraded the G-20 from a somewhat obscure forum of finance ministers to a new global decision-making bloc in order to steer the world to safety. Don’t hold your breath for a similar response to COVID-19. The outbreak has hit at a time when the international order’s immune system is badly compromised.

A decade ago, in a Brookings report titled “The Long Crisis of Globalization” that we co-authored with Bruce Jones, we warned that global vulnerability to shocks was exacerbated by “our own tendency to weaken the systems on which we rely through folly, ignorance or neglect.” The past decade has seen as significant of an erosion in our capacity for collective action. The Trump administration is actively hostile to global systems, while the European Union turned inward during the eurozone crisis and still lacks vision and unity. The United Kingdom has been fixated on Brexit for the past four years.
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