Think Tank (2/2021)
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Is Globalisation Dead? The Pandemic and De-globalisation
07 Apr 2021

Signs of deglobalisation were already evident after the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 and the COVID-19 pandemic has simply amplified this trend; international trade and tourism have been greatly reduced and global supply chains disrupted as a result of lockdowns to tackle the pandemic.

This was one of the key observations made by Dr Pradumna B. Rana, Visiting Associate Professor, RSIS Centre for Multilateralism Studies, at a webinar on 7 April 2021 titled “The Pandemic and De-globalisation: Is Globalisation Dead?”. The webinar was jointly organised by RSIS, Indonesia’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) from Japan.

Dr Rana pointed out that globalisation has many components — cross-border flows of trade, investment, finance, people (including migrant workers and tourists), data, and digital technology — and one way to assess how integrated the global economy has become is to focus on the ratio of global trade openness, defined as the sum of world exports and imports divided by world GDP.

One of the discussants, Mr Dandy Rafitrandi, a researcher at CSIS, raised pointed questions about the future of trade and globalisation after the pandemic and the scenarios that might unfold as global trade begins to recover. Dr Rana suggested that the current wave of deglobalisation will probably be milder and less disruptive than the first wave of deglobalisation, which lasted from 1913 to 1945. He went on to note that while globalisation is not dead, it is in partial retreat and the length of the retreat will depend on factors such as how even the distribution of vaccines is across the globe.

Another discussant, Dr Ayako Obashi, Associate Professor of International Economics, Aoyama Gakuin University, noted that the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation. She foresaw the use of technology becoming a key factor for further multilateral trade liberalisation and globalisation.

Catch it here on the RSISVideoCast YouTube channel:

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