How Coronavirus Is The Ultimate Litmus Test For Globalisation

Image Credits: CNN

According to Yuval Noah Harrari, humans formed communities to fight greater fears which they had so that they could survive longer. We formed tribes so that we could hunt more efficiently and protect ourselves from other animals. We created nations so that we could optimise the use of resources and protect ourselves from larger dangers like wars, which small tribes could not accomplish. To a large extent, national identities were also created to fight colonisation which a single person/ community could not do in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

The global world to a large extent was created to combat issues like terrorism, recession and to save ourselves from a threat of worldwide nuclear war. All these issues have led to a deep understanding about developing intercultural empathy and respecting diversity. Coronavirus is another such issue which has fostered the spirit of globalisation because the pandemic is worldwide and the issues can only be solved if every nation takes steps and collaborates for solutions. A single country alone cannot erase this pandemic from the world or curb it, hence worldwide collaboration is of apex important. 

The creation of global identity is greater than ever at this point even though travel and flights have shut. People sitting in India are reading about the situation in Italy and China almost on a daily basis. More people understand that as soon as the world opens up again, the situation in Italy, China or anywhere else in the world will affect all of us no matter where we are. Coronavirus outbreak has made us realise that if anything, we are more interconnected than ever. We realise that no matter how we isolate ourselves and take steps, it is essential for not just other people in the community to do the same, but it is essential for people to do so worldwide.

When the solution to dealing with the coronavirus is found, we can draw deep insights about the nature of globalisation today. A lot can be said about how the information regarding the solution is priced worldwide by the country that found it, the disparity in the symmetry of information among global leaders itself, and the nature of confidentiality about the solution. However, considering how interconnected trade is worldwide, stock markets and related, even value chains, we can say that there will not be a substantial difference in pricing at least for countries which are more interconnected to others, or globalised. It’s also possible that countries which are not very globalised may have an incentive in the future. However, this is just speculation and time will be the true test for the success of the global identity.

Even when a solution is found, the policies to get the vaccine or cure to the virus will differ from country to country. As we see in the book, Poor Economics, the same policy can have different impacts in different countries. This is mostly because of the difference in mindset. Example: When free nets were distributed to protect the poor from Malaria in Africa, people did not use them because they did not respect the free nets enough. However, when the nets were subsidised by the governments and the poor had to pay nominal charges, many more people used it in their household. The policies which will be used to implement the virus will be deeply national in nature and will be fueled by nation-specific/ state-specific/ community-specific policy, especially in diverse countries like India. 

We see two interesting things here, the role of globalisation to find a cure, and the role of nation/ state/ local to implement the cure effectively. Hence, the world and the nations will work in tandem and neither will be effective without the other. As the time comes, we will surely be able to judge the effectiveness and the real nature of the global identity with regards to information regarding the cure to the virus. If the information is shared democratically and with a benefit to the global world at large, we would be able to say that the global identity has been successfully created. However, if not, it would be a long-lasting example used by right-wing political thinkers who are against rapid globalisation. Only time will tell us on whose side a historic example will stand.


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