Yes, we live in a globalized world.
In most probability, every fact and phenomenon has two sides. When we embraced and bowed before globalization, we were ecstatic that jobs, travels, money, materials, and technology could move freely and globally. By the 90s, the entire world almost had become an equivocal slave of the phenomenon and one must admit that the idea of making billions by selling services and products worldwide was the most alluring feature of the process. And we, the consumers, were overjoyed that the comforts and products from all over the world could be at our doorstep while our families too could relocate to the greenest of the pastures.
Aha! And yet it is now that we seem to be truly globalized. Even the impact of the two ‘world’ wars was not truly ‘worldly’ or ‘global’ as this virus has globalised the threats, experiences and consequences. Be the nation an exploiter or the exploited; be the person a prince or PM or a servant; be the region cold or warm or on the left or the right of the Pacific; be the health system advanced or crumbling; and be the polity liberal or socialist—we are all in it and together.
And over the years, although terror, weapons, recessionary trends and other threats to our sanity also moved freely and globally, transcending borders as they did, we did not sit up and take serious notice. However, this virus has now succeeded in shaking us beyond measure. Suddenly, the free movement of one neighbor to another’s house has also been abruptly halted. Today, when our hardships are global and the likely recessionary trends too are likely to be, guess the wheel shall move!
There shall certainly be a turning inwards, with the focus being on our ability to govern our internal affairs and our ability to make things at home. Even political leaders, better concentrate on what can they deliver and how can they govern at home, rather than what can they fetch for us from abroad by striking wonderful trade deals! As it is, the reliance on long supply chains is proving questionable.
Of course, just because this virus has spread from Wuhan to Lombardy and on to New York now and has killed thousands worldwide, the world shall not stop trading or travelling. The money, materials and machines shall flow once the lockdowns are lifted. There is no reversal. Trade barriers and ideological walls cannot be raised again. However, the world is likely to be less open and therefore either less prosperous or gradually more self-reliant in the times ahead.
A lot of learning has ensued ever since this virus has struck us immobile! One lesson is: Every coin has two sides. Yes, and globalization too had two sides. And the coin has flipped and here we are, staring at the other side.
Author: Navniit Gandhi
Dr. Navniit Gandhi is an academician, freelance feature writer and an author. One of the books authored by her is titled: National Security: Emerging Dimensions and Threats.