Deglobalization, noun: A fictional process of diminishing interdependence and integration of nation-states, driven by the fantastical delusion that it will create greater safety, wealth, and power among a sub-set of earthlings.
(This term in NOT in the Webster Dictionary, BTW).
There is an equal probability of teleportation as there is for deglobalization, try as world leaders might. It’s a sad reality that efforts to diminish our interdependence is driven by perceived power, greed and distrust, and not based in reality. If there has ever been a moment in history that shows this to be true, it is right now as the novel coronavirus races around the world with total indiscrimination.
And the policies and actions that result from the folly of deglobalization have absolutely crippled the human response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and damaged economies around the world.
It’s becoming clear that a big part of why testing kits were not available was because our administration insisted they be “made in the USA”, and therefore refused to import kits from China, who has the ability to produce kits 1.5 million kits per week, when they were desperately needed to help slow the spread of the virus. But that ship has now sailed.
And how about those OPEC+ partners? A grab for market share and a mean-spirited game of chicken to see who caves first from the economic pain of low oil prices. Sadly, the likely outcome of this action will hurt, or perhaps end our energy independence (and they know it?).
Then, there’s all of us Americans, hoarding cleaning agents, hand sanitizer and – toilet paper! C’mon now. There isn’t a soul on this small planet that doesn’t need a roll now and then. Again, mean-spirited!
Right now, as I write this, we are waiting to hear what fiscal policies will be – and rumors abound. If deglobalization is a myth for the human race, so too is the idea that a non-coordinated, targeted and border-limited response will be all that is needed to alleviate the health and economic impacts of a global pandemic.
I’m hopeful a large part of the response will be toward building capacity in our health care systems by using both domestic and foreign means, mitigating health care costs for everyone afflicted with COVID-19 and not just those who are insured, and supporting those who live pay-check to pay-check so they can stay home and recover.
If the actions are not designed to impact economies and people on a world-wide basis, they not be best actions to take. I fear that what may come out of these policies are more efforts to limit global cooperation and try to encourage economically unsustainable lines of business and production into the U.S., and thus creating jobs that are also not sustainable.
The best way to handle an impending global recession (and one is coming, I’m afraid) is with a global response. That means encouraging trade and cooperation world-wide. Lifting tariffs, ending trade wars and opening up commerce will help spur growth around the world, lifting all boats.
And the best way to handle a global pandemic is with empathy and compassion for our fellow humans. We are all sloshing around on this cruise ship named Earth, and there is only so much physical distancing that can be achieved. So, we need to help each other in any way we can, importing/exporting testing and processing kits, and equipment and supplies to the places where the human race needs it most, no matter the man-made border lines that are crossed.
And for heaven’s sake, spare a square for your neighbors!
Renee N. Duba (312) 401-0033