Globalization towards an end after pandemic?

Jun 18, 2021
"Covid-19 is like the last nail in the coffin of globalization” - Prof. Carmen Reinhart

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has created great havoc across the globe for the past year and beyond since its inception in the Wuhan City of China around December 2019. Following one of the news pieces from BBC, according to the Johns Hopkins University, the number of people who have died worldwide in the pandemic has surpassed three million.[1] Despite the fact that the world has witnessed a ray of hope in the form of Covid vaccines but the outbreak of this pandemic shows no signs of abating and has led to worldwide disruption in all facets of life especially in countries like that in the US and India. The pandemic has placed an unprecedented burden on the world economy, healthcare, and globalization. On that note, Prof. Carmen Reinhart, a professor of International Finance at the Harvard Kennedy School, stated, “Covid-19 is like the last nail in the coffin of globalization”. Undoubtedly, many argue that the root of the widespread of this deadly virus is due to globalization itself where trade and travel have been recognized as significant elements of the cause, terming globalization as an essential mechanism of disease transmission. Nevertheless, before starting any comment on whether in the post-pandemic world, Globalisation would be a reality or a myth, it is primarily essential to understand what actually connotes Globalization.

In the current International scenario, defining globalization in one unique set of definitions is difficult; however, it can be defined as a multidimensional concept linked with the process of transformation touching upon every aspect of social, political, and economic development around the globe. Defining it from the perspective of the social front, Globalization signifies the homogenization of culture and values transforming the world into a socially global village. In terms of politics, Globalization refers to the sharing of political values and complex networks of global governance. Economically, it is recognized in the form of liberalization and privatization leading towards a free-market regime.

How is the Pandemic affecting Globalization?

The outbreak of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic has posed a significant threat to Globalization since the governments across the world in order to reduce their country’s vulnerability against the virus are limiting their global trade, free flow of its people, international tourists, and travels. There are urgent calls by the governments across the world for nationalization of manufacturing goods particularly essential goods such as the Personal Protective Equipment Kits (PPE), pharmaceutical production and other essential healthcare instruments and nutritious food productions in order to meet the import loss that occurred due to suspension of trade in international borders. For instance, in India, amendments introduced to the export policy of Personal Protective Equipment/Masks-reg have resulted in an export restriction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many countries across the globe have imposed such prohibitions in exports as per the World Trade Organisation Export Reports. Such export prohibition on medicinal products is also imposed in Greece, which is still in effect.[2] Recently, India has also witnessed the ban by the United States on exporting vaccine raw materials to India, Dubai has also canceled all its flight operations to and from India in light of the 2nd wave of Covid-19 in India. The tourism industry with airlines cutting flights and canceling domestic and international flights, which also plays a vital role in the growth of an economy across the globe, has come to a standstill thereby also affecting the cultural connotation of the Globalization we know about. Less migration and business travel combined with incentives to invest at home have to hamper transnational capital flow across the world. The sharing of work culture, ideas, and beliefs which was witnessed before were employees in tech and other big companies abroad used to have employees from across the world has reduced with all the employees coming back to their native countries due to the imposition of lockdown. For instance, Home to Microsoft, Amazon, and Boeing, Seattle is home to 40% of the foreign-born tech employees from India, as per a report by The Seattle Times. [3]

Evolution of Globalization during the pandemic

Globalization in its current position is flourishing in a developmental pattern. While the whole world is witnessing the deadly pandemic, globalization continues to play a key role in combating the virus itself around the world. The Covid crisis has also shown how neither science nor technology can succeed without globalization. This was illustrated by the effort Trump made last year to help the US to buy a German company developing a coronavirus vaccine. The attempt, which failed, was a marker of the tensions that arise when science, which so often relies on international cooperation, collides with national ambitions and worries. [4] The best medical experts and public health workers continued discussing and deliberating with one another across international boundaries to find a suitable vaccine to curb the spread of Covid-19.

New opportunities have evolved in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, as this pandemic has shown us that global connectedness is in fact not the problem, but the solution. The benefit of being connected worldwide is visible, as the world has witnessed huge growth in cross-border e-commerce. Many companies with a global reach have found themselves in a much better position during this crisis than those with a purely national or regional focus.[5] If we try to understand how the pandemic has touched the three dimensions of globalization, we find that –

  • Social Globalization – Social Globalisation refers to the sharing of ideas, beliefs, and information across the world. In today’s scenario where the world has witnessed the global pandemic, we find that Globalization has evolved drastically through the medium of the Internet and Social Media platforms. Population across the world has come together to share their common interests and beliefs with one another as the whole world sits back at home continuing both their social and work life virtually. During the pandemic, it did not only help people connect together but also helped raised activism seeking justice towards bullying and torture. The Internet activism that flourished due to the brutal murder of George Floyd on 25 May last year in the United States is a prime example, which witnessed activism across the globe on Twitter and other social media platforms raising voices against police brutality.
  • Political Globalization– In simple terms, it refers to the integration of national politics with the rest of the world created by globalization. United Nations is considered a classic example of Political Globalization. In addition to that, how the world has joined in a fight against global terrorism is also a primary example. Currently, the notion of globalization has helped countries to come forward and help each other during a global health crisis. Recently, India with its invention of the Covid-19 vaccine has supplied vaccines to many abroad countries thereby maintaining a healthy international relation with those countries. With Egypt and France, supplying Oxygen tanks to India is another key example of recent times. Political globalization has several dimensions and interpretations. It can be seen in changes such as the democratization of the world, creation of the global civil society, moving beyond the purview of the national and international relations, and discussing the political loopholes across the world, for instance, many expressed their political views and opinions on the insurrection occurred at United States Capitol on Jan 6 early this year.
  • Economic Globalization– It refers to the increasing interdependence of world economies because of growing cross-border trade and commerce and technology. The world economies have witnessed a downfall during the pandemic however, in light of the lifting of bans on exports and imports have led once again revive the economies helping each other during such a crisis. E-commerce is said to have witnessed a hike. Global platforms such as Zoom, Webex, and many other virtual meet platforms have earned profit during this global health crisis thereby also returning efficient service across the Globe.

Reality or a Myth?

Therefore, in light of the discussion above, it is evident that Globalization won’t witness an end nor will it result as a Myth in the post-pandemic future, since the world has observed how connecting with different countries across the world has helped people connect together to address not only health issues but overall global issues as well. The evolution of a new Globalization would be a more suitable argument to be made herein. The post-pandemic world will bring the world even more together, prepare themselves for any such future health disasters, and find a solution collectively to help the same. The new normal has also helped many youngsters start their own home businesses and start-ups that shall further help in the future to flourish the global economy. Cross-border restrictions would likely, be reduced as countries during the pandemic have witnessed a more friendly relation in terms of supplying vaccines and other pharmaceutical products to needy countries. The world united and sharing ideas will indeed help figure out the loopholes it faced during the pandemic. Humanity is finding new ways of connecting and cooperating which range from global hackathons to address COVID-19, to people connecting on Instagram, LinkedIn & other social media platforms in order to cooperate in designing necessary Covid help. In this sense, the world may well become more globalized in terms of the flow of ideas and solutions, if not necessarily products.[6] Hence, in the post-pandemic world, Globalisation would evolve itself and will not vanish off.



[1] BBC News, “Covid -19 deaths passes three million worldwide”, (17 April, 2021), (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-56783878).

[2] World Trade Organisation, “Covid-19 measures affecting trade in goods”, (as of 23rdApril, 2021), (https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/covid19_e/trade_related_goods_measure_e.htm).

[3] Times Now Digital, “United States: In THIS city, more than 40% techies are Indians”, (18 Jan, 2018), (https://www.timesnownews.com/international/article/indians-us-silicon-valley-seattle-40-per-cent-indian-immigrants-microsoft-amazon-boeing-it-professionals-h-1b-visas/189987).

[4] Arjun Appadurai, “Coronavirus Won't Kill Globalization. But It Will Look Different After the Pandemic”, (May 19, 2020, 10:34 AM), (https://time.com/5838751/globalization-coronavirus/).

[5] John Pearson, “Covid-19 – future of globalization trade”, (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/12/covid-19-future-of-globalization-trade/).

[6] Omar Toulan, “Globalization after COVID-19: What’s in store?” (May 2020), (https://www.imd.org/research-knowledge/articles/Globalization-after-COVID-19-Whats-in-store/).

Great! You've successfully subscribed.
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.