F&D: Six Global Thinkers on Life Post–COVID-19


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Six Thinkers

Dear Colleague,

Like you, we too are wondering what life will be like post-COVID-19. So in our latest issue of F&D, we attempt to grapple with this question by asking six leading thinkers to reflect on how the pandemic has changed the world, and what we can expect on the other side.

Daniel Susskind of Oxford University notes that striking variations in COVID-19 infections and outcomes appear to reflect existing economic inequalities, and that the happy embrace of misinformation about the virus was to be expected, given a decade of rising populism and declining faith in experts. In a world post-COVID-19, many of the problems we will face in the next decade, writes Susskind, will simply be more extreme versions of those that we already confront today.

James Manyika of the McKinsey Global Institute writes that many trends already underway in the global economy are being accelerated by the impact of the pandemic. This is especially true of the digital economy, with the rise of digital behaviors, such as remote working and learning, telemedicine, and delivery services. Other structural changes may also accelerate, says Manyika, including regionalization of supply chains and a further explosion of cross-border data flows.

Jean Saldanha of the European Network on Debt and Development focuses on how COVID-19 pandemic has been testing the limits of global cooperation, and how support for developing economies in particular remains inadequate. Saldanha calls for a new multilateralism that addresses power imbalances in global institutions in order to give fair recognition to the needs and rights of the two-thirds of the world’s population who reside in the Global South.

Sharan Burrow of the International Trade Union Confederation says we need to craft an ambitious reconstruction plan while working to end the pandemic. International support is a matter of collective survival and an investment in the future of health, the global economy, and multilateralism. Our goal for recovery should be full employment and a new social contract, writes Burrow. Public investment in the care economy, education, and low-carbon infrastructure can form the backbone of stimulus that reduces inequality.

Sergio Rebelo of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University believes that virus screening is likely to become part of our life, just like security measures became ubiquitous after 9/11. It is important to invest in the infrastructure necessary to detect future viral outbreaks, writes Rebelo. This investment protects economies in case immunity to COVID-19 turns out to be temporary. Governments will be bigger after playing the role of insurer and investor of last resort during the crisis. Public debt will balloon, creating financial challenges around the world.

And finally, Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group says that COVID-19 has accelerated three key trends that will shape our next world order, which will await us on the other side of this pandemic: deglobalization, the inevitable growth of nationalism and “my nation first”, and China’s geopolitical rise.

Interested in reading all six reflections in more detail? Click here. Prefer a PDF? Download here.

Do you agree with these authors? Let me know. I would love to feature your comments next week to continue the conversation.

Take good care,

Rahim Kanani

Rahim Kanani
Digital Editor, IMF F&D
rkanani@IMF.org / LinkedIn


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"If the international community fails to respond decisively now, the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement will be fatally derailed."

Jean Saldanha