Inspiring a New Deal on Globalization

By Frank-Jürgen Richter

September 15, 2020

Globalization has played a crucial role in the development of the world as we know it today. International trade laid the foundation for globalization and equally supportive policies and technologies fueled its growth. Without the formulation of friendly policies and evolving technologies, mankind would have still depended on antiquated knowhow to overcome adversities.

The achievements made would have been few. Globalization has ensured that advances made in one part of the world and benefits accrued from them are shared by all. It has democratized access to all kinds of resources, and in its wake, it has empowered millions worldwide.

Horasis strongly believes and advocates globalization and the myriad benefits it brings. This is a key point of deliberation in the upcoming ‘Horasis Extraordinary Meeting’ – a virtual event to beheld on 1 October 2020. With this event, Horasis will unite, inspire and create a conceptual backbone and action platform that will boost economic recovery for countries and societies that have witnessed unprecedented setbacks due to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Impacts

The pandemic has brought globalization to a grinding halt, or so it seems. Until not too long ago, many of globalization’s naysayers were actually its keen proponents and with good reason. Meanwhile, the global supply chain remains fragmented with erratic economic activity. International trade, which forms globalization’s basis, has been severely affected due to closed factories, prolonged lockdowns, shortage in manpower supply and sealed borders.

In addition to this, unfettered deglobalization has now become a major rhetoric with most global leaders. Most are looking inwards and are increasingly pushing for reshoring of manufacturing facilities from other countries and are advocating the ‘urgent need’ to become self-reliant. While this may be an important shift in the short term, it is likely to be self-defeating in the long term.

One school of thought believes that pandemics have and will be a testing time for globalization. The Spanish Flu of 1918 was the most severe pandemic of the 19th century, lasting until 1919 and claiming an estimated 50 million lives globally. This event was followed closely by the Great Depression. The Second World War followed the Great Depression. Without even drawing a link, the sequence of events from history do tell a story and not a good one. 

However, many others are of the belief that globalization can play a much larger role in healing the economic malaise. We, at times, fail to understand that ‘nobody can progress alone’. It is only by collaboration and the coming together of expertise and strengths that we stand to emerge from this crisis successfully.

How Globalization Can Benefit All

Globalization is a tested paradigm that is assured to deliver benefits for all stakeholders. South Korea’s GDP grew exponentially between the last decade from $576 billion in 2000 to $1.6 trillion in 2019 – a 185% leap in only 19 years. This growth has largely been attributed to opening up of its economy to international trade, which in turn, was made possible through export-oriented policies, business environment improvements and policies incentivizing investment in innovation. In the World Bank Ease of Doing Business rankings, South Korea was ranked 5th in 2019. Samsung and Hyundai can be considered as two great examples of South Korean firms reaping the benefits of favorable policies that allowed it to collaborate with leading organizations in other countries.

Singapore has also been a great proponent of globalization. The city-state has witnessed massive growth from being a small fishing town to a thriving megapolis. This development was achieved through the culmination of political, economic and cultural globalization. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew ensured that Singapore allocated all the right efforts towards globalization to enable economic growth.

Singapore also introduced rules and regulations to create a favorable environment for foreign investors and businesses to drop anchor in Singapore. Trading was made completely duty-free to allow growth in international trade. Singapore has also invested in strengthening its infrastructure and has equipped its citizens with knowledge and information in technical skills. The country is also home to cultural globalization with people from all communities and different faiths living peacefully and thriving together. These visionary approaches that championed globalization and collaboration have stood the country in good stead and it is now an economic powerhouse. 

Globalization in the Future

Going forward, we will see further contractions in global economies. The increasing rhetoric centering on deglobalization will cast a wide effect and many will unfortunately choose to tread this path. World leaders must prioritize on long term cumulative gains over short term electoral achievements.  Leaders must choose to look outward at this moment of crisis and exercise restraint when propagating a more protectionist stance. After all, there is undeniable strength in multilaterism, not in isolationism.

We, at Horasis, will bring together leaders from different walks of life to have discussions and deliberations on the important issues that plague us as a society, not our individual societies but the global society. And together we will and can achieve much more than can be done individually.