Interview: COVID-19 pandemic won't put end to globalization, says Oxford professor

Source: Xinhua| 2020-04-01 20:28:58|Editor: xuxin
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by Xinhua writer Yu Jiaxin

LONDON, April 1 (Xinhua) -- The COVID-19 pandemic won't lead to deglobalization and instead it highlights the importance of global cooperation as more efforts are needed to combat a crisis like this, an Oxford University expert has said.

"I believe the pandemic might be one factor changing the nature of globalization, but it won't lead to deglobalization or put an end to it," Ian Goldin, professor of globalization and development at Oxford University and the founding director of the Oxford Martin School, told Xinhua via phone.

Having assessed the pros and cons of globalization in his books "The Butterfly Defect "and "Age of Discovery", Goldin explains that globalization brings development and cooperation, even though interconnectivity also leads to new threats, and facilitates the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"While in the short run the pandemic has led to a slowing of trade and travel, the virus will not stop globalization," said Goldin.

Trade, travel and investment flows will bounce back when the pandemic is over, and "more digital flows across national borders will accelerate globalization," he said, adding that the nature of globalization is changing with more digital flows, more finance, less product, with the pandemic accelerating the already evident trends.

Goldin affirmed that before the pandemic, the fragmentation of supply chains had reached a peak in 2019 for four reasons -- namely automation and 3D printing, delivery time, customization and protectionism.

According to Goldin, globalization maybe slowed in some regions but it is not the case in Asia which is home to over 3 billion people and will continue to enjoy more rapid growth than other regions. He believes China will see a strong recovery and "because of its biggest growth market, it will attract increasing investment and provide the strongest engine for the global economy in the coming decades."

"I see globalization continuing and the center of gravity of it is moving to Asia," he said, noting that the United States and European countries will increasingly invest in these countries which have very large markets and rising incomes.

Talking about the global efforts to fight the pandemic, he said China is doing remarkably in assisting the world and in supporting global cooperation to find vaccines.

"But there should be bigger global efforts," he said, calling for other countries to join a global commitment to mobilize money and medical equipment especially to less developed countries, which will also require debt relief.

In a long-term, global efforts should be made to develop a monitoring system to identify the potential sources to stop the next pandemic, and much stronger collaboration on medical emergency responses and research on vaccines are required, said Goldin.

He stated that "pandemics are only one of the many threats we face collectively as humanity, much greater efforts are required to reform current international organizations to make them fit for purpose to stop our shared threats, which include climate change, antibiotic resistance, and cascading financial crises."

Whereas most other threats could be addressed through cooperation among the biggest countries, stopping global pandemic like the current one requires the engagement of every country, with major global powers playing their due roles and working with all other countries cooperatively, said the scholar.

In his view, the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind proposed by China is "absolutely right", especially in dealing with a threat like the COVID-19 pandemic, because "it highlights our common destiny".

Describing the pandemic a very difficult test for humanity, Goldin said the world should learn from the crisis and build stronger and accountable cooperation.

"No wall will be high enough to safeguard the future of citizens from future threats without cooperation with other countries," he said.