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CLARIN

Globalization Under Fire, From Protectionism To Pandemic

The world's prevailing trade system was facing major challenges even before the pandemic. But that doesn't mean globalization is destined to die.

The pandemic has had a brutal impact on globalization
The pandemic has had a brutal impact on globalization
Carlos Espósito*

-Analysis-

MADRID — The pandemic has had a brutal impact on globalization, so it's only reasonable that people are questioning whether COVID-10 will spell the system's eventual demise.

The rules governing international trade took a hit months before the virus appeared, with a proliferation of protectionist measures, budding trade wars and especially the U.S. administration's decision to block the reappointment of the WTO's appellate body judges. The latter effectively halted the trade organization's disputes resolution mechanism from Dec. 10, 2019.

But what's happened since then — with lockdowns and border closures — is a different type of challenge, and one that's defined by the immensity of its scope. Indeed, the measures states have taken to protect people from the virus are affecting all economic areas: tourism, aviation, the global economy's value chains, higher education... all of that and more!

As a result, obituaries have begun to appear for globalization. The philosopher John Gray has declared that its apogee is past and we are moving into a less interconnected world that will function more online and have more physical restrictions.

Such trends are evident, but it is too early to be certain about the world order we may expect once we emerge from the pandemic, especially when we don't even know what the "end" of this pandemic means exactly.

More useful are the arguments put forth by jurists Nicolas Lamp and Anthea Roberts, who believe there is no single answer to whether or not the virus is killing globalization. They contend that numerous narratives are fighting to forward their version of reality before this global crisis.

They are approximative discourses, with narratives that run the gamut. Some are globalizing (this is an opportunity, they argue, to improve global cooperation against a global virus). Others are climatic (it's time for economic reconversion), security-oriented (fighting the virus pertains to national security), democratic (authoritarian regimes are worse at fighting the virus), authoritarian (democratic regimes are a disadvantage in imposing anti-virus measures), conservative (the virus further proves the need to curb migratory flows) or progressive (we need universal healthcare and universal basic income systems).

We could be looking at a world of much more isolated states.

With due caution in predicting any global model to come, one can already say that this crisis and preceding developments herald some profound changes to the way the world economy is organized. There is even talk of a new form of sovereignty — strategic sovereignty — whose contours remain vague for now.

The idea carries some central tenets like power and responsibility, as part of a primordial concern with the state's duty to protect its citizens and essential goods like food, drugs and technologies. Its emphasis is on the idea of resilience. A fragmented world peppered with strategic sovereignties seems incompatible with hyper-globalization, but the process has yet to become definitive.

We could be looking at a world of much more isolated states, with exclusive regulatory regimes that may be harsher for weaker states, and costlier for the powerful ones. Or we may see a different type of globalization, more limited in its forms and contents, and with different goals. Its emphasis may become regulating global public goods, within a framework of strong and genuine international cooperation.

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Ideas

García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez reads his book

J. D. Torres Duarte

BOGOTÁ — In short stories written in the 1940s and early 50s and later compiled in Eyes of a Blue Dog, the late Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, shows he is as yet a young writer, with a style and subjects that can be atypical.

Stylistically, García Márquez came into his own in the celebrated One Hundred Years of Solitude. Until then both his style and substance took an erratic course: touching the brevity of film scripts in Nobody Writes to the Colonel, technical experimentation in Leaf Storm, the anecdotal short novel in In Evil Hour or exploring politics in Big Mama's Funeral. Throughout, the skills he displayed were rather of a precocious juggler.

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