Will COVID-19 Kill Globalization? Long Term Impact from the Virus Could be Felt for Years

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the world was becoming more and more interconnected. 'Globalization' was the buzzword. But will all that change now? Are borders back for good? 

In the span of just a few months, international travel has been set back more than 100 years. And except for meeting people online, our once interconnected world has been largely disconnected. 

The pandemic has brought back nationalism and borders and could have a long term impact on the way the world is organized. 

President Trump wants to make America more self-reliant.

"If we've learned one thing, let's do it here. Let's build it here. Let's make it here. We've got the greatest country in the world and we've got to bring our supply chains back," Trump said. 

Many countries who relied on trade with other nations were left traumatized after not being able to get the emergency supplies they needed when the pandemic was raging.  European Union nations closed their borders with each other like enemies, and in some cases denied help to each other. 

"We are on the verge of a 'Great Awakening' in terms of what is at stake," says Dr. William Moloney of the Centennial Institute. He says many eyes have been opened to the dangers of unchecked globalization, which he claims was never the path to global prosperity it was supposed to be.  

"What happened is that most of the savings from exploiting cheap labor, mostly in Asia, went to corporate headquarters, and the real result was the hollowing out and outright collapse of a wide swath of American manufacturing," he noted. 

Trade Expert Simon Lester of the Cato Institute thinks globalization was mostly good and will return, but in another form.

"I think that we will return to the same level of interconnectedness, but it might we might be connecting in different ways," Lester said.

Lester also believes the Chinese government faces a reckoning, possibly in the form of economic isolation by some countries, for spreading a deadly virus through lies and cover-ups. 

"Yeah, I think there's going to be an investigation into what happened, and China's going to get a lot of the blame and I think there's going to be some degree of economic decoupling," he said. 

Experts expect even more Americans to flee major cities, some of which became dangerous killing zones when the pandemic was raging.     

And travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt says the airlines may not be healthy again for a very long time. 

"You'll see fewer airplanes flying than you did before. You may have fewer airlines operating than before," Harteveldt said.

Because while globalization once offered businesses the allure of lower costs, COVID-19 has changed the world's focus to lower risks. 

One possible worst-case scenario is, what if the coronavirus never actually goes away?  And then experts say it really will be a whole new world, and perhaps not a very nice one.  


April 22, 2020