Globalization is about the (relatively) free movement of ideas, people, goods, and capital across borders. All of these flows, and their impact, were being questioned before COVID-19 but take on renewed focus in its aftermath. There are those who celebrate a reversal of some or all of these flows, and others who lament the consequences of such actions.
On the one hand, a more open global economy has stimulated economic activity, and resulted in a significant reduction in the number of people living in abject poverty in many parts of the world. On the other, globalization has widened the gap between winners and losers, and has been criticized for increasing inequality and for damaging the environment.
At the same time, we have seen the growth of populist and anti-immigrant sentiment in the face of a persistent refugee crisis. Increased barriers to the movement of people across borders are being reinforced by mobility restrictions and social distancing measures adopted to mitigate the global pandemic.
We are facing a major economic downturn fueled by uncertain recovery scenarios post COVID-19 and the return of protectionist policies amid rising trade tensions. Cross-border capital flows have similarly been impeded, both as a way to combat money laundering and to avoid negative contagion effects. The reduction in remittances is threatening the livelihood of families reliant on international transfers from migrants.
The key theme of this webinar is how do we move forward and capture the benefits of globalization without its negative corollaries, while considering the uncertain consequences of COVID-19 on trade and the movement of people and capital. How can globalization be reformed to be more equitable across regions and countries, and among groups of citizens within a country, as well as be more sustainable for the planet?