Globalization Minus

The world is desperately searching for a “new normal” in the coronavirus-stricken society.

In May, restrictive measures on social and economic life are going to be eased in many countries. Lockdown of cities, closure of shops and curfews are going to be lifted gradually and conditionally.

Shutdowns of borders between countries, however, are expected to be maintained until the very end. That is the core of the matter and the most difficult part.

The novel coronavirus causing diseases called COVID-19 cannot be said as the deadliest virus to human body. It is far more deadlier to the global economy.

The novel coronavirus is mutated to be suitable to live and prosper with the global flow of people. Thus, measures taken to suppress the spread of this virus are heavily detrimental to the global economy, by suppressing the international movement of human beings.

No matter how successfully a country contains the outbreak within its border, new infections will be brought in as long as the border is open and there remain outbreaks somewhere outside. The decision to open up its border will be the most crucial and difficult one for rulers and policy makers all over the world and takes more time.

If so, the “new normal” of global economy would be crippled one.

Globalization has been defined to be a process of growth of the global flow of goods, capital, technologies and human beings.

In the impending “new normal” where people live with the coronavirus, the heavy restrictions on the movement of people and services by them are to be maintained.

That may be called a “globalization minus” in which movement of people is blocked while flow of goods and materials are resumed.

Passport and visas were the essential credentials for people to move across borders of nation states in the bygone pre-COVID-19 era.

Now, in the age of Globalization Minus, some kind of certificate which certifies negative result of each travelers might be introduced and compulsory. Some advocate the idea of “immunity passport” which certifies the existence of antibody to COVID-19 in one’s blood.

The problem is, no known test methods are stable or reliable enough to certify the absence of infections of the tested persons.

It is not known whether the acquisition of antibodies of COVID-19 means the acquisition of immunity to it and, on the contrary, there are even reports that say those who have antibodies can be infected again and symptoms might be even more severe.

Up to now, there seems to be no magical phrase to open up borders.