Pascal Lamy, President of the Paris Peace Forum, was guest of honour for an online discussion with 60 members and supporters of the Global Foundation in Australia and globally, moderated by Steve Howard, Secretary General of the Global Foundation.
Thanks to Rob Hadler, member of the Advisory Council, for his assistance with these informal notes from the discussion.
It is too soon to talk about world recovery from COVID despite good progress in some countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
The COVID crisis has intensified many of the global tensions that were pre-existing (US v China, and capitalism v alternatives). However, this is more the globalisation of fear than the fear of globalisation.
The level of international cooperation is at its lowest since WW2 and there is deep distrust in institutions. There is a ‘de-levelling’ of the international playing field and big powers will have less relative advantage.
Global institutions (e.g. UN and WHO) will be weaker and a vacuum will need to be filled by central banks (with their advantage of independence), civil society organisations and others, rebuilding multilateralism through innovative forms of collaboration.
Capitalism will probably survive and be more resilient, however it will be more cautious and inefficient (‘just in case’ replaces ‘just in time’).
Risk will be priced more stringently, so the cost of doing business will be higher and growth lower.
Not de-globalisation, but different: a new approach of precautionism* will dominate, (protecting people from risk – e.g. pandemics, climate). It will not be protectionism (protecting producers) but it will have similar impact.
There will be less movement of people, capital and product – trade will slow;
inequality within and between countries will intensify, increasing the social divide;
there will be serious social unrest in some nations and recriminations against governments globally.
Science should assist increasing focus on the interconnectedness of issues facing the planet that are human-induced (i.e. greenhouse and disease).
The significance increases for the work of cross-sectoral, civil society organisations. The Paris Peace Forum will hold its 3rd edition from 11-13 November and the Global Foundation plans to convene its next global meeting, the Rome Roundtable, on 16 & 17 November, 2020.
*See attached interview of Pascal Lamy in NRD Handlesblad: ‘With precaution, the world is no longer flat’.