Inoculating Against Globalization: Coronavirus and the Search for Alternatives

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 2019 ... March 12, 2020
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Inoculating Against Globalization:
Coronavirus and the Search for Alternatives

Sam Gindin

Social developments constantly surprise. The latest anxieties over the economic contradictions of extreme globalization haven’t been triggered by a trade war, inter-imperial rivalry, a financial meltdown or riots in the streets. They’ve rather been sparked by an apparently non-economic and contingent event: the coronavirus outbreak. As precautionary measures send workers home in a place few of us have ever heard of and the ramifications shut workplaces in places most of us never knew were connected, a business panic has set in. Grown men (and women) stare in horror at stock market screens and the business press fretfully anticipates an imminent recession.

Yet a deeper fear lurks in business circles. Has globalization plateaued? Might the further spread of the virus "put globalization into reverse?" Some main-stream journalists have even suggested that a slowdown in hyper-globalization "may not be a bad thing, given the sometimes absurd and dangerous dimensions it took on." Others are more cataclysmic, asking, as one headline does, whether the spread of... the coronavirus could "Hasten the Great Coming Apart of Globalization."

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