Edited by Catherine Fieschi
To see above the parapet of the current Covid-19 emergency requires an effort of the imagination – how do we see our future through the deeply enmeshed and complementary lenses of our economies, polities and communities?
The fact that international organizations were slow to move and that individual states took matters into their own hands (from border legislation to medical advice to financial protection and stimulus) suggested that perhaps the first casualty of this pandemic would be globalization (or rather globalism) in its various and deeply intertwined guises. But those arguments can of course be countered with the claims that what is needed is a further step towards multilateral institutions, a more balanced and regulated international labour market, further integration of our economies for more controlled experiments in everything from human supply chains to material ones, and of course, a shot at addressing the vanishing mammoth in the room, our shared climate.
What we do know is that the likelihood of more of the same, or back to business as usual, is relatively low. Most governments and central banks will be facing changed publics (either fearful, or resentful, impatient or unruly – or a combination of all of these) in dramatically altered economic landscapes and with their financial and economic capacity blunted given accrued levels of debt. But beyond that, what can we anticipate? This collection of essays considers the crossroads where we find ourselves and explores the tensions between the pull of isolationism and nationalism on the one hand and that of globalization and multilateralism on the other.
Catherine Fieschi is founder and executive director of Counterpoint, a research consultancy that focuses on the social and cultural drivers of political dynamics. Her publications include Fascism, Populism and the French Fifth Republic and numerous articles and pamphlets.