Recently, liberal and optimist intellectual Johan Norberg published a short book on Swedish “Viruset och världen: Är det nu globaliseringen dör?” (The virus and the world: Is it now that globalization dies?”
The book contains many references to arguments and proofs made by several academics and researchers raging from various fields of science and research as economy, history, health, philosophy and psychology. One of the main messages of the book is that “openness is our strength” and that further global development and world integration is vital to deal with global problems, risks and challenges as pandemics.
Norberg’s book is published in Swedish, but more information about global development will be published during autumn in his upcoming book project. In the meantime, here are some of the examples from the “Viruset och världen” when it comes to the current Coronavirus (Covid19) pandemic:
– The Corona pandemic is an essential global test for our readiness, where we are going to learn what works and what does not work. If we as humans can learn what works, it will help us during the next pandemic.
– Historically seen, pandemics are nothing new, and they will come again. Pandemics often take place during the time of global or worldwide integration, interconnectedness and interplays between humans.
– Isolationist and protectionist policies sometimes make things worse than pandemics when it comes to human progress and quality of life. Such policies prevent exchange, trade and specialisation of ideas, goods and services, including medical equipment and scientific progress.
– Isolationism and closed borders cannot prevent a pandemic. Even, for example, North Korea has cases of Covid19 and has taken measures such as closing shops and banning people from being outside.
– The key is not in self-sufficiency but sufficiency and sustentation in a global sense. It would be very costly and environmentally damaging if every country or region would publicly produce all necessary medical equipment as protective masks and respirators. Ability for sufficiency means that market actors as individuals and companies play a vital role.
– Many politicians and governments are using the pandemic situation crisis to increase their powers for personal and opportunistic reasons. Global risks as pandemics are also a danger for democracy since democratic governance and human interplays can be reduced or even abolished.
– Different individuals react differently during a pandemic. This depends on one’s history, education, affections, family background, social status, and many other factors. Some people will commit racism, social phobias, conspiracy theories, distrust, and hysterical behaviour. Others will focus on helping people, providing solutions and innovations, thinking rationally and objectively, acting to save the humanity.
– Pandemics awake “our inner nationalist” inside us. Many people get triggered by authoritarian dynamics by preferring control before freedom, closeness before openness, preservation before the change. There are many studies about human psychology, including those showing that people who have fear for bacteria often are more xenophobic.
– Globalization is not the direct cause of the pandemic. On the contrary, globalisation since the 1990s has made it easier to handle problems as pandemics because human mobility works as “ a natural vaccine” when people from across the world are exposed to different bacteria, microbes and diseases which means that more people are used to same biological threats.
– Comparing to other pandemics in history, the current Corona situation is being handled and solved faster and quicker. Thanks to modern technology, scientific networks, and cooperation at both global and local levels. Scientists, entrepreneurs, and companies are playing vital roles. To handle pandemics in the future, closeness and isolation would be a weakness while openness and interconnection is a strength for humanity.