Let’s wait a little bit more before we throw over the global economic order

It’s amazing how quickly the four horsemen of the apocalypse have rode into town with the Covid-19 virus.  They are quick to throw the whole global order under the bus and call for a new nationalism, closed borders, rebuilding local manufacturing and food sectors and severely limiting immigration.

I admit this crisis is a biggie.  There is no getting around that freer trade, tourism, population mobility, integrated global supply chains, etc. contributed to the spread of this nasty virus.

In my opinion a world where countries work together to solve global challenges – albeit sometimes clunkily – is much preferred to the old world order where tensions roiled and eventually boiled over into massive conflict.

In my opinion a world where migrants can move from places of limited opportunity to those with greater opportunity is much preferred to a world order where societies get old and can’t properly fund health care and social programs.

In my opinion, a world where countries can exploit their specific strengths, assets and attributes to serve global markets – is a better one than a closed world where countries strive for self-sufficiency at a price – no avocado toast in New Brunswick in a world with fully closed borders.

In my opinion, a world where richer countries can invest in poorer ones and help raise billions out of poverty (as has been done, read Steven Pinker on this) in a mutually beneficial way – is better than a Hobbsian world where everyone country is out for #1 and only #1.

Yes, I realize that all of these things are not entirely good.  Not much in the world is that cut and dried.  Everything has costs and benefits.  Everything creates some kind of externalities.

So let’s go back to the drawing board, if we must, but not to close up the shop.  Let’s make it better.

I’d still like to sit in a cafe in Paris and drink coffee looking out at the street.

I’d still like to buy olive oil from Greece.

I’d still like to visit my parents-in-law in the wonderful and wonderfully flawed city of Sao Paulo.

I’d still like to attract thousands of ambitious immigrants to New Brunswick every year to help us build New Brunswick 2.0.

And, yes, I’d still like to import avocados from Mexico so I can mix it with a little salt and lemon juice and spread it on toast.




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