Since the early days of the COVID-19 lockdowns Diplomatic Courier has been striving to reimagine our post-pandemic future. With our series “Life After the Pandemic” we set out to do something we haven’t done very often the last decade; we sent out a “Call for Articles.” The response was overwhelming and resulted in a prolific first edition that chronicled often under-recognized challenges posed by COVID-19 to the world’s societies – and the innovative ways those societies are meeting those challenges.
Since our first anthology in May, we have partnered with global leading organizations to produce monthly rapid-fire bookazine editions, which will zero in with expert focus on the fundamental changes being accelerated in the economy, education and work, governance, politics, exponential technologies, and more.
In this second volume, we partnered with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), laying out a global economic recovery roadmap that can provide guidance post-pandemic for nations and corporations for years to come.
While it took two teams working seamlessly—our Diplomatic Courier editors and the guest editors and writers at CIPE—we would be remiss if we didn’t first thank Andrew Wilson, CIPE’s Executive Director and co-architect of this edition. It was his special feature “Six Essential Themes for an Economic Recovery Roadmap” that inspired the editorial lineup for this edition. CIPE experts across the globe have used Andrew’s roadmap to expand on these six essential themes as well as other factors that will help usher us to a global economic recovery.
We start with a singular and overarching theme: “Restarting Economies,” where Dr. Kim Bettcher cautions us, “The complexity of restarting economies worldwide will entail more than just allowing businesses to hang an ‘open’ sign and limiting the number of customers. For starters, there may be no door.” Ultimately, policy and business leaders will have to cooperate to completely reimagine how they shape their national strategies for recovery.
In the “Great Reshoring” Andrew Wilson discusses the current risks and challenges that established supply chains are experiencing. The pandemic has greatly accelerated the need for change and diversifying risk. Policies rooted in liberal-democratic values will have a leg up in kick-starting a new era of sustainable growth.
Liberal market values are not to be taken for granted, however. In “Corruption Is Like a Coronavirus” Frank Brown explains that corruption, just like a virus, is adaptable, pernicious, and has found the ideal conditions to flourish. And just like with a pandemic, our focus should not just be on the short-term battle of containment, but also on the long-term goal of reduction—and even eradication—of the disease.
The pandemic has produced a moment of opportunity for authoritarians around the world. While all nations grapple with the immediate crisis response, undemocratic actors are flourishing under the radar. “The world’s democracies must take a more aggressive approach to holding authoritarians accountable,” says John Zemko in “Protecting Democracy Amid the COVID-19 Crisis,” outlining opportunities to change this narrative.
We have covered extensively how in the COVID-19 world women have the most to lose. But there are even more burdens placed on women we hadn’t fully considered yet. In her piece “COVID-19 Brings New Economic Challenges for Women,” Barbara Langley vividly illustrates how the pandemic threatens to undo decades of advancement for women’s economic empowerment. No national economic recovery stands a chance if this progress rolls back.
Just like women, those outside of the system face the biggest threats. In their piece “The Informal Sector: Facing Crisis on the Outside of the System,” Dr. Kim Bettcher and Adam Goldstein examine the hidden risks to economic recovery when entire sectors of the economy—the informal sector—are excluded from stimulus and other social benefit systems. “A resilient recovery is unachievable without hearing and substantively including the voices of business owners who operate outside the formal system,” they explain.
When the lockdowns started, the digital economy’s development accelerated. Adoption of cashless practices, e-commerce, and work from home are just some of the ways businesses around the world are coping with the new normal. Louisa Tomar and Morgan Frost see “Inclusive Participation in the Digital Economy” as paramount to economic recovery. Now more than ever we have an opportunity to close this gap that permeates every sector of business and society.
So, what of the future? Look to “Association and Chambers” for solutions says Stephen Rosenlund in this concluding essay. Already, chambers of commerce and business associations around the world are taking the lead in recovery efforts around the world. They are uniquely positioned to do so as their very existence hinges on a resilient and prosperous membership.
The world around us is still in a very grim place. The pandemic has aggravated disorders that were already embedded within our systems. Yet we have much to be hopeful—even optimistic—about. Every sector, each industry is fighting a singular enemy. Our response needs to be as coordinated as this virus.