søndag 12. april 2020

The Belt and Road After COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is increasingly looking like a watershed, one of those moments in history that mark the end of an era and usher in a new one. The world is poised to change dramatically as a result of the novel coronavirus and many of the assumptions that seem plausible today may have to be revisited a few months down the road. Everything will depend on the severity of the coming socioeconomic shock and the resilience of the world order.

While it is too early for authoritative forecasts, three scenarios are possible at this stage. The best case envisages a moderate economic disturbance, which can hopefully be dealt with by the existing world order and through the mobilization of existing financial tools. A much more likely scenario, which qualifies as bad, foresees severe economic damage necessitating a massive demand for reconstruction, even if it cannot be met through available resources and by the shaky global institutional architecture. 

The worst-case scenario will be really ugly: it includes a devastating economic collapse of potentially historic proportions, leading to social and political turmoil in a number of countries, a sea change as to configuration of the world order, and curtailed connectivity.