Weekly Selection 15 May 2020

Dani Rodrik, Making the Best of a Post-Pandemic World

(Project Syndicate, May 12, 2020)

In the coming post-pandemic years, the global economy will be shaped by three trends: (1) the relationship between markets and the state will be rebalanced, in favour of the latter; (2) this will be accompanied by a rebalancing between hyper-globalization and national autonomy, also in favour of the latter; and (3) our ambitions for economic growth will need to be scaled down. It’s important to remember that the fate of the world economy hinges not on what the virus does, but on how we choose to respond (reads in 6-7 min).

Rajeev Cherekupalli and Tom Frieden, Only Saving Lives Will Save Livelihoods

(Foreign Affairs, Foreign Affairs, May 13, 2020)

At a time when so many different, if not diverging, opening strategies are being elaborated, here is another contribution explaining in palatable terms why only action that places people’s health at its centre will enable an economic recovery. The reason is simple: in the coming months, individual perception of safety will drive consumer and business decisions; and if governments fail to save lives, people will simply not resume shopping, traveling, or dining out, lockdown or no lockdown, which will, in turn, hinder economic recovery (reads in 6-7 min).

Chandran Nair, It takes a virus to reinstate the state

(RSA Blog, May 11, 2020)

The founder and CEO of the Global Institute for Tomorrow in Hong Kong argues that the Covid-19 pandemic is in many ways a timely and real-world experiment to see which elements of state governance matter in times of crisis, regardless of how advanced an economy is. It suggests that the idea of a “strong state” is gaining traction. Strong doesn’t mean authoritarian, and doesn’t mean either large public sector or big government (reads in 6-8 min).

Indi Samarajiva, In The NYTimes, Only White Leaders Stand Out

(Medium, May 4, 2020)

The language is strong, provocative and revealing. We included this article, shared with us by several friends from Asia, as one symptom of the growing animosity, resentment and anger that so many Asian intellectuals feel vis-à-vis “the West” and our western centric thinking. Food for thought… Why do so many Asian thinkers and executives feel betrayed or exasperated by the West? (reads in 3-4 min).

Jude Rogers, Losing Eden: Why Our Minds Need the Wild by Lucy Jones; Wanderland by Jini Reddy – review

(The Guardian, April 26, 2020)

Nature felt all the more vital under lockdown and will be one of the big “winners” of the pandemic. This is a review of two new books that examine the importance of nature on our physical and mental wellbeing. The first book, rooted firmly in peer-reviewed science, is full of interesting insights, like “microbreaks” in nature (looking at a green roof in a city, rather than bare concrete) improving our cognitive functioning (reads in 5-6 min).