The crisis seems to have thrown the dominant characteristics of each country’s politics into sharper relief. Countries have in effect become exaggerated versions of themselves. This suggests that the crisis may turn out to be less of a watershed in global politics and economics than many have argued. Rather than putting the world on a significantly different trajectory, it is likely to intensify and entrench already-existing trends.

Momentous events such as the current crisis engender their own “confirmation bias”: we are likely to see in the COVID-19 debacle an affirmation of our own worldview. And we may perceive incipient signs of a future economic and political order we have long wished for.

So, those who want more government and public goods will have plenty of reason to think the crisis justifies their belief. And those who are skeptical of government and decry its incompetence will also find their prior views confirmed. Those who want more global governance will make the case that a stronger international public-regime health could have reduced the costs of the pandemic. And those who seek stronger nation-states will point to the many ways in which the WHO seem to have mismanaged its response (for example, by taking China’s official claims at face value, opposing travel bans, and arguing against masks).

In short, COVID-19 may well not alter – much less reverse – tendencies evident before the crisis. Neoliberalism will continue its slow death. Populist autocrats will become even more authoritarian. Hyper-globalization will remain on the defensive as nation-states reclaim policy space. China and the US will continue on their collision course. And the battle within nation-states among oligarchs, authoritarian populists, and liberal internationalists will intensify, while the left struggles to devise a program that appeals to a majority of voters.

Dani Rodrik is professor of international political economy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is the author of "Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy."

‚Äč©Project Syndicate

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