Oxfam’s spent the last decade or two telling us how appalling these effects of globalisation have been. Inequality within countries is increasing, wealth inequality is getting out of hand, sweatshops diminish the value of human labour and all that.
So, we get a reduction in that globalisation as a result of the pandemic. And what do they say then?
Appeals for help and chilling predictions of imminent disaster are coming thick and fast. The world is on red alert in a way few people alive today have experienced. Yet, despite the urgent clamour, the international response to the coronavirus catastrophe is lacking, leaderless and late.
Lacking in the sense that the scale of the problem, especially in developing countries, is so huge as to be almost numbing. Oxfam says more than half a billion people may be pushed into poverty by the economic fallout. Global poverty reduction could be set back 30 years.
At which point, two things.
Firstly, how about that admission that globalisation has, over this past 30 years, been a good thing? That the increase in international trade has, despite the increase in wealth and in-country inequality, the sweatshops, been a good thing for humanity?
Secondly, how about a little analysis of what Oxfam now proposes?
Food companies, farmers and civil society groups are pointing to a rising tide of hunger unless food supply chains are maintained and borders kept open to trade. Coordinated action by governments is necessary “to prevent the Covid-19 pandemic turning into a global food and humanitarian crisis”, they say.
That’s right, let’s have a bit more of this neoliberal globalisation, shall we?