What has the COVID-19 pandemic revealed about global society, and can the crisis render the world more just, productive and capable?
As COVID-19 rages on, it would be easy to dismiss Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World, published in late 2020, as premature. However, journalist and longtime CNN host Fareed Zakaria does a solid job of explaining why many of the lessons people are learning from the pandemic actually reflect longer term trends that the coronavirus has amplified. Although some conclusions he draws may be obvious to any reader who follows the news, Zakaria is particularly adept at connecting the dots and synthesizing information into digestible takeaways. Though his historical parallels can at times feel a bit far-reaching or overly simplistic, they are more often apt and thought-provoking. Readers will also appreciate that Zakaria maintains a positive and resilient attitude in the face of a situation that has driven so many other pundits and writers to hand-wringing and despair.
Retreat and Advance
Zakaria examines both ancient and recent history to make a convincing argument that the pandemic will push the world toward greater globalization. The question is how to make this path fair, sustainable and peaceable — and Zakaria has ideas about that, too. He writes that COVID-19 has driven the international community back to its old ways: inward-looking, with many borders closed and each nation fending for itself. Still, for the author, the pandemic has only highlighted the need for international cooperation. Despite ongoing protectionism and isolationism – which COVID-19 only accelerated – the door to globalism can’t slam shut. Zakaria argues that the post-pandemic inward turn is merely a blip in a broader trajectory of increasing trade openness.