Around the world, pandemic-related lockdowns have hit our globalized economy hard. Supply chains have been disrupted, industries crippled. The coronavirus has laid bare the risks of global interconnectedness. Is the crisis the beginning of the end of globalization?
In early 2020, when much Asian production and manufacturing was shut down, the effects were quickly felt in supply chains. The flow of raw materials and other products that drives global trade dried up. Hamburg port operator HHLA reported losses of up to 40 percent, with supply shortfalls bringing production at German factories to a temporary halt. Coronavirus-related lockdowns in Europe led to garment workers in Bangladesh losing their livelihoods. This documentary shows how such global dependencies function during a pandemic. Is it time to bring back local production, to ensure populations are provided for even in times of crisis?
This film shows that many are thinking hard about the issue. Companies are diversifying their supply chains, or stepping up digitalization efforts. In Germany, public funds are being used to encourage home-grown production of protective equipment in order to secure supplies in the future. But for the majority of German companies such measures would make production drastically more expensive. Globalization is in many ways the cause of exploitation and social injustice, yet if developing countries were to lose huge orders without compensation, the result would likely be dire. “Many more people will die from hunger than from the pandemic,” fears globalization expert Ian Goldin of Oxford University. But could the coronavirus crisis also bring positive changes, like a fairer division of labor, more conscientious consumption, less pollution, and more social responsibility?
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