Putting the 21st century back on track

Most readers will remember the widespread enthusiasm with which we met the arrival of the twenty-first century. It was a time of high hopes, grandiloquent editorials, and unfeigned daring on the part of the West. Yet in the blink of an eye (historically speaking), the spirit of the times shifted radically – even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. For much of the world, this century has been a period of frustration and disillusion. Many now look to the future not with confidence but with fear.

Two decades ago, the readymade answer to every policy and strategic question was more globalization. But while this was a legitimate and praiseworthy goal, we failed to build in the necessary safeguards. Disasters such as the post-2008 Great Recession and the current pandemic have shown that greater interdependence implies greater risk of contagion, be it financial or viral. Moreover, specialization and hyper-efficiency can be sources of vulnerability, as this year’s supply-chain disruptions have proven. And, of course, the political repercussions of offshoring were woefully underestimated.

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Πηγή: brookings.edu

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