If globalization is good for the global economy, then you might expect the current wave of nationalism to be bad for the global economy. Is there evidence to support that claim?
Consider the two biggest factors that are currently slowing global growth:
1. Russia’s attack on Ukraine
2. China’s zero Covid policy
The role of nationalism in Putin’s expressed goal of recreating the Russian empire is obvious. But what about China?
China faces a dilemma due to the fact that its population was vaccinated with a relatively weak vaccine. As a result it adopted a zero Covid policy, which was actually fairly successful at containing Covid until the highly contagious Omicron variant appeared on the scene. Now China is shutting down entire cities in an almost hopeless attempt to arrest the spread of Covid.
Why don’t Chinese citizens use a highly effective mRNA vaccine as a booster? Because the Chinese government won’t let them. And why won’t they let them? Because that would be tantamount to admitting that their homegrown Sinopharm vaccine was inferior. In other words, nationalism.
Xi Jinping is much more nationalistic than several previous Chinese leaders. People like Hu Jintao and Deng Xiaoping were all about opening up China to the outside world, to learn from others. I doubt they would have made this mistake. (Of course Mao was extremely nationalistic.)
PS. In a comment after my previous post on Paxlovid, commenter Garrett directed me to TheZvi’s blog:
Many have made the observation that if you had told people two years ago that we would have a cure (not a vaccine, but a cure!) for Covid-19 that was free, safe and effective, but that no one wanted to take it, and Congress wasn’t willing to fund further purchases, people would not have believed you. And yet here we are.
Incredible. (As is the lack of news coverage.)