Kofi Annan once said, 'Arguing against globalisation is like arguing against the law of gravity.' The world was excited about the benefits of globalisation: access to technology, free movement of goods and labour, lower production costs, lower tariff barriers, access to untapped markets, and improvements in living standards. India's liberalisation in the 1990s and China joining the WTO in 2001 were signs that the world was about to turn flat.
However, chinks in the shiny armour of globalisation started appearing - the rich became richer; the poor became poorer. Job losses in rich countries; exploitative labour practices in poor countries. The 2008 financial crisis was the first bump on the road; recent China-US trade wars were a speed breaker; and COVID-19 is a roadblock on the path to globalisation.
The two thought leaders will discuss important questions: Is this a minor setback for globalisation, or is this the end of the road? Are we in for a world of walls, not bridges? Are the calls for self-reliance and national security just a passing paranoia? Or is the future an Unflat World?