My World: June 2021…
This is part of a series of articles where our contributors describe how they think things will look a year from now.
The crisis brought about by the coronavirus utterly paralyzed the normal functioning of society on a global scale. Some countries have fared better than others, regardless of their political systems. Effectively fighting the virus at the national level requires a collective response that is both swift and rational, a leadership that believes in science and professional expertise and is trusted by its constituents, and a public that can identify a shared vision of future.
The current pandemic intensifies underlying social, economic, and political tensions and accelerates preexisting trends. The fragility of the public health infrastructure in many countries around the world has become evident, as has their depletion of state and institutional capacities in coping with public health crises.
Going forward, whether the coronavirus will be successfully restrained by a new vaccine in 2021 remains unknown. The US’s performance in the pandemic tarnished its leadership position and credibility worldwide—more so in people’s perceptions. In 2021, the world will watch whether the US declines further as a global leader in crisis management and economic recovery or instead presents to the world its prowess in post-crisis ascendancy and savvy in strategic cooperation with its allies and China. The November 2020 elections may provide an important hint. A divided public beyond the political realm makes important tasks harder to achieve. That being said, the Federal Reserve occupies a unique position in providing liquidity domestically and beyond its borders, thereby playing a crucial role in managing the economic distress resulting from the coronavirus crisis. Successful action in this regard, together with the fact that US treasuries are still considered a safe harbor for risk-averse investors, will likely safeguard the US economy.