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The world moves and changes constantly and without warning. Each day, millions of events occurring simultaneously dictate the rhythm of the delicate nature of the many economic and governmental systems, and in turn the rhythm of people’s lives too. Around 10, 20 or 30 years ago, the world was very different: from the availability of the World Wide Web to the general public to the invention of the social media apps that are popular today, these and various others helped in making the world a more connected place through the phenomenon of globalization. 

Globalization has been developing for centuries as the rapid interconnectedness that the world has been experiencing continues, and has gained prominence in recent decades, especially during the period from 1990 to 2010, often called the golden age of globalization. As opposed to this, after the market crash of 2008, the process of globalization began to slow down as a result, which led to the emergence of Slowbalisation; a term coined in 2019 by academic and trend-watcher, Adjiedj Bakas. 

As stated in the Economist, this was partially induced by factors such as the decreasing cost of moving goods from the manufacturing to the consumer nation, the increasing demand for services and not products and how Chinese manufacturing becoming more independent and therefore lacking the need to import certain goods. Additionally, other factors, such as the trade war during the Trump administration, have made this even more profound of a problem. 

When the coronavirus pandemic began to rise in early 2020 and with it bringing borders to a close, the supply chain and the movement of products to a sudden pause, and a slow start since, the slowbalisation that was already in progress only accelerated more. As analyzed in a report by the European Parliamentary Research Service, the world may be moving toward a state of deglobalization. Meaning that the world is changing toward a state of less interconnectedness, which stems as a result of the growing nationalist and protectionist movements in different countries, most prominently in the United States.  

This protectionism that is on the rise can lead to broken or loosen diplomatic relationships between states, which can have very drastic effects on the long-term future of the global nation system. The world is held by a very fragile structure that heavily relies on international dedication and cooperation. When additional, non-foreseeable factors, such as a pandemic are added into the mix, it is hard to say what the outcome will be as to who and how will be affected. Even at times when the outcome can be projected, such as with this pandemic, the consequences could still be hard on the global system under which the world operates today.

Slowbalisation as a phenomenon is taking place and will continue to in upcoming years, whether this is a good or a bad thing will have to be seen eventually when the results of it have taken place and subsequently whether the world has adjusted to this will be observed as well.

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Cynthia is a senior working toward obtaining a degree in International Relations, and two minors in Geography and Economics from Florida State University. She loves to watch historical documentaries, read, and cook in her spare time. You can also find her outside exploring nature or inside spending time with family and friends, and occasionally imagining a life in the South of France.
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