WION Global Summit focuses on post-pandemic life and uncertainties

WION Web Team
Dubai Published: Mar 24, 2021, 04:53 PM(IST)

WION Global Summit 2021 Photograph:( WION )

Story highlights

'We have vaccines coming relatively fast, but we also have variants coming," said Jacek Rostowski, Former Minister of Finance and Former Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland

The life after the coronavirus pandemic ends is still something that not many people have been able to figure out, with a lot of countries experiencing second and third waves.

Talking about post-pandemic life at the WION Global Summit in Dubai, Alexander Downer, Australia's longest-serving Foreign Minister, said, "Covid won't go away. Hence, people will have to learn to live with it. Some things will return to as they were."

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The shift of corporate life from office life to working from home has been widely accepted across the world. "Polls show people are working from home, but they don't always want to work from home," Downer said at the session titled World Economy: The Price of the Pandemic. "They've learnt the advantage of working from home."

Talking about the impact this will have on corporates, he said, "Corporate patterns will need less space, that will have an impact on commercial property market. Huge increase in government spending around the world is going to be interesting and the impact they will have on living standards."

Jacek Rostowski, former Finance Minister and former Deputy PM of Poland said, "As far as debts and monetary policy conditions are concerned, will it be possible to maintain the interest rates? If the interest rates rise sharply, then it will be a problem."

"We are really facing a bifurcation of two possible scenarios. One thing we do know is it's going to be surprising and politically dangerous," he said.

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On the uncertainties in the post-pandemic world, Rostowski said, "It is seen most governments don't do too well when they come out of the first part of the pandemic and get into elections — the US being an important example."

"We still have a huge level of uncertainty around this epidemic... first of all at the medical level, so we don't know what the correct policy is," he added. "We have vaccines coming relatively fast but we also have variants coming. Markets have had to take a bet on what is likely to happen. It's wrong to say vaccines will be very effective very quickly."

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Ian Goldin, former Vice President of the World Bank, pitched in about how the countries who have followed the guidelines and restrictions laid out by the World Health Organization (WHO) have been the ones who have faired well in this pandemic.

"Countries that followed WHO's guidelines have done well, countries that have the fiscal space have been the most effective," he said.

Goldin also used the stage to call for international solidarity amid this pandemic. "The pandemic has demonstrated that we need more multilateralism. One thing we have learnt is the need for international solidarity," he said.

Using the example of World War, he added, "I think this could be a crisis that would give a good wake-up call, but World war does teach us that unless we actually do wake up, we would be in a cycle."
 

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