The past half-decade has seen the rise of geopolitical rivalry and global populism alongside the rapid erosion of free trade, making for a time of great uncertainty. One may thus harbour nostalgia for the relatively stable international environment of the 1990s and 2000s.

However, a return to normalcy is unlikely, given the growing US-China tensions, says Pushan Dutt, professor of Economics at Insead Business School. “I think that going back to the unipolar world that existed is infeasible. We are going to move towards a world that is more multipolar,” says Dutt, who envisions a world operating on a US-China axis. International relations will increasingly be defined by nationalism and protectionism in contrast to open markets and hyper-globalisation previously. Covid-19, as well as other forms of global disruption, he believes, makes a return to the liberal world order all but impossible.

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