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Imagining the New Normal: Exploring the Economic and Social Impact of COVID-19 from NYC, London, and

The New York University's Center for Global Affairs organized an interactive webinar with panelists James Crabtree, Associate Professor of Practice, Lee Kuan Yew School, Rana Foroohar, Global Business Columnist & Associate Editor, Financial Times, and David Whineray, Senior Fellow, University of California, Berkeley. Vijay Vaitheeswaran, US Business Editor, The Economist was the moderator.

The economic and social crisis stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected civilization in ways unimaginable to most mere months ago. How is this crisis different than other major events of the past? How should we think about solutions differently? How will our globalized world be reshaped by this disruption to supply chains, labor forces, critical infrastructure, and societal norms?

The CGA and the experts from New York, London, and Singapore explored and examined what lessons can be learned from past crises – 9/11, the 2008 financial crash, the Great Smog of London, the SARS Outbreak, and the 2005 London Bombings as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In terms of how the economic systems will shift during the crises, the experts mentioned that there will definitely be a shift in terms of supply chain managemet in relationship to risk resilience and climate change in the future. Multilateral institutions, a reocurring idea thas often been brought up in this conversation, is another possibility according to the experts where a G20 country may even set up a global pandemic institution. Paradoxically ,this will be a period of international institutions and different regional coalitions. However, the United Nations, is believed to not be able to "rise to occasion".

Dr. Vaitheeswaran ended with a statement that the current situation we are facing is a "small teaser" to the prevailing notion that this crises will only accelerate previous trends of tech innovation and innovative ways for companies to reorganize regionally.

About the panelists:

VIJAY VAITHEESWARAN is an award-winning senior correspondent, he opened the magazine’s Shanghai bureau in 2012 and served as China business editor & bureau chief until mid-2017. He also serves as chairman of The Economist Innovation Summit, a provocative series of global conferences on innovation. He joined the editorial staff in 1992 as its London-based Latin America correspondent, and opened the magazine’s first regional bureau in Mexico City. From 1998 to 2006, he covered the politics, economics, business and technology of energy and the environment. From 2007 to 2011 his portfolio encompassed innovation, global health, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.

His latest book, published by Harper Collins, is Need, Speed and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems. Amazon named it a Book of the Month and Kirkus Reviews called it “the perfect primer for the postindustrial age.” In reviewing the book, the Financial Times declared that “Vaitheeswaran is a writer to whom it is worth paying attention.” It has been translated into Chinese and several other languages. His second book, ZOOM: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future, co-authored with Iain Carson, was named a Book of the Year by the Financial Times.

Vijay is a life member at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is an advisor on sustainability and innovation to the World Economic Forum at Davos, and his commentaries have appeared on NPR and the BBC, in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He has addressed groups ranging from the US National Governors’ Association and the UN General Assembly to the Technology, Entertainment & Design (TED), Aspen Ideas and AAAS conferences.

JAMES CRABTREE is a Singapore-based author and journalist, and an Associate Professor of Practice at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. His best-selling 2018 book, The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age was short-listed for the FT / McKinsey book of the year. Prior to academia, James worked for the Financial Times, most recently as Mumbai bureau chief. He is now a columnist for Nikkei Asian Review, and a fellow at the Asia-Pacific programme at Chatham House.

James has written for a range of global publications, including the New York Times, the Economist, Wired, and Foreign Policy. Prior to journalism he was an advisor in the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He has worked for various think tanks in London and Washington DC, and spent a number of years living in America, initially as a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

RANA FOROOHAR is Global Business Columnist and an Associate Editor at the Financial Times, based in New York. She is also CNN’s global economic analyst. Her book, Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business (Crown), about why the capital markets no longer support business, was shortlisted for the Financial Times McKinsey Book of the Year award in 2016. Her latest book, Don’t Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles – And All of Us, about the 20 year rise of platform technology and how it has reshaped economics, politics, and society, was released in November of 2019, and was named Porchlight Business Book of the year.

Prior to joining the FT and CNN, Foroohar spent 6 years at TIME, as an assistant managing editor and economic columnist. She previously spent 13 years at Newsweek, as an economic and foreign affairs editor and a foreign correspondent covering Europe and the Middle East. During that time, she was awarded the German Marshall Fund’s Peter Weitz Prize for transatlantic reporting. She has also received awards and fellowships from institutions such as the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW), the Newswoman’s Club of New York, the Johns Hopkins School of International Affairs and the East West Center. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and sits on the advisory board of the Open Markets Institute.

Foroohar graduated in 1992 from Barnard College, Columbia University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the author John Sedgwick, and her two children.

DAVID WHINERAY is a Senior Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley; at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC; and at the United Nations Center for Policy Research in New York. David previously served in the UK Foreign Office, including as Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Asia. He has also served in 10 Downing Street, at the European Union Delegation to the United States in Washington DC, the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York, the European Parliament in Brussels, and in the UK Department of the Interior in London.

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