A new consensus for the post-Covid world

Pascal Lamy|Justin Vaïsse

Cognitive specialists tell us it always takes time for the brain to process change and update the view of a familiar landscape. For three decades, our eyes have been used to the triumph of globalization and its gospel, the Washington consensus. While not exactly consensual – and actually  increasingly contested – this set of ten principles was meant to guide economic policies and international institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF, or the WTO.

The time has come to update our view of the principles underpinning our world, and take the measure of the profound changes that have occurred. The financial and economic crisis of 2008 and the decade that followed, marked by social and environmental crises and populism, dealt a serious blow to many of the certainties of globalization. The 2020 crisis made them even more questionable.  

Perceptions worldwide have shifted profoundly on inequalities, on the new centrality of climate and biodiversity concerns, on the mixed blessing of the digital revolution or on the importance of robust health systems. But the new center of gravity, the new gospel remains to be found.

During the last edition of the Paris Peace Forum on November 12, 2020, a set of leaders led by French President Emmanuel Macron and IMF Secretary General Kristalina Georgieva launched a discussion on what a post-Covid consensus could look like, then gave a few answers of their own.

We would like to put forward ten principles that we think capture these changes, in order to stimulate the debate and provoke further discussion. These principles all contribute towards the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030, which provide the best roadmap humans ever gave themselves.

  1. Epidemic preparedness and response must be considered a global public good, with the usual and occasional exceptions to trade and property rules.
  2. Environmental impact must figure in any economic assessment, balance sheet and investment review.
  3. All organizations, whether public or private, must be required to draw up plans and set a date for net zero emissions with 2030 as the first goalpost.
  4. Regulation of data must conform to the collective preferences of those it affects.
  5. Inclusive growth must be pursued by fair taxation of highest incomes and capital revenues, as well as increased investment in education and other public services.
  6. Profits by multinational companies must be taxed where they are made.
  7. Impact economy and impact investing can rebalance some of the negative effects of market capitalism on social conditions and must be given a supportive environment.
  8. To ensure debt sustainability for all countries, lenders must agree to a common framework of coordination or face pressure from financial authorities.
  9. To strengthen multilateralism, governments and philanthropy must increase core funding and reduce voluntary contributions to international institutions.
  10. Non-state actors must do their part in tackling global challenges, and issue-based coalitions must complement the work done by multilateral institutions.

Written by:

 Pascal Lamy, President of the Paris Peace Forum, and

Justin Vaisse, Founder & Director General of the Paris Peace Forum

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