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Davos 2023: World will not be China centric for very long, says Eurasia Group’s Ian Bremmer

Davos 2023: World will not be China centric for very long, says Eurasia Group’s Ian Bremmer

Talking about China’s return in the post-Covid-19 era, Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group in a conversation with Rahul Kanwal, News Director, India Today, and Aajtak, India Today Group, said that China’s comeback in the time of global crises can see a number of unexpected changes.

Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group

After almost three years of strict Covid restrictions and tough self-isolation rules in China, the country has reopened its borders and is all set to resume its economic activities to renounce again. After getting elected for the third time for a lifetime, very few experts thought that Chinese premier XI Jinping would adopt the zero covid policy so early and with such little preparation.   

Talking about China’s return in the post-Covid-19 era, Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group in a conversation with Rahul Kanwal, News Director, India Today, and Aajtak, India Today Group, said that China’s comeback in the time of global crises can see a number of unexpected changes.  

“From zero Covid to everyone getting Covid in a matter of weeks, China was not prepared for this. They were no longer testing or monitoring the cases, with new variants. But for the world, for the second time, China was the epicenter of a global pandemic just like they were in 2020. This has led to a lot of anxiety in the rest of the world. The travel restrictions are back in some of the countries. But broadly speaking, such a tough decision was taken by Xi. Whether it is positive for the Chinese economy or technology remains to be seen. But he can do things that are negative. After his third term, everyone in the Chinese economy is accountable to Xi. But Xi has become a second Mao now. There is a lack of consensus in the country like before,” said Bremmer on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum 2023, which opened today at Davos. 

Talking about Chinese economic concerns of it bouncing back, Bremmer said: “It is not ageing which has hit the Chinese economy, their population is also shrinking. It has already hit the maximum levels two years ago. The momentum behind such contractions will only grow now. There is a lot of debt in their corporate sector, there are difficulties in real estate, and they have supply chain challenges. Besides, there are big US companies that are going elsewhere. Like Apple has come to India, Vietnam, and other countries,” said Bremmer.  

He added that though China can become the largest economy in the world, amid the uncertainties and changing dynamics in the world, it is not guaranteed. The world will not be China-centric, it will be a more multipolar world, he further added. 

In December, the Chinese government adopted a series of abrupt moves due to the prolonged protests in the country and dismantled much of the lockdown, testing, and quarantine regimes that were in place for the past three years to check even small outbreaks of the virus.  

As a result, new variants of Covid-19 started spreading rapidly, where at the time it was reported that nearly 37 million people in China were infected with Covid-19 in a single day, as reported by Bloomberg. Adding to this was China’s failure to adequately vaccinate people even with Chinese-made vaccines.  

Global concerns 

Talking about global crises, which were highlighted by the World Economic Forum in its annual Global Risks Report 2023, Bremmer said that single, individual entities are holding a lot of power. 

“The single thing that worries me the most this year in terms of global volatility is that we have small individual players who have extreme amount of power in hand. They have surrounded themselves with yes-men. There are no checks and balances on the decisions they take. This is not the US president, who will get constrained for a wrong act. I am not just talking about leaders like Vladimir Putin, Chinese premier Xi Jinping, I am also talking about some of the tech leaders like Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, who have dramatic implications on the democracies in the world,” Bremmer said. 

WEF in its Global Risks Report 2023 noted that the war between Russia and Ukraine, rising inflation, and food and energy crises due to the economic impact of lockdowns are the biggest challenges for this year.   

The international organisation noted that the struggles were mainly around energy and food supply crunches, which are likely to persist for the next two years. The increase in energy and food prices has pushed the cost of living and debt servicing.     

Published on: Jan 16, 2023, 5:19 PM IST
Posted by: Basudha Das, Jan 16, 2023, 5:15 PM IST