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Unsurprisingly, a recurring theme in all the articles in this special edition is (you guessed it); the Coronavirus Pandemic. Now into its third year, the pandemic continues to influence almost every issue facing governments, firms and individuals across the globe. But, while ubiquitous in its impact, the pandemic is not the only story of the past year and years to come. This special edition aims to unpack the lessons from some of the most important stories of 2021 to provide an early insight into the year ahead. As you peruse the articles that follow, our writers will bring perhaps overlooked stories to your attention, guide you through compelling but complex socio-economic issues – all whilst offering new insights and perspectives for you to consider.
Aoife Doyle aptly presents a broad assessment of the evolution of economic policy in response to the pandemic and the corresponding state of the global economy amidst rising inflation, supply chain bottlenecks and vaccine nationalism in “Has Global Economic Health Recovered?” (P6) Of course, common to all coronavirus-ridden economies is the devastated aviation industry. In “Air Travel in 2022: Smooth Skies or Turbulent Travels?” (P8), Pearce Hopkins examines the turbulence of restrictions and the runway to recovery for the airline industry.
Africa, more than any other continent, knows all too well the overwhelming and unequal impact of travel restrictions. Laura da Silva investigates the logic – or lack thereof – underlying the U.K.’s red list as well as the implications for African economies in “The Devastation of the U.K.’s Red List on African Countries” (P11). Following on from the discussion on travel restrictions, Charlotte Service, in “Power and the Pandemic: Africa Suffering at the Hands of the More Affluent” (P14) provides analysis of the power imbalances between low- and high-income countries as vaccine nationalism risks undermining the global fight against the pandemic. Looking holistically, Armaan Gheewala in “Has the Covid-19 Pandemic Induced Anti-Globalism in 2021?” (P17) dives deeper into the anti-global, ‘country-first’ ideology taking hold of the Western world exemplified by increasing trade protectionism.
Central to this year’s macroeconomic environment is the supply chain crisis and resulting inflation as the articles in our Theory section survey. In “Strengthening the Supply Chains” (P19), Morgan Anthony considers the roots of the global supply chain crisis, the economic dilemmas of externalities and the public policy solution of diversification. Taking a step back, in “The Inflation of the Past, Present, and Yet to Come” (P22), Ming Lee reviews the consequences of pent-up demand and the supply chain problems on inflation by taking a historical perspective to inform how policy makers respond in 2022.
Over in North America, even President Biden cannot escape the economic issues explored in our Theory Section. As Ross Alexander Hutton argues in “Biden’s Impending Midterm ‘Shellacking’” (P24), Biden faces a turbulent, tentative and tense 2022 as his administration struggles to grapple with coronavirus and inflation and his legislative agenda remains in tatters. In “Biden Has a Manchin Problem” (P28), Laura Gillies focuses on the cause of much Biden’s legislative nightmare of an empowered Senator from West Virgina. Meanwhile, in South America, Brynna Boyer ponders whether the latest U.K. Supreme Court ruling is grounds for optimism amidst a divided and dwindling opposition to Maduro in “Gold for Christmas: Will the Latest Supreme Court Ruling Help Venezuela?” (P30)
Moving closer to home, Mark Connolly evaluates the fate of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative party but perhaps not from the perspective that first comes to mind in “It’s the Housing Market, Stupid!” (P33) As for latest on Brexit, Jack Horrigan reflects on the mixed picture of the fallout from the U.K.’s divorce with the E.U. in “Going it Alone: Post-Brexit Britain One Year On” (P36).
Britain isn’t alone in its problems as Europe too faces an uncertain 2022. Cameron Fulton offers a detailed analysis of Germany’s future with a new chancellor at the helm in “Germany in Review: Merkel’s Legacy, Scholz’s Future” (P39). Over in Italy, William Finlator details why Europe’s next big crisis is likely to be Italian in “Why you should care about Italy’s 2022” (P43).
Looking to the Middle East, a territory often consumed by turbulence, Shona McCallum reviews Sudan’s successful activism during the ‘Sudanese Revolution’, and what is in store for the country after the collapse of the transitional government in “Looking Back, Looking Forward: Blues for Sudan” (P46).
Further in the East, developing and developed countries have faced a myriad of struggles and successes throughout the year, similar to their Western counterparts. As the year came to a close, Malaysia faced one of its worst monsoons seasons to date, with over 150,000 being affected. Sabrina Najib analyses the Malaysian government’s response, and why changes is needed in “Malaysian Floods: What the Malaysian Government Needs to Learn from Their Mistakes” (P48).
Last but certainly not least, in China, Otilia Meden looks at the Chinese government’s ‘feminist’ agenda in their continuous effort to overtake the west in “Feminism with Chinese Characteristics” (P50). As China further increases its global dominance, Taiwan has struggled with its diplomatic status. However, Nicholas Cheung notes in his article “Taiwan: The Jewel of Asia?” (P52) that the island nation has still been able to thrive throughout the year, when many others have struggled.
As we enter 2022, many of our thoughts looking forward still reflect our sentiments from our previous Special Edition, with uncertainty and the pandemic being key theme themes. However, as we continue experiencing the effects of the pandemic, we can see that the world doesn’t stop for anything, as countries continue to make economic, cultural, and social shifts. We hope that our Special Edition has brought to light many of the key events of the past year, bringing insight to what may lie in store for the year ahead. As always, at the St Andrews Economist, we hope to continue to bring economics into perspective, with the following year likely to be as eventful as the previous, and perhaps show a glimmer of hope for recovery.
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The views expressed in this article are the author’s own, and may not reflect the opinions of The St Andrews Economist.