Sir Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, and a Director of the International Growth Centre, and the ESRC research network, Social Macroeconomics. His research covers the transformation from poverty to prosperity; state fragility; the implications of group psychology for development; migration and refugees; urbanization in poor countries and the crisis in modern capitalism, which is the subject of his most recent book, The Future of Capitalism.
Sir Paul received a knighthood in 2014 for services to promoting research and policy change in Africa and has been listed as one of the hundred most influential public thinkers.
After a decade of arduous economic recovery, the global economy has been brought to its knees by the COVID-19 pandemic, disrupting global value chains and paralyzing trade. There were plenty of warning signs prior to the pandemic. In the domestic arena, corporate and sovereign debt levels soared while manufacturing stagnated. On the international level, protectionism, trade wars, unresolved WTO disputes, and a worldwide inward turn to nationalism posed serious risks and demonstrated the potential for reversing decades of progress. The pandemic did not merely shutter businesses, paralyze supply chains, and stall trade. It also exacerbated pre-existing weaknesses, setting the stage for one of the worst economic collapses in modern history. While policymakers have responded swiftly, including taking radical measures to help prevent the total crumbling of the global economy, their efforts can only be sustained for so long and also give rise to a host of new challenges. What can be done to re-energize the global economy, including managing skyrocketing debt levels? What lessons does the pandemic offer for future preparedness and resilience of the global economy, and how does it inform the design of international supply chains? In times when turning inwards and the notion of strategic sovereignty have gained prominence as risk-mitigating strategies, how can free trade become a part of the solution again?