Having recognized the damage that the coronavirus has done to the U.S. economy, Jim Glassman, managing director and head economist for commercial banking at JPMorgan Chase & Co., took a forward look into the future during a May 15 virtual-conference with members of the Southeast U.S. Korean Chamber of Commerce
“Rewriting of the globalization story” may be in the works, he said, including “smarter globalization,” and even “global cool.”
By “smarter” he referenced stronger strategic plans, especially those of pharmaceutical companies, which will want to focus on manufacturing in the U.S., closer to their clients. The awareness of testing and tracing may spill over from the anti-coronavirus practices to businesses resulting in evolving efficiencies.
While anticipating a bump in near-shoring strategies he opposed any sort of “blame game” on China and even India because the opportunities will be too important and too large for U.S. businesses.
“All would be better off if the world around us is not so poor,” he said. “There should be a lot of benefit for everybody.”
Acknowledging the suffering of the service sector and the damage done to revenues of state and local governments, he remained optimistic that the larger, more secure companies would weather the challenges to be faced.
As for the “global cool” aspect of his remarks, he cited the attitudes “of the young, who don’t feel as threatened.” Because the COVID-19 threat has been a global attack by “an enemy of the planet” requiring global cooperation to defeat it, there will be a greater recognition of the interdependence of countries and the need to work together,” he said.
He recalled the country’s ability to rebound after the Sept. 11 attack. “We got used to it,” he added, with it meaning a recognition that despite the changes which had to be made to accommodate the threats of terrorism, life had to go on. A similar attitude would come to play, according to Mr. Glassman, “as soon as we have a vaccine.”
In response to a question from Consul Kwangsuk Lee from the Korean consulate about the ability of the U.S. to provide a leadership role in safeguarding the resiliency of global supply chains, he underscored the need for leadership which he said he thinks would come from the private sector.
“There is a need for articulation of a common interest,” he said. “The business community will have to drive this debate, to provide a coordinated message.”
He agreed that the U.S. will face enormous amounts of debt, which, he said, may take a decade to play out with the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates low. Some level of inflation will be inevitable, he predicted.
Mr. Glassman did have some encouragement for Steven Stirling, president and CEO of MAP International, the global Christian health and relief organization, who asked about the future of charitable giving around the world.
“I don’t really know the right answer,” he admitted, saying, however, that since the financial markets “hadn’t cratered” and that many of the “big givers” were surviving, they should be able “to generate a lot of goodwill.”
To learn more about the Southeast U.S. Korean Chamber, click here.