International Business – Covid 19 and its effects on culture, trade& political economy

1. Culture – Over the past couple of months, people all over the world have had to undertake
‘social distancing’ which has seen contact even between close family members seriously
curtailed, if not prohibited, outside of their homes. This has meant that many of
the cultural rituals that have historically punctuated and gave meaning to our
lives have had to be delayed, modified or cancelled altogether. This has included birthdays,
graduations, weddings and funerals in addition to various religious celebrations that happen
daily, weekly, annually or otherwise. How have you had to modify, delay or cancel cultural
activities over this time and what, if anything, have you learned about the
meaning/significance of these events as a result? How might have ‘social distancing’
practices affected other groups or cultures differently from what you have experienced? To
what extent do you feel virtual participation can replace physical presence at cultural

2. Political Economy – The Covid-19 pandemic has forced governments around the
world, including Canada’s, to make interventions into their economies in ways which may
have never seemed possible just a few months ago. This has included paying most of the
wages of workers in private enterprises, curtailing the legal rights of landlords to evict or
punish their renters, and closing large parts of their economies altogether. This has happened
in countries who perceive themselves to be in favour of a limited role of government, such as
the United States, and others which are officially socialist, such as China. What have these
actions taught you about the differences in the political and economic ideologies of
countries? Have your opinions on what the role of the ‘state’ should be in the economies of

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3.Trade – The Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated how interconnected the world is with
respect to the trade in goods and the flow of people. While countries, such as Canada, have
closed their borders to all but essential travel by people, they have remained open to trade.
While people have been required to ‘stay home’ and even ‘shelter in place’, Amazon has had
to hire 100,000 workers to keep the flow of goods moving internationally. How has
international trade assisted in the international response to the pandemic? Has this
strengthened the arguments in favour of international trade? What, if any, weaknesses
in the global trading system has the pandemic identified?

Essay Assignment
● Intends to build students analytical, research and writing skills
● 3500 words (7 pages long single spaced with 1” margins and 12 point font)
● Students are expected to conduct a significant amount of research
– Perhaps 10 or more newspaper stories, or 5 or more academic
papers/government reports

● Unlike the case study with its highly specified structure, students are responsible for
developing an appropriate structure for their essay assignment
– Some heading and sub-headings will probably be useful
● You may want to do some preliminary research on each of the three proposed topics
before you decide which one to prepare

● Research – 5 marks
– Quality and quantity of sources used
– Appropriate use of supporting documentation
1. All statistics, figures and factual arguments should be supported with
references to original works
● Presentation – 5 marks
– Formatting, spelling, grammar etc.
– Clarity of arguments, appropriate use of headings and sub-headings to
organize thoughts/issues

● Content – 20 marks
– The extent to which the student has considered all relevant aspects of the topic
they have studied
– The extent to which the student has balanced their arguments – provided
differing opinions or interpretations of certain factual information
– Students should aspire towards a depth of argument rather than superficially
identifying a breadth of arguments

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