Globalization, Risk, and Responsibility / by Simmon Li

Just some short notes for myself. Globalization as a process seeks to create an interdependent community of countries/supplier-producers/communities/etc. This sounds like a good thing (and it is for productivity and output), but there it also increases risk. What happens as people offload production and specialize is they take on risk. Whether that risk is the loss of general knowledge, the risk of depending on a volatile market, or the risk of dependency, what globalization does is two fold. It increases linkages of people while at the same time pooling their risk. Each specific community takes on more and more risk for presumably greater benefits. To be sure, globalization has its benefits, but the downsides are not talked about at all. This is a question that I don't think has been explored deeply enough. If prosperity follows from globalization, it is arguably distributed in a way that is disproportionate. But if some people prosper, others bear the risk that enables that prosperity. Who bears the risk? I would argue that the risk is disproportionately borne by the poor. Curiously, we see a pattern where prosperity and risk that comes with globalization seem to flow to different groups on a socio-economic spectrum. Systemically, the risk bearing groups tend to be those marginalized or diminished by the system. In 2008, the tax payers bore the risk. In world food markets, the Global South bears the risk. In domestic politics, it is those that are unable to participate in the system that bear the risks. Where does the prosperity go? I'd think that it tends to flow the opposite way.