‘Globalisation and hyper-connectivity bring systemic vulnerabilities’

31 October 2013

The risks that our globalised, hyper-connected society face were explored by Professor Ian Goldin, director of the Oxford Martin School, in the first of a series of seminars last Thursday (October 24).

He told the audience that countries were more inter-dependent than ever before, with few understanding the level and complexity of the connections, and that this was brought into stark relief when supply chains broke down.

Discussing geopolitics in light of the publication of Now for the Long Term, the report of the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations, he said the Commission had been formed to look at how to break gridlock in global negotiations, such as on the issue of climate change.

“One of the reasons why global negotiations no longer work is that it’s a reflection of huge success; the rise of new powers, huge increases in income and political power. The US can no longer dominate politics.

“Global distribution of power is much better for the world. The problem is the handover.”

Speaking about balancing individual needs with global responsibilities, he said: “We want people to enjoy the benefits we have of living longer, healthier lives, but at the same time there is increasing food consumption and consumption of natural resources. As people feel the benefits of higher income and democracy they feel they have the right to choose.”