Thursday, October 2, 2014

The unseen costs of globalization

The Ebola situation in West Africa has brought to light an interesting fact about our modern, globalized economy: though massive trade has enabled incredible increases in human welfare, it has dramatically increased the potential for contagious diseases to spread to scales unprecedented in history. Other costs associated with globalization--environmental destruction, cultural flux--are more visible and generate more sustained political salience.

And interesting fact about pandemic risk is that the best way to defend against it is more of the very thing that creates it: trade and development. Richer individuals and economies are more resilient to disruptions caused by disease, and higher-quality political institutions can better cope with potential outbreaks through public health and law & order efforts.

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