Top Risks and Ethical Decisions 2010

January 8, 2010

The Eurasia Group identified ten top global risks for business in 2010.

Some are essentially geopolitical or geo-economic issues like #3, the threats to the fiscal integrity of the European Euro-zone economies, or like #7, for Brazil, the impact of upcoming elections on the economy.

Many other risks also have an underlying ethical component.

Risk #1 is U.S.-China relations. Structural economic pressures of currencies, jobs, exports, and growth strategies divide the countries, as well as the role of global actors, of stakeholders, regarding climate change, cyber-security, nuclear proliferation, et cetera. Underneath are fundamentally different ethical choices about the roles of governments and individuals.

Risk #2 is Iran and in particular their domestic, regional, and global challenges. However, fundamental ethical choices surface in both the relationship of religion to governance and in the efficacy of building nuclear weapons.

Risk #4 is U.S. financial regulation. Here the basic ethical issues revolve around the importance of protecting individuals versus allowing unfettered markets. How can public goods be provided without excessive restrictions on liberty?

Other risks with significant ethical dimensions include #6, climate change, and #8, India-Pakistan.

These risks should be understood not just as political and economic, but also as the basic choices they highlight.

Look on the internet at and see if you agree. What do you think the fundamental issues are for 2010?

By William Vocke

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