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Global Ethics Corner: 2011 Top Risks and Ethical Decisions

Friday, January 21, 2011

The annual announcement from the Eurasia Group of 2011's top global risks is here.

All have ethical implications, but many don't require fundamental ethical choices, like no. 2, "a messy euro-zone," or no. 5, "North Korea."

Others have serious underlying ethical components.

Risk no. 1 is the "g-zero." This is shorthand for a multi-polar world. "In the g-zero, the world's major powers set aside aspirations for global leadership...and look primarily inward for their policy priorities. Key institutions that provide global governance become arenas not for collaboration but for confrontation." Ethically the choice would be against international public goods and for national goals.

Risk no. 3 is "cybersecurity and geopolitics." "The principal cybersecurity concern of governments has shifted from al-Qaeda and China to radicalized info-anarchists undertaking a debilitating attack against...critical infrastructure, a key government agency, or a pillar of the private financial system." The security needs are in tension with personal privacy, freedom of speech, internet transparency, and open communications.

Other risks with significant ethical dimensions include: no. 4, "China," which presents fundamentally different choices about the role of governments and of individuals; and no. 10 "emerging markets—not everyone is a winner," which highlights issues of wealth creation and distribution.

What do you think? Look on the internet at http://eurasiagroup.net/pages/top-risks and see if you agree about the fundamental issues in 2011?

By William Vocke


Photo Credits in order of Appearance:

Carnegie Council
Nick Kocharhook
Cherie Cullen/ U.S. Defense Department
Carnegie Council
E Pluribus Anthony
Yann Forget
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
New Media Days / Peter Erichsen
Takver
Yves Doutreligne
Ricardo Stuckert/PR
Eurasia Group
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