Globalization- Weekly Roundup, June 21, 2011

The G20 Summit for Agricultural Ministers is meeting in Paris today.  Luckily, on the East coast of the U.S. we are six hours behind Paris so there is already plenty of news.  Below are some highlights and key issues:

  • FOOD SECURITY.  The main reason for this meeting is to discuss ways to combat volatile food prices and rising levels of hunger.  According to recent U.N. statistics:
    • "...although the world would need to produce 70 per cent more food by 2050 to feed its population, agricultural production was expected to slow to 1.7 per cent a year in the decade to 2020."
  • The continued debate over using farmland for biofuels or crops; is it exacerbating rising food prices and thereby world hunger?  Or is it a necessary component of combating global warming that will actually stimulate food production by boosting agricultural investment?  This blog by Caroline Henshaw for the Wall Street Journal details the arguments on both sides.

 Some U.S. Industries on the 3FTAs:

The three free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia are being vigorously opposed by the United Steelworkers.  Their letter to Congress can be found here.  Their position is:

"These three FTA’s will undermine our economic recovery, further decimate American manufacturing and jobs and deepen the economic insecurity and devastation faced by workers across the country."

On the other hand, major dairy groups support the measures.  The CEO of the National Corn Growers Association, Mr. Rick Tolman also spoke out in support of the FTAs, saying:

"Developing new markets for our country’s agricultural products will help our sector lead the nation in economic growth and international competitiveness.”

On globalization and health:

  • Yanzhong Huang recently published an article for the Council on Foreign Relations on the globalization of food safety issues, especially as it relates to China.  Continuing on the theme, the FDA fears that spending cuts will threaten its ability to ensure food safety.

Globalization, human rights, and business:

  • Ulrike Mast-Kirschning with Deutsche Welle interviewed John Ruggie, professor of international affairs at Harvard Law School and the UN secretary general’s special representative for business and human rights on his "guiding principles" for protecting human rights in a globalized economy, which the UN Human Rights Council recently endorsed.  The interview can be found here and the full text of Ruggie's guiding principles here.

According to Edward Glaeser's Bloomberg article, even in today's globalized internet age spatial proximity still matters, as evidenced by many companies moving back to the big cities despite all their electronic innovations that allow them to do so much remotely.  Glaeser's article explains why.

And finally, even baseball, long considered to be America's pastime is becoming more globalized as well.

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