VAST 297

Human Security as a Global Public Good

Instructor: Gladstone Hutchinson

 Office: 206 Simon

 Office Phone: (610) 330-5304


Course Description: We live in a world of unprecedented opulence, yet one that is filled with remarkable inequality, deprivations and destitutions. The better-off among us generally live much longer and place a higher value on quality-of-life goods like health care, education, a clean and sustainable environment, social security and social equity. The worse-off among us typically suffer persistent and systemic poverty, unfilled elementary needs, violations of basic liberties, live in a worsening and unsustainable natural environment, and experience deteriorations in economic and social lives and capacity for freedom. Technological change and the increasing interactions of nation-states under globalization have, at best, had a mixed impact on this inequality and on the human-induced pressures on the management of the natural environment. Yet all individuals and nation-states are members of the global commons where their actions have potential spillover effects on the lives of other members. In fact, globalization and openness have arguably made the welfare of nation-states and their citizens increasingly interdependent with each other, irrespective of geography, culture, scientific achievements or wealth. Recent examples would include the global systemic risks that were posed by the border crossing of communicable diseases and environmental hazards, the emerging challenges of the green-house effects, and the globalization of financial markets.

This seminar will consider how rising wealth, changing values and advances in science in an era of globalization, openness and increasingly interdependent nation-states and citizens are causing spillover effects in public health, environmental management and wealth inequality to be more pronounced, and as a result, are pressuring for a re-design of international cooperation and governance over the global commons and global public goods. The analysis will center on the economics, political economy and sociology of collective goods, and will discuss the notion of property-rights and private goods within the context of the changing global governance architecture.