1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: The Social Effects of Globalization

Economic Globalization, Institutional Change and Human Security



Recent years have witnessed a marked acceleration in the tempo of globalization. Its scope has also widened beyond the realm of economy to embrace the domains of social, cultural and political norms and practices. This powerful thrust has been associated with far-reaching consequences for economic well-being, social structures and political processes in countries around the world. The different parts of the world have become so interdependent in so many ways that it is no longer possible to understand their socio-economic problems, much less to do something about them, without taking into account the play of global forces. The process of globalization has been accompanied by major changes in the role and responsibilities of a wide range of institutions — families, communities, civil society institutions, business corporations, states and supranational organizations. One of the important consequences of the changes associated with globalization has been increased insecurity at the level of the individual and the family. This, in turn, not only affects individual welfare, but has broader economic, social and political impacts as well. This paper considers the sources and consequences of human insecurity and explores some of the policy and institutional alternatives for its mitigation.

The paper begins with a discussion of the concept and processes of globalization. It then looks briefly at the principal socio-economic, political and institutional consequences of accelerated globalization. These are brought together to assess their impact on human security. Some of the principal effects of increased human insecurity are outlined before considering policy and institutional reforms to ameliorate individual security. In view of the vast scope of the themes covered in the paper, it has been possible only to consider the broad picture, omitting important supporting evidence and necessary qualifications.
  • Publication and ordering details
  • Pub. Date: 1 Nov 1997
    Pub. Place: Geneva
    ISSN: 1012-6511
    From: UNRISD