What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us
Shelf Life

The bitter pill of globalization

Kai Ryssdal Jan 7, 2013
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Shelf Life

The bitter pill of globalization

Kai Ryssdal Jan 7, 2013
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The thing that makes it possible for you to have a cup of coffee made from beans grown in Costa Rica or Ethiopia, or to wear a shirt of Egyptian cotton that was made in Indonesia also brings with it some downsides.

Like flu pandemics, SARS — and if you go back in history far enough — the plague.

Mark Harrison says during the first outbreaks of plague in Europe, the locals knew the sickness had something to do with the arrival of merchant ships, even if they didn’t know the biological causes behind it.

But it can be tricky to balance economic needs with public health safety. Harrison says, “It’s hard to quantify how much trade is lost but it’s clear that trade is adversly affected by quarantines of all kinds.”

There’s no undoing globalization. It’s all about risk management.

“I think we can do that in a way that doesn’t disrupt the international economy as much as it does at the moment.” Harrison says current policy of quarantines and sanitary embargoes leave much to be desired both when it comes to public health and when it comes to trade policy.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.