Past eventResearch Event

The Butterfly Defect: How Globalization Creates Systemic Risks, and What to Do About It

9 September 2014 - 12:45pm to 2:30pm

Chatham House, London


Ian Goldin, Professor, Globalization and Development; Director, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford
Edward Carr, Foreign Editor, The Economist
Chair: John Nugée, Associate Fellow, International Economics, Chatham House 



Global hyperconnectivity and increased system integration have led to vast benefits, including worldwide growth in incomes, education, innovation and technology. But rapid globalization has also created concerns because the repercussions of local events now cascade over national borders and the fallout of financial meltdowns and environmental disasters affects everyone. The Butterfly Defect addresses the widening gap between systemic risks and their effective management. It shows how the new dynamics of turbo-charged globalization has the potential and power to destabilize our societies.

Drawing on the latest insights from a wide variety of disciplines, the speaker asserts that the current complexities of globalization will not be sustainable as surprises become more frequent and have widespread impacts. He will argue that the recent financial crisis exemplifies the new form of systemic risk that will characterize the coming decades, and that systemic risk issues are now endemic everywhere—in supply chains, pandemics, infrastructure, ecology and climate change, economics, and politics. Unless we are better able to address these concerns, the speaker will argue that they will lead to greater protectionism, xenophobia, nationalism and, inevitably, deglobalization, rising conflict, and slower growth.

A welcoming coffee will be served to participants prior to the meeting.