Swine Flu and Globalization

April 27th, 2009 - 6 Comments

As the number of people killed by swine flu in Mexico continues to climb, the health commissioner for the European Union has warned against non-essential travel to the United States and Mexico. Fariborz Ghadar, director of the Center for Global Business Studies at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, says pandemics such as this will continue to present formidable challenges to world leaders in an age of globalization.

It is estimated that  it took 18 years for the bubonic plague to reach the shores of Europe from its origin in China and another 30  months to reach England from Venice. A couple years ago, when SARS hit Asia, it could have reached  Canada in 72 hours. Now, swine flu from Mexico is discovered in New Zealand before anyone knows what’s going on.

Some developed countries have systems to track, identify, and quarantine outbreaks such as this, but many developing countries simply cannot do it. Compounding the problem is the fact that very few national entities talk to one another. The current infrastructure leaves much to be desired.  To manage potential pandemics, we need  global mechanisms in place beforehand to handle situations like this as they arise, not after.

Ghadar is the co-author of “Global Tectonics: Underlying Trends Shaping the Future of Business.” The book identifies the 12 trends in technology, nature, and society that will present the most formidable challenges in the next 30 years.

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6 Responses to “Swine Flu and Globalization”

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