Introduction: Mitsuhiko Hosaka and James Midgley
In the struggle to provide for themselves and their families, human beings have faced perpetual adversities that have reduced, interrupted or terminated their income or otherwise depleted their assets. These adversities are also known as risks, contingencies, shocks, vulnerabilities or insecurities. Among the most familiar are harmful physical conditions such as sickness, disability, infirmity or death which have particularly serious consequences when they affect those who are primarily responsible for generating household income. Wider adversities such as floods, crop failure, hurricanes, fires and mass violence also have a serious impact upon household incomes and family well-being. In addition, the risks facing many people in the Global South are exacerbated by the fact that they live in conditions of poverty, malnutrition, ill-health, ignorance and oppression.