chapter  13
28 Pages

Border Crossings

ByJeanne X. Kasperson, Roger E. Kasperson

In a world careening towards a single global economy and a relentlessly interactive world communication system and popular monoculture, it is apparent that, ever increasingly, the sources of health and environmental risks that confront individual nation states and other political units lie beyond their political boundaries. Technological change – such as the creation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and innovations in cybernetic systems – proceeds with widening scales of impact and repercussions beyond national borders, and the effects are becoming ubiquitous worldwide (French, 2000). As symbolized by the political turmoil at the World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings in Seattle in the US in 1999, international trade, finance and resource regimes are assuming greater importance in the allocation of global risk. International risk management accords, such as the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the harmonization of regulation in the European Community, portend significant international intrusion into the structure of national industrial systems and policy. Meanwhile, political change reveals divergent trends as greater integration pertains in some arenas (e.g. the European Community), while greater political fragmentation prevails in many others (e.g. the new states of central Asia), amid a concurrent weakening of national state structure and a strengthening of non-governmental civil society.