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SONAR 2024: New Emerging Risk Insights

The Swiss Re Institute, the research arm of Swiss Re Reinsurance, harnesses their risk knowledge in re/insurance to produce data driven research with partner organizations, shared via publications such as SONAR. SONAR is an annual publication that focuses on outlining emerging risks based on early signals gathered throughout the year. The 2024 SONAR report features […]

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Economic Globalization’s Polycrisis

Eric Helleiner defines polycrisis as “a cluster of distinct crises that interact in ways that they and/or their effects tend to reinforce each other” and argues that economic globalization is experiencing a polycrisis made up of five constituent crises: the deepening trade war between the United States and China; the move towards national self-sufficiency in

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How useful is the concept of polycrisis? Lessons from the development of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit during the COVID-19 pandemic

The authors examine domestic policymaking processes amidst polycrisis by tracing the Canadian government’s development of its Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) during the Covid-19 pandemic. They argue that the process embodied three key best practices for national-level policy design in a crisis—policy integration, learning, and agility—and show how these elements evade capture by the polycrisis

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Let’s Avoid ‘Trigger Fixation’

The authors argue that a trigger event can’t start a crisis by itself; some underlying stress or stresses must also be operating. They contend that leaders should pay far more attention to these stresses, because they’re ultimately far more important. The original title of the article was “Let’s Avoid ‘Trigger Fixation.” The Globe and Mail

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Why the World Feels so Unstable Right Now

Tim Palmer discusses the challenges of predicting events in nonlinear systems that, by nature, experience intermittent instabilities, as in the famous “butterfly effect”. Today, continued emissions are increasing the instabilities and uncertainties of climate change, while the economy and global health exhibit similar non-linearities. To deal with such uncertainties, he advocates ensemble prediction systems that

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World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2023

Global Risks Report 2023

This 18th edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report is based on a risk perceptions survey of 1200 experts on the likelihood, severity, and interconnections between 37 global risks. It finds that the biggest risk in the next two years is the cost of living crisis, and the biggest risk in the next

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Megathreats: Ten Dangerous Trends that Imperil Our Future and How to Survive Them

The author defines megathreats as “severe problems that could cause vast damage and misery and cannot be solved quickly or easily” (p. 4). “We are facing megathreats unlike anything we have faced before… [and] they overlap and reinforce one another” (p. 5). Roubini explores ten megathreats: debt accumulation and debt traps; easy money and financial crises;

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An Embarrassment of Changes: International Relations and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Mathew Davies and Christopher Hobson argue that the COVID-19 pandemic is part of an ongoing polycrisis that requires significant changes to the ways in which the discipline of International Relations understands the world. They propose that “Polycrisis is a way of capturing the tangled mix of challenges and changes [that] closely interact with one another,

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The Power of Crisis: How Three Threats – And Our Response – Will Change the World

Ian Bremmer argues that the world faces three major crises—pandemics, climate change, and disruptive technologies (AI, lethal autonomous weapons, cyberwarfare, and biotechnology)—but our ability to respond effectively is hampered by broken American politics and the worsening rivalry between the United States and China. The three crises, however, present an opportunity and the necessary impetus for

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