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Press release No. 73/2016, 2016-03-18 | zur deutschen Fassung | print version | Search

The Consequences of Globalization

2.2 million Euros for new Leibniz ScienceCampus

A new joint ScienceCampus strengthens the cooperation between the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) and Kiel University (CAU). This was decided by the Senate of the Leibniz Association in Berlin yesterday (Thursday 17 March). As such, the new “Kiel Centre for Globalization” (KCG) will receive subsidies of around 2.2 million Euros over the next four years. The shared centre run by the IfW and the CAU is one of three new ScienceCampi in Kiel, and will be researching the consequences of globalization, both positive and negative, with a focus on the growing worldwide supply chains. The Leibniz Association will contribute around 730,000 Euros to the research project. The IfW and the CAU will contribute around 650,000 and 630,000 Euros respectively. A further 200,000 Euros is being provided by the state Schleswig-Holstein. In addition to the KCG, the Senate of the Leibniz Association has established two other ScienceCampi in Kiel. Kiel University's cooperation partners here are the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN) and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology (MPI) in Plön.

Worldwide supply chains, the so-called “global supply chains”, are a key element of globalization. They describe complex processes, from the creation of a product or service right through to its arrival at the end customer. In the globalized world, these supply chains have an ever-increasing influence on the growth of industrialised and developing nations. While production and trade across borders leads to almost blanket supply, meaning that the market for products from industrialised nations is ever-growing, smaller states gain access to the international markets through specialisation. “But trade and production on an international level don't only have winners, but also losers and undesirable side-effects,” explained the spokesperson of the KCG, Professor Holger Görg, who leads the research area “The Global Division of Labour ” at the IfW, and holds the Chair of Foreign Trade at Kiel University. “The Kiel Centre for Globalization therefore has the goal of researching the diverse international venues of trade and production, and to deduce scientifically sound recommendations for political and societal decision-making processes,” continued Görg.

“I am certain that the new Kiel Centre of Globalization will be a further showcase of top-level research in the north, because the cooperation between Kiel University and the Institute for the World Economy will focus on the key issues in the global economy,” said Minister of Science Kristin Alheit. “Globalization is changing business and society every day. This makes it even more important for the north that a contribution towards understanding the fundamental changes emanates from the cosmopolitan port city of Kiel. The Leibniz Association's decision shows the way for the future. Politics requires advice.”

Three scientific disciplines will tackle the topic at the KCG, with 8 professors, a post-doc and 8 doctoral candidates. In addition to traditional global economic and business management issues, ethical aspects of globalization will also be investigated. A sad example of these kinds of negative effects, from a global economic, business and ethical perspective, is the collapse of the 8-storey factory building Rana Plaza in Bangladesh (2013), in which more than 1,100 people were killed. “In the competition for investment and production sites, countries such as Bangladesh undercut each other, at the cost of working and safety conditions, and ultimately at the cost of their own welfare,” explained Görg. By-products of this global production also include long shipping distances, that waste energy and resources and thereby accelerate climate change.

In order to provide a broader base for discussion for facilitating public debates and political decision-making, the KCG will particularly scrutinise supply chains that are perceived to be unfair. How do consumers and producers deal with allegedly unfair production? What moral responsibility do the consumers bear, in particular? What is unfair production? Answers to questions such as these should be the foundation for new economic models, with which deficits such as a lack of sustainability, minimal investments or wage gaps can be systematically represented. This theoretical approach will be supplemented by empirical and ethical investigations, to determine the extent of unfair production.

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Leibniz ScienceCampi aim to promote cooperation in university and non-university research. They enable thematically-focused teamwork between Leibniz institutions and universities in the form of equal, complementary, regional partnerships. The networks conduct strategic research, encourage interdisciplinarity in their topics, projects and methods, enhance the visibility of the respective location and strengthen its research profile. To date there were 12 such associations in Germany.

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