Pondering the Effect of “Risk, Global Governance and Security.”

One of the many lessons that has been entrenched over the course of the semester is that the discourse surrounding multinational corporations is changing. One of the themes highlighted regarding this change is how they are emerging as contributors in global governance, which can be defined as “the long history of attempts to shape and regulate an otherwise anarchic international system” (Heng and McDonagh, 2009, p.37). Understanding the concept of risk in relation to global governance provides another mechanism in dissecting why MNCs would concern themselves with such a phenomenon. MNCs, as has been previously discussed, tend to prioritize maximizing benefits for themselves. This takes priority above all other aspects of their dealings, which sometimes concern an appreciation for human rights. This mindset can be seen as beneficial when their interests overlap with that of states. Historically, a key event can help to portray this idea, which occurred on September 11, 2001.

There is no denying that the terrorist attacks on that day made America and the rest of the world uneasy. It also provided an opportunity to discuss the lingering effects and the subsequent aftermath. The concept of “risk” is a troubling one for any citizen in any society, but it is even more worrisome for MNCs. Within the discourse, “one often finds references to “governing by risk and governing terrorism through risk. Clearly, the implication is that risk can bring about new forms of governance, oriented towards reducing vulnerabilities and averting an uncertain future” (Heng and McDonagh, 2009, p.37). In lecture, an example was used in describing how the events of 9/11 set in motion a willingness for MNCs to work with governments. This example, though briefly touched on, still is crucial in modern society as the effect has remained the same. There remains an emphasis on partnership between business and governments in regards to sharing their skills, while the language of stability has transformed into a language of a need among states and MNCs and other actors to avoid “systemic discontinuities” (Crawford, 2019). The promotion of world peace is an interest that overlaps between both governments and non-state actors.

In the world today, this aspect of the course material can still be seen in one of the more complex cases of the current President of the United States being a MNC himself. Society now sees this phenomenon in their everyday life, even considering how certain MNCs (Bechtel) are comprised of political elites.


Crawford, R. (2019, January 29). US Power and Multinational Corporations. Retrieved from Political Science 372A: https://blogs.ubc.ca/a12012/files/2019/03/POLI-372A-Lecture-Week-5.pdf 

Heng, Y.K. and Mcdonagh, K. (2009). Risk, Global Governance and Security. In Risk, Global Governance and Security: The Other War on Terror. London: Routledge. 


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