Winners and Losers in the Context of Global Change
The idea that global change produces winners and losers is widely accepted. Yet there have been few systematic discussions of what is meant by “winner” or “loser,” and little attention has been given to the theoretical underpinnings behind identification of winners and losers. This is particularly true within global-change literature, where the phrase “winners and losers” is widely and rather loosely used. In this article, we explore the concept of winners and losers in the context of two aspects of global change: economic globalization and climate change. We first identify two major underlying theoretical perspectives on winners and losers: one suggests that winners and losers are natural and inevitable; the other suggests that winners and losers are socially and politically generated. We then apply these perspectives to current research on global change and demonstrate that they play a decisive role, influencing opinions on what winning and losing entails, who winners and losers are, and how winners and losers should be addressed.