Thursday, July 10, 2008

Gee, how many? International name calling

G8 summits have become an anachronism, with the latest unedifying talkfest likely to be the last, by that name at least. The G8 countries; Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States are no longer the wealthiest or most influential nations. Neither do they represent any sort of realist interest group.

In fact this latest meeting was a G16, including Australia and the G5 emerging powers; Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa. The G5 countries added a valid voice to proceedings, but not one conducive to resolving global problems.

When it comes to global warming for instance the G5 are arguing indignantly they shouldn’t have to forgo the opportunity to enrich their peoples just because the developed countries have bought the planet to the brink. Ok, perhaps not logical, but understandable.

The saddest part of the whole show was the performance of ‘Clown Prince’ George W. Clearly he was just enjoying a junket, and ignoring the attacks on largely US driven policies of the past. Often the outgoing leaders project an air of elder statesman, Bush projected the air of a buffoon.

Some reports

“Don't call it G-13, don't call it G-16,'' said Jose Angel Gurria, a Mexican who is secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in an interview. ``Just keep the quality of the dialogue.''

Every G-5 member will grow faster than the 1.3 percent rate projected for the “advanced economies'' this year, led by China at 9.3 percent and India at 7.9 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund.

“G-8 is an outdated concept,'' said Sung Won Sohn, a former White House economist and retired president of Los Angeles-based Hanmi Financial Corp., the largest Korean-American bank, in an interview. “It is a rich-countries' party. It should be expanded to include key players in the world economy.''

The G-8 represents 870 million people who generate 62 percent of the world's economy. The so-called G-5 developing nations that attended the summit - China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa - account for 11 percent of global output and 2.8 billion people, 41 percent of the world's population.

G-8 criticisms weren't limited to climate. Taking aim at China, the G-8 leaders said some emerging economies are profiting from unfairly undervalued currencies. Countries including India, China and Vietnam also were rebuked for stockpiling foods such as rice and corn to cope with rising prices instead of exporting them.

Setting the scene

The G8 Summit was never always a talkfest, without the means to develop binding agreements. I guess when eight bullies meet that is never really going to happen, but at least gets issues on the table for other forums.

The positive aspect of broadening the range of participants, given nothing concrete can come of the meetings, is that we end up with a more realistic picture of the difficulties we face in resolving the most pressing problems. One of those ‘pictures’ is that the developing economies are going to expect some big sacrifices from us before they talk about climate controls.


D.K. Raed said...

Da nerve of these developing countries to expect us overdeveloped countries to make some serious environmental commitments before they will. It's not like we're any kind of models for them to follow. The opposite, if anything.

I don't know if anything was actually accomplished during this G8 except for Bush once again affirming his status as idiot in chief. like we could ever forget.

Cart said...

Even I felt embarrassed watching Bush