The G8 summit and the anti-poverty movement

Written on June 7, 2007 by Max Oliva in Development

J.Pozuelo-Monfort, MSc candidate in economic development at LSE.
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The seven most industrialized countries of the world and Russia conform the so-called G8, which until recently excluded Russia and was denominated G7. A group of grand countries that operate as a de facto world government, setting an agenda that impacts the world’s population as a whole. This is why G8 meetings are so much followed. This is why G8 meetings are so crucial and deserve so much attention.
The so-called anti-globalists or anti-G8 groups have shown fierce opposition not only to this meeting, but also to prior meetings involving the G8, the IMF, the World Bank or the World Trade Organisation. The last three represent the Institutions that foster the spreading of the Washington Consensus, the neoliberal agenda based on minimisation of fiscal deficits, austere economic policies, privatisation of core industries, elimination of tariffs, promotion of trade, and opening to international financial flows.
The so-called anti-globalists or anti-G8 are really anti-povertists or anti-poverty groups. Nothing else. They represent a growing share of the population unhappy about the direction and the extent of the policies set by the only super power and its main commercial allies. Unhappy because it seems that the international foreign agenda of the only super power and its energy needs set the direction of what is done by the rest of governments. Unhappy because the IMF and the World Bank are pseudo-international institutions that falsely represent the true interests of the world’s poorest countries, and being established in Washington, are more concerned with keeping the United States and its policy makers happy.
In his radio address of last weekend President George Walker Bush talked about his trip to Europe to attend the G8 summit. He mentioned, to my own surprise, that he would bring up global warming to address its impact and propose a plan for change. Plain words. No commitment. No engagement. No accountability. Our leaders no longer represent the will of their citizens. Our leaders no longer work to solve the world’s real problems. Poverty. Hunger. Global Warming. That is what the anti-poverty movement is all about. Organisations such as Oxfam and Attac only pursue the dream of a better world.
Demand commitment from your political representatives. Demand engagement from your political representatives. Demand accountability from your political representatives. And if they do not deliver, react accordingly. This society of the XXI century has to be sustainable. And the current policies set by the interests of the industrialized nations do not seem to be in line with what a majority of the world’s population wishes to see.


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