"All for ourselves and nothing for other people seems in every age of the world to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind," said Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations. Either we learn to keep the market but eliminate the rapacity and environmental destructiveness of globalised capitalism or it will destroy us.
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown may have declared the death of the Washington Consensus. However the G20 summit’s decision to entrust the most neoliberal institution of the IMF with overseeing the process suggests we have missed a precious opportunity for radically reforming the global economy.
The media hype over the build-up to the London summit of the Group of 20 representing the world’s biggest economies, and over the meeting’s atmospherics, was dismayingly followed by a stunning silence on the content of its decisions and their implications.
Japanese and Asian movements’ should learn from previous summits and reject attempts to salvage the discredited reputation of the rich nations and instead lead the struggle to make the Hokkaido Summit the final summit of the G8.
The Group of Eight came into being in 1975 as the G7 at a time that the world was embroiled in deep economic crisis, much like today.
Trade, climate change, skyrocketing oil prices, and debt have been the topics of discussion in the parallel civil society events to the Group of Eight Summit, but the issue that has drawn the greatest attention is the Japanese authorities’ heavy handed approach to security for the official gathering.
21,000 police personnel have been deployed to the island of Hokkaido, most of them to the city of Sapporo and nearby Toyako, where the meeting will take place next week.
In Japan, world leaders at the G8 summit have announced they would work toward cutting carbon emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050. The White House hailed the declaration as a major step forward, but environmental campaigners criticized the lack of a commitment to midterm targets. Global warming ties into other big themes, such as soaring food and fuel prices, being discussed at the three-day summit.
After a dozen hours in the air, I’ve been parked for four hours in a series of airless rooms at Tokyo’s Narita airport where an acutely disorganized official dithers and rushes ineffectually from one office to another. First stop was a room with some Mexicans, probably suspected of drug running—they all seem to have been quickly vetted or at least aren’t present in the stage two room. After a long wait, I was admitted to a smaller office for interrogation. I sat across from the ditherer, and spoke to a woman in English via squawk-box, that is, an amplified telephone.
Ogura: A different initiative to mobilize Japanese people against the G8 summit which is taking place in 2008, in Toyako town, Hokkaido Prefecture, is emerging. How do you see the present G8 strategy and what kind of struggle is important and necessary for movements against the G8, especially against the Japanese government that plays a key role in controlling other Asian countries through the G8 and Asian monetary system?