Should the G20 have a wider agenda? Yes it should!
In the last couple of days, Alistair Darling has issued a letter to fellow G20 chancellors setting out his agenda for the G20’s work over the next three months. It’s rather technical (but necessary) stuff about regulation of the finance sector and ensuring its viability, and there’s nothing much wrong with that. But will it set the pulses racing, and more importantly, will it be enough? No. And his fellow socialist Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia, explains why in the Financial Times.
Rudd’s article, “Leaders must act together to solve the crisis”, sets out why we need a global response to the crisis, not least to prevent a damaging spiral of falling demand and protectionism. There’s also a cheeky little subtext about why the G20 (which represents over 60% of the world’s population, including Australia) is better than the G8 (which represents less than a quarter of that sum – and, would you believe it, doesn’t include Australia – but forgive him that!)
Rudd’s argument is that we need to focus not just on what will happen in the G8 – unemployment, closures, repossessions, poverty etc – but what will happen across the planet: changes that will make poverty permanent in the global south. Included in that is the issue of climate change, and the need for any growth to be sustainable and low carbon.
It has become a welcome mantra from most socialist politicians that solving this global crisis cannot be done at home alone, or even among the rich country clubs like the OECD and the G8. The solution to this problem must address poverty and inequality north and south, and combating climate change cannot be parked while we do it.
When the G20 comes to London on 2 April, we need to greet world leaders with a major mobilisation to show that the world must change, and a narrow agenda that focuses on technical fixes is not enough.