Last week L’Aguila, Italy welcomed world leaders for the Group of 8 summit. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi handpicked this city out of solidarity to the victims of a 6.3 earthquake in April. Despite the fact that 25,000 residents now live in tent cities, the devastated city hurried to accommodate the many leaders and journalists, even rushing a new airport into completion.
On that positive note, the summit began. Throughout the 3-day summit, the G8 leaders – from the United States, Great Britain, Italy, France, Germany, Russia, Japan and Canada – focused on how they could save the world from issues like the global recession, climate change and poverty.
Eventually, the G5, which includes Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, China and India, plus Egypt (for the math whiz G8 + G5 + G1 = G14) were allowed into the discussion. According to the International Monetary Fund, China, India and Brazil are all ranked in the top ten largest economies in the world, so the big question is why wasn’t it the G14 (or G20 or G195) instead of the G8?
The G8 summit is just another way for rich countries like the US and Great Britain to look as if they can take care of everyone. Unfortunately there are 195 countries in the world and while not all countries will agree on the same things, more countries should be involved in deciding what should happen next in this hard economic climate.
Many countries resistant to influence of international governmental organizations (IGOs) like the United Nations because of their Western-centric nature will be no less hesitant to cooperate with the G8 because of the same problem.
Okay, we’ll ignore this and make believe that all the countries get along and everything is perfect and whatever the G8 says goes. Not likely, but let’s pretend and see where it gets us.
Judging by past actions, not very far. In a July 7 Global Post article, Michael Goldfarb tells of a few examples where the G8’s agreements were all talk, no action.
In 2005, then-Prime Minister Tony Blair convinced many of the richest nations to give to some of the poorest. Or so he thought. According to Goldfarb’s article many countries have failed to live up to their pledges.
Another example was in April of this year when members of the G20 agreed to more regulation on banks and caps on executive compensation. So far, the United States and Great Britain have both failed to do much in regards to the promises they made.
The G6 was originally set up in response to the oil crisis of 1973 and the recession that followed. Since 1975 they have been meeting to solve the world’s problems one summit at a time, but these problems are too big to be solved by eight leaders who only like to talk. One hundred eighty-six more would like to be heard.