How do we reform the international political system? One new radical solution that has emerged as a response to traditional Keynesianism is a multipolar anti-imperialist framework. Keynesians believe that the global governance institutions -- the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO) -- can function as regulatory bodies that exhibit greater accountability, transparency and access to decision-making by developing country governments. Thus, if the global governance institutions operate according to guidelines that are rational, rather than ideological or power-driven, then they can become key, responsible actors on the global stage and we can build a world of peacefully interacting national capitalisms.
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What to do next is the policy question every government must face. In Canada, like elsewhere, more of the same -- a.k.a. nothing at all -- is a popular answer. Radical change is seldom a preferred course of action. And yet, for over 30 years, neoliberal radical change is what has been on the world agenda. We are now grappling with the unhappy results. The bleak outlook for the future is unlikely to improve unless a new and equally radical policy orientation is chosen.
Attending last week's G8 summit hosted by American President Barrack Obama, Prime Minister Stephen Harper characterized the Canadian economy this way: "Thanks to strong fundamentals, Canada's economy is performing exceptionally well by international standards."
The statement is simply not true. Economic fundamentals in Canada reveal growing inequalities, stagnant incomes, high unemployment, and for 2011, a 2.2 per cent economic growth rate (after inflation) that according to an agency popular in Canadian Conservative Party circles -- the CIA -- puts Canada 149th out of 215 countries in the world.