What kind of message do we want to see following the upcoming June meetings of the G8/G20 in Ontario? More of the same is dangerous for humanity. Activists are already readying themselves to raise consciousness about the issues at stake.
As usual the G8/G20 meetings will work out a communiqué in advance setting out points of agreement. Specialists reading between the lines will bring out the points of disagreement. There is another way of looking at the issues we all face together. Below is a draft communiqué offered in the spirit of bringing our a "frank exchange of views" prior to the Canadian G20 summit in Toronto and G8 in Muskoka.
The globalization of solidarity
1. The economy is principally about people working together to meet each other's needs, not about accumulation by the few, for themselves.
2. Work belongs to those who produce, who create, and who serve others.
3. Prices for primary and manufactured products require long-term contracts, and should not be set by auction.
4. Reversing the unjust distribution of power and resources requires international co-operation in service of national development, and vibrant local economies, not subordination to American hegemony.
5. Environmental and social costs affect all and cannot be treated as external to price formation. Natural justice requires green taxes and regulations. Prosecution of pollution violations is in the common interest. Green plans are essential for human development.
6. Human development means defeating illiteracy, disease, and hunger. Citizens' rights to healthcare, education, and the provision of basic public services, including income support for those in need, are universal and irrevocable.
7. Redistribution of wealth and income is an important economic objective. It needs to be supported through fair, transparent taxation. Public expenditure budgets represent a common fund for the common good.
8. Speculation, and manipulation of paper assets, are not authentic sources of wealth. Finance must be locally controlled and regulated by national sovereignty.
9. The perverse flow of international capital from poor countries to rich reflects unequal power relations, not sound economic principles. The current account deficit of the United States is unsustainable, not the deficits of the poor countries of the world. Rich countries should adjust their policies to meet the needs of the poor, and not, as prevails today, the reverse.
10. Because we trade only with ourselves, the world cannot have a balance of trade surplus or deficit. It is unreasonable to expect all countries to show balance of trade surpluses at the same time. Rather than asking indebted countries to export themselves out of debt, it is preferable to expect substantial debt relief, and the extension of low cost credit for international trades and development.
The United Nations declared the 1960s the first development decade. This should be the decade of democracy, without which there can be no human development or common security. The citizens of the world deserve to live together in global solidarity for justice, equality and freedom.