The G8 group of the world’s richest nations is a dinosaur which should be put out of its misery, the British anti-poverty charity War on Want said yesterday.
It says the group should be scrapped in favour of a democratic alternative based on people’s needs, not corporate greed.
The call came as the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the other G8 leaders prepare to start their three-day summit in the Italian earthquake-hit city of L’Aquila today (Wednesday).
War on Want cites German chancellor Angela Merkel’s comment that “the G8 format is no longer adequate”.
But the charity says Merkel’s proposal to extend the G8 to the G20, including the largest developing countries, ignores the fact that both groups have championed the free market policies which caused the world economic crisis.
John Hilary, executive director of War on Want, said: “It is time to put the G8 dinosaur out of its misery and to recognise that even the G20 is already past its sell-by date. Both the G8 and G20 continue to promote the free market policies which are increasing global poverty. We need a new body with a radical new plan for the world’s economy, drawn up and backed by the full membership of the United Nations.”
War on Want points to a wide consensus that the present crisis is the result of structural imbalances caused by three decades of deregulated free-market capitalism. It highlights the need for the world economic system to undergo a major transformation.
But, the charity says, the G20 used the London summit in April to resurrect the failed policies and institutions of the free market era.
The London summit gave even more power to three institutions which, the charity claims, have policed the neoliberal world order – the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation.
War on Want cites the findings of an expert commission, chaired by the Nobel Economic Science laureate Joseph Stiglitz, which has devised a series of radical recommendations for global economic reform.
Proposals presented to the UN summit on the financial crisis in June included a global economic coordination council within the UN. War on Want claims this would bring a more just and sustainable form of global economic coordination than that which is now practised by the WTO, IMF and World Bank.
According to the charity, the UN process offers a democratic alternative which would enable those least responsible for the crisis to make fair and effective decisions on the future of the world economy.