A Meeting of the Rich and Aspiring

The G20 meeting that ended today in Kleinmond, South Africa represents the countries that account for more than 85 percent of the world’s GDP and about two third’s of the world’s population. The G20, formed in 1999 in the aftermath of the Asian crisis is both an attempt by the “core” capitalist countries to include emerging economies like China, India, Brazil and South Africa (among others) as junior partners as well as an attempt by the ruling elites in these countries to grab more at the expense of smaller ones. As Shawn Hattingh points out, 80 countries in the world are now poorer than they were in the 1970s and the poorest 48 countries now account for just .4 percent of the world trade in a world where the richest 400 people own more than the poorest 3 billion.

At the Kleinmond meeting, the G20 will also be discussing the possibility of implementing a number of reforms within the World Bank and the IMF.  However, the reforms that have been suggested by the G20 countries are only superficial.  The largest countries of the South involved in the G20, such as South Africa, Brazil, China, and India, want to reform the World Bank and the IMF in order to receive greater voting rights for themselves within these institutions. They have, however, not called for equal voting rights for all countries in IMF and the World Bank, which is significant.(link)

The same article also points to the growing disparities within the world.

While most of the G20 countries are now richer than ever under neo-liberal globalisation; as many as 80 other countries are now poorer than they were in the 1970s. Although trade has increased under the global neo-liberal ‘free’ trade regime, it has only been an elite who have benefited.  The portion of exports from the poorest countries has declined markedly.  In fact, the poorest 48 countries now only account for 0.4% of global exports.  This is because the industries in these countries have been destroyed by imports flooding in under the banner of ‘free’ trade.  All of this translates into a world of growing inequality: a world where the richest 400 people, the new global capitalist aristocracy, now have more money than the poorest 3 billion people combined.

A guide to the Gs of the world- G7,G10,G20 and a link to the ‘hot topics’ in today’s meeting in South Africa.

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