Dale Wiehoff, Guest Blogger
On September 3 and 4, a large-scale international Counter Summit, intended as an alternative to the September Summit of the G-20, will be held in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is taking place at the Международный Деловой Центр, nab.reki Smolenki 2, and is organized by the Post Globalization Initiative. The Summit’s ambition is to develop new principles of economic and social policy which are not based on the Washington Consensus. As part of the Summit, world renowned experts, economists, politicians and social scientists from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas will come together for panel discussions, seminars, and public lectures, including Dr. Steve Suppan of IATP. Dr. Suppan will address speculation in commodity markets.
Counter Summits have a tradition of their own. These major international democratic events are commonly held in response to the elites’ G-20 and G-8 Summits and represent alternative points of view on the most pressing social issues. The St. Petersburg Counter Summit is especially important in light of the ongoing global economic crisis. It will suggest ways to solve the problems associated with the crisis of U.S. hegemony, “free trade” and the WTO.
Since the 1980s, neoliberal (neoconservative) ultra-market-oriented policy has been implemented throughout the world, the directives of which are largely determined by the G-8 and the G-20. The onset of the 2008 crisis, however, revealed the historical limits of neoliberalism: global capitalism had lost its effectiveness. Populations now face the task of implementing new economic policies and approaches in the social sphere. The Counter Summit ‘s ambition is to aid society in making the necessary decisions, and taking the step from criticizing neoliberalism to pursuing radical change. A transition from a weak to a strong state, from non-intervention in the economy to regulation is maturing. Recognizing the primacy of social, cultural, scientific and technological progress mandates a qualitative change in policy.
The Counter Summit’s task is to define an alternative vision: one of a multipolar world economy, free from U.S. hegemony and the dominance of transnational corporations. The relevance of these issues for Russia has become especially evident since the country’s accession to the WTO has brought to the fore once again the question of whether the domestic economy should develop in line with the Western trade and financial institutions’ recommendations, or focus on its own priorities.
The Counter Summit agenda includes the following topics: problems of financial markets, the policy of IMF and World Bank, the global economic crisis, the problem of debt and budget cuts. The issues of economic regulation, food safety, environmental protection, labor and social rights, changes in the energy sector and the role of government in the economy will also be discussed. In contrast to liberal politics, the Counter Summit’s participants consider the answer to the crisis to be the welfare state and not the commercialization of public goods. They are convinced that the neoliberal era is coming to an end.
The Counter Summit in St. Petersburg will be attended by dozens of scholars and public figures from around the world, including Egyptian economist Samir Amin, American activist Kevin Danaher, Venezuelan sociologist Edgaro Lander, Canadian political scientist Pierre-Yves Serinet, and Head of Ecuador’s Anti-Monopoly Service, Pedro Paez.
Major international organizations that will take part in the Counter Summit include: Focus on the Global South, Global Exchange (U.S.), Attac France, Via Campesina, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (U.S.), Our World is Not For Sale (OWINFS), the Tax Justice Network, Latindadd, the Brazilian Network on Peoples Integration (REBRIP), the Committee for the Abolition of World Debt, Campagna per la Riforma Della Banca Mondiale, Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD), the Centre for Civil Society (South Africa), Globalization Monitor (China), the Institute for Global Research and Social Movements (Russia), Indonesia For Global Justice, and the Institute for Socioeconomic Studies (INESC, Brazil).
The Post Globalization Initiative was launched in Moscow on April 30, 2013, with the participation of the Institute of Global Research and Social Movements (IGSO), the Transnational Institute (TNI), Focus on the Global South, Attac France and other international institutes. The international initiative aims to find new ways for the economy to recover from the failure of the neoliberal project. The initiative’s experts are convinced that 2008 marks the beginning of a new era. The crisis signaled the end of financial globalization (1982–2008) and paved the way for a development based on new economic and socio-political principles.
Dale Wiehoff is Vice President for Communications and IT at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), a Minneapolis, MN-headquartered non-governmental organization. This post originally appeared on IATP’s blog.
The Triple Crisis blog welcomes your comments. Please share your thoughts below.