British Prime Minister Gordon Brown proclaimed at the conclusion of the London G20 summit: "We have resolved that from today we will together manage the process of globalisation … We have agreed that in doing so we will build a more sustainable and more open and fairer global society."
The summit agreed to spend US$1.1 trillion to further stimulate global capitalism out of its worst economic crisis since the 1930s, to regulate hedge-funds and other non-bank financial institutions and to "name and shame" tax havens (laughable in the wake of decades of shameless corporate greed).
The billion people struggling to live on less than $2 a day might ask how this will address their permanent crisis of survival?
These people are on the pointiest end of global "market failure". For example, even though the prices of such food commodities as maize, wheat and rice have fallen by between 35% and 50% in the last year in global commodity markets (although they are still 50% higher than in 2005, according to the International Monetary Fund) and oil prices have collapsed, the price of food at the retail level all around the world shows no signs of falling. Meanwhile, capitalists are forcing wage cuts on workers and price cuts on the poor farmers.
Will the modest regulations that G20 leaders have agreed on to save the capitalists from the worst consequences of corporate greed save the victims of this greed?
The world's poorest and most desperate will also be the first to suffer from catastrophic global climate change, as they have been driven to the lowest, least stable and most barren patches of land. So they die first as a consequence of the rich world's politicians stubborn refusal to heed the warnings of scientists such as NASA's James Hansen: "If we do not change course, we'll hand our children a situation that is out of their control."
What has the G20 summit done to change this course?
The anger of protesters in the streets of London expresses only a fraction of the legitimate anger of billions of people around the world who painfully discovered through experience that "capitalism is not working".
However getting angry is not enough. We have to do something about it. This is the objective of a very different sort of "summit" — the World at a Crossroads conference to be
held in Sydney on April 10-12. This conference brings together leading socialist activists from Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe, North and South America to discuss and develop radically different solutions to the global crises.
Green Left Weekly is proud to be a sponsor of the conference and we urge all our readers to attend.
You can also stimulate the movement to get rid of capitalism and replace it with a society based on solidarity, cooperation and environmental sustainability by making a donation to our fighting fund at: Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 901992.
Alternatively, send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007, phone it through on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia), or donate online at: http://www.greenleft.org.au/donate.php.