The Other Economic Summit
By Bryan R. Thomas
MUNICH — A more positive, "shadow" summit took place some 10 minutes by foot from where the Group of Seven (G7) were meeting.
The Other Economic Summit (TOES), sponsored by the German Greens, TOES America, the New Economic Foundation, Pro-Rainforest and World Economy, Ecology and Development, attempted to come to grips with the questions that the G7 ignored.
Representatives of grassroots initiatives, scientists and non-governmental organisations from 18 countries who took part were unanimous in their criticism of the G7 summit meetings.
"Contrary to their claim to be the institution capable of solving global problems, the G7 leaders will be dealing mainly with their own failure to adjust to the requirements of a new sustainable world order", said Jakob von Uexkull, founder of the Alternative Nobel Prize and co-founder of TOES, at the opening session.
"The G7 summits have become a tea party for the world's most powerful leaders to sort out their own problems", said Martin Khor from the Third World Network, Malaysia, "but in ways that are usually against the interests of most of the people in the world". Khor went on to suggest that an international economic summit be held at which representatives of the North and South would come together, for instance seven Southern and seven Northern leaders.
Participants at TOES deplored G7's blind faith in growth and their failure to see the real problems of the majority of humanity and the threat to the global environment. The commitment of the G7 to "stronger growth and more jobs" was seen to be ridiculous in the face of their recent track record on unemployment.
The leaders of the G7 were still not ready to discuss even minimal improvements in aid for the South or full debt relief for the Third World.
A few of the speakers at the Other Economic Summit could not envisage there being a second round of the Uruguay GATT talks. The G7's failure to create a breakthrough on the GATT could bury the second round.
In their final document, the participants demanded the replacement of the G7 institutions with a representative World Economic Council, in which the South has the right to participate and in which civil society has a voice.
They also called upon the existing global economic institutions, in >, the World Bank and GATT to operate within the constraints of sustainability. The system should come under the one member one vote rather than one dollar one vote system.