Home .Governing globalization Governing globalisation, it's all about trust
Governing globalisation, it's all about trust
Sunday, 02 November 2008 14:20

Once upon a time, the West ruled the world.  That was from the end of World War 2 until about the year 2000, in fact perhaps until 9/11.  Sure, there was the Cold War.  But, that only made us stronger, as we armed ourselves to the hilt for a possible hot war with what turned out to be a phatom enemy.

 

And then, many developing countries did what we pushed them to do, to develop.  That was good, prosperity and poverty reduction, and also the spread of democracy and open societies.  But, this also lead to the rise of new centres of power, like the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China).  It was only natural that they would then want be partners in global decisionmaking.  And so, the G8 and other international organisations have been bumbling along in their efforts to give these countries a bigger voice.

The rise of these new powers is most visible at the WTO in its Doha Development Agenda negotiations.  While the Uruguay Round was run by the "Quad" (US, EU, Japan and Canada), the DDA negotiations are being lead by, depending on the day, the G4 (US, EU, Brazil and India), the G6 (+China and Japan) or the G7 (+Australia). 

What is clear in the DDA negotiations and elsewhere is growing distrust between the BRICs and Western countries.  Developing countries do not believe that Western countries are serious about reducing agricultural protection.  They also fear that while pushing for free trade in industrial products, Western countries will replace tariffs by environmental norms and standards which will be disguiised protection.

And then we come to negotiations for a successor to the Kyoto protocol for combatting climate change.  Another area of mistrust.  Developed countries are responsible for the lion's share of carbon emissions, built up since the Industrial Revolution.  This has gone hand-in-hand with the West's dramatic development since that time.  And yet, developed countries are pushing developing countries to cut back on their carbon emissions in order to tackle a problem the developing countries did not cause -- and decades and decades before they reach the levels of development enjoyed by the West.

And of course, comes along the global financial crisis -- a product of excesses of innovation and deficiencies of regulation, which is having a "tequila effect" on the whole world, with the poorest being those likely to suffer most.

So, when countries get together to reshape global governance following the financial crisis, they need to think of the importance of trust.  New organisations, new groupings and new methods of tackling global governance will no doubt be born.  But, unless trust is restored between developed and developing countries, nothing will be achieved.  And, of course, to restore trust, someone has to take the first step ...


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