Sunday, October 19, 2008

Brazilian president urges emerging countries to unite

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has laid the blame for the world's financial crisis firmly at the feet of the world's developed countries. At a meeting of IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa), Lula said that the world's emerging economies needed to work together to avoid suffering as a result of the downturn.

“We risk being victims of a financial crisis generated by the rich countries. That is not fair,” he said. “It is unacceptable for us to pay for the irresponsibility of speculators who turned the world into a gigantic casino.”

The leaders of the three IBSA countries said the crisis is another example of why world policy organizations need to be reformed, that they for too long have been dominated by countries from the Northern Hemisphere of the globe - at the expense of nations in the South (if you study development in international affairs you hear a lot about what’s called the “Global South”, the countries below the equator that tend to lag behind the developed nations of Europe, North America and Japan, all of which are on the northern half of the globe). Lula’s comments show that the developing world (for lack of a better term) is now much more willing to find their own solutions to problems rather than relying on the existing global powers (those countries of the north) to solve the problems for them.

It’s a feeling that goes along with a growing call to reform bodies like the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and Group of Seven (G7) to make them more responsive to the needs of the developing world. Since the recent global crisis was made possible by the financial reforms pushed by the developed countries - to use President Lula's terms - these calls are only getting louder.

One idea being put forward by Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, is to expand the G7 to 14 nations by adding Russia, China, India, South Africa, Mexico and Saudi Arabia to the mix. Zoellick's view is that the current G7 isn't working and that by expanding to the G14 the group will represent a much broader cross-section of the globe and will be more sensitive to the needs and problems of developing nations. Ultimately Zoellick said that the G14 would lead to a more stable world.
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