The changes we need will never come from G7 | Business and Economics
Boris Johnson attended the G7 summit this weekend and promised to “vaccinate the world.” But on Sunday night, it became clear that even the highly anticipated and completely insufficient promise of donating one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the middle of next year would not be fulfilled. There are also no radical statements about climate change or the cancellation of the debt of the South. In the words of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, this summit will “fail as an unforgivable moral failure”.
Considering the severe inequality in global vaccine launches, it is not surprising that vaccines dominate the G7. G7 countries vaccinate their citizens at a rate of 4.6 million people per day, while low-income countries can only manage 63,000 people. By the end of this year, the G7 will vaccinate almost all its citizens, and at the current rate, low-income countries will wait 57 years. This is why the Global South requires rich countries to support the abandonment of intellectual property rules to allow countries around the world to increase production as soon as possible. However, with the exception of the very important exception of US President Biden and the occasional voice of French President Macron’s promise, the Group of Seven countries largely supports large pharmaceutical companies, and regardless of the cost of life, they are protecting the right to profit. .
These leaders hope to use the G7 summit to prove that they can help the Global South while keeping the profits of the large pharmaceutical companies unchanged. On Friday, 1 billion doses were on the table. This is only enough to immunize 10% of the world’s unvaccinated population. By Sunday, this number had fallen to 870 million, of which only about 600 million were truly “new”, most of which will not be available until next year, and some of them seem to be closer to exports (they will need to pay) rather than donations.
When we remember that if the patent is abandoned, a factory in Bangladesh can produce 60 to 800 million doses of vaccine each year. It is obvious that this G7 promise cannot even serve as a fig leaf.
In addition to vaccines, the pandemic has triggered debt crises in many countries, which may exacerbate poverty and inequality for a generation. However, the G7 has not provided anything new to change this situation, especially no action has been taken against banks and hedge funds, which continue to drain from countries that are supposed to spend on health care and economic protection every year. Billions of dollars. On the major issue of our time, to stop climate change, the summit only reiterated the goal of a decade ago, that is, to provide developing countries with 100 billion U.S. dollars a year to adapt to climate change-this promise has not been fulfilled in practice. ——And made a promise to phase out coal, but there are no specific details.
Perhaps none of this should surprise us. After all, the predecessor of G7 was established in the mid-1970s with the purpose of confronting a more democratic and equal world order. The first summit-at the time just the six most powerful governments in the world-was held in 1975 outside of Paris. These leaders met to discuss the threat of shutting down oil-leading Middle Eastern suppliers to their control of the world’s energy market, and how to deal with the former colonies that demanded to be liberated from the Western-controlled international economy. As part of the Non-Aligned Movement, these countries in the South use the United Nations to demand a more democratic global economy, in which large companies and large finances will be restricted, commodity producers will receive a fairer share of global income, and important technologies will serve everyone’s benefit. shared.
The G6 summit is a counterattack against the project, aiming to create a more just world. In the G6’s view, the United Nations refuses to integrate into the interests of the richest people, which means that it must be marginalized. Strategic economic decisions are transferred to closed rooms of the privileged political class.
Since then, the G7 (sometimes the G8 to which Russia has joined) has remained the forum for setting global economic rules. Sometimes, it is an organization that can provide enough charities to maintain the status quo. In 2005, the Scottish Group of Eight (G8), supervised by Gordon Brown, saw a large-scale debt relief plan and promised to increase the foreign aid budget, although it did not change the direction of the global economy that has been heading for the biggest collapse since 1920 Since the age.
In 2021, the poor donations and vague promises of the G7 will not convince anyone that they have answers to the world’s problems. It is true that some trends have also emerged under the impetus of the United States in setting the minimum tax rate for global companies. But this is the product of years of campaigning in the United States and around the world. G7 supports a very low corporate tax rate, and countries like the United Kingdom are scrambling to exempt part of their economy from tax rules.
No, the real lesson of this G7 is that we should not imagine that the world’s leading powers are capable of solving the fundamental problems we are facing now. They can’t even hide behind an impressive-sounding series of financial commitments. This outdated, neo-colonial approach to global governance has long been abandoned. This group of governments quickly announced their democratic qualifications, so let us ask them to sit down with the poorest government, not as a donor, but as an equality, allowing themselves to truly accept international decision-making.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.