Friday, September 25, 2009

North and South: The G20

[Photo: Jim Bourg/Reuters]

For decades development economists such as myself have been hoping for robust and sustained development from lower income countries. We have generally been disappointed. But the recent economic success of China, India and Brazil has been encouraging. In the political economy realm there has long been distrust of the countries of the 'north' a misnomer perhaps that came to symbolize the US and Western Europe dominance of the world economy, by countries of the 'south' (which would include China and India - thus the misnomer). The dependency school claimed that the rich countries tilted the playing field to their advantage and deliberately kept the rest poor so as to have access to cheap natural resources. So, for this reason the news that the major economic summit will permanently become the G20 is very welcome.

It is also true that the key to our future health and prosperity lies in being able to carefully assist poorer countries with their development in ways in which their needs are addressed but with greater reliance on renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and the like. It is hard to do this without these selfsame countries having a seat at the table.

This is a very good move.

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