The later forms of globalization have become increasingly apparent within the last thirty years or so. Far from the momentous changes that the United Nations and Bretton Woods Conference brought about, the contemporary globalizing organizations move in a more economic way than anything else. The Group of Eight, or G8, is made up of world leaders from the eight most economically advanced countries in the world. It was they who first made such an economic move in 1975 in France. At the time it was G6 – Italy, Germany, Japan, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States – and the goal of these industrialized nations was the erasure of poverty. Their charter statement says as much:
“We came together because of shared beliefs and shared responsibilities. We are each responsible for the government of an open, democratic society, dedicated to individual liberty and social advancement. Our success will strengthen, indeed is essential to, democratic societies everywhere. We are each responsible for assuring the prosperity of a major industrial economy…” (G8 Charter Statement, 1975)
With this section of their statement, G8 set a course to eradicate poverty and promote global cooperation in times of turmoil; from within and without. Since the beginning of G6, two more nations have joined the ranks (Canada and the European Union) and one more nation is gearing up to further increase the influence of this organization (Russia). The ‘influence’ of G8 is no small thing, either, although it is generally given in the form of financial aid or an economic handicap for nations just coming from a depressing dip in their own economic standing.
The AIDS crisis in Africa is just one of the issues G8 has put great amounts of effort into for the benefit of mankind. In 2003 the European Union donated ten billion euros to the cause of Africa and other third world countries all around the world, “Substantial sums have already been pledged by Partners [G8 members] towards their Kananaskis commitment to raise up to $20 billion over ten years…” (Summit Documents, 2003)
But just because G8 strives to make changes in the financial status of other countries does not mean that such actions are G8’s only purpose. Promoting goodwill and social stability in other countries is, or at least should be, a goal of everyone, and G8 is no exception. Following the July 7, 2005 terrorist attacks in London – which was during the Gleneagles Summit (meeting) – the members of G8 issued a joint statement proclaiming this:
“We condemn utterly these barbaric attacks. We send our profound condolences to the victims and their families. All of our countries have suffered from the impact of terrorism. Those responsible have no respect for human life. We are united in our resolve to confront and defeat this terrorism that is not an attack on one nation, but on all nations and on civilized people everywhere.
We will not allow violence to change our societies or our values. Nor will we allow it to stop the work of this Summit. We will continue our deliberations in the interests of a better world. Here at this Summit, the world's leaders are striving to combat world poverty and save and improve human life. The perpetrators of today’s attacks are intent on destroying human life.
Today's bombings will not weaken in any way our resolve to uphold the most deeply held principles of our societies and to defeat those who would impose their fanaticism and extremism on all of us. We shall prevail. They shall not.” (Scottish Executive, 2005)
Quite a mouthful, but it is a heartfelt statement from the leaders of some very powerful countries. That is the stand of G8, the stand for prosperity. That stand is summed up most eloquently in this way: “Peace has said to be indivisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity, and so also is disaster in this One World that can no longer be split into isolated fragments.” (Jawaharlal Nehru, Indian Prime Minister, 1947)
The WTO on the same token stands for a greater bond of brotherhood between the nations of the world. Contrary to popular belief, the WTO is not immersed in riots and Battles in Seattle, but rather a battle for fair trade to everyone in the world. With nearly 150 members that account for over 97% of world trade, the WTO is a force to be reckoned with (World Trade Organization)
For the record, the WTO was created in 1998 in Geneva to succeed the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade or GATT which was conceived in 1945 at the Bretton Woods Conference and put into effect in 1948.
Former president Bill Clinton made some well informed remarks on the WTO during his presidency, and one such remark explains well what the WTO works to do:
“The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements… the goal is to help producers of good and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.” (President Bill Clinton’s remarks on GATT and the WTO)
So it is trade the WTO is after, not riots in Seattle, Washington. While that stereotype will be difficult to break, it is true. The delegates of the WTO have tried only to promote economic growth in countries all around the world. With such an ideal in mind, sagely words, ages old, create a fitting summary of the benevolent promoters of globalization:
“The entire world is one common fatherland, and from this commanding position He looked down upon the senseless quarrels between the nations, the hatred between English, Germans, and French, to exclaim: ‘Why do such foolish names till exist to keep us sundered, since we are united in the name of Christ?’ (Erasmus of Rotterdam 1936).