Monday, July 10, 2006

Ahead of Annual Meetings, Relevance of G8 is Questioned

Source: The People's Daily Online

When formed the in the 1970s, the predecessor to the G8 clearly contained the world’s five largest economic powers. Over time, the changes in the economic distribution have led to a membership that does not contain the top eight economic forces in the world.

Those on the outside have questioned the capability of the G8 to deal adequately with some of the main problems facing the world. Others point to the reluctance of the member countries to take on expansion to include countries such as China, which has grown to be the world’s fourth largest economy. Other non-member countries include emerging markets such as India, Spain, or Mexico.

Some of the non-member countries are invited as observers, but with no role in decisions. Russia, whose economy is smaller than any member country and a few non-member countries, has been the focal point of many of these arguments, especially as this year’s host of the meeting. Igor Shuvalov, a Russian advisor, stated “we believe the importance of Russia in our global world will change...We will develop quickly as one of the major G8 countries.”

A further criticism of the G8 is that the meeting ends up addressing current global political issues, such as Iran and North Korea, instead of dealing with economic issues.

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