G20 the Diplomacy of the Elite and the Diplomacy of the Civil Society

By Pablo Ava. Policy & Resarch T20 Argentina.

The Diplomacy of the G20 has resumed the path of personalized Diplomacy, far from the models that fostered the creation and articulation through more or less representative organizations.

The bureaucratization of international organizations was seen as a barrier so that the decisions that must be made in an interconnected, globalized and ubiquitous world we are not effective. It is the Diplomacy of the presidents and heads of States, who gathered in meetings like the G8, G20 and BRICS drive a model approach to global problems as problems that require urgent solutions, consensus but taken less procedurally. This model retakes to some extent the Diplomacy of Elites, that is to say they are those who are in the most important places of the political society who will make decisions that will affect at least 85% of the global economy in the case of the G20. Along with this model, a diplomacy of organized civil society emerged as a reactive response to elite diplomacy. These are what are known as G20 engament groups: meetings of civil society organizations that propose initiatives and proposals to G20 decision makers from different perspectives such as Gender, Scientists, Think Tanks (Think 20), or of Labor (L20) to name some of these groups. Each of them will focus on issues on the global agenda. In the case of Think 20, the topics cover a 360 degree agenda, from the problems of Digital Education and Employment, through Climate Change, to issues of important technical scope such as Financial Architecture or Food Security to name some examples of the so-called Task Forces of Think 20.

In the description of Saskia Sassen “… the capacities for the functioning, coordination and global control of the new information technologies and the power of transnational corporations are also the subject of production. By focusing on this, we add an unattended dimension to the usual question of the power of large companies and new technologies. With this we go on to underline the procedures that constitute what we call “economic globalization” and “world control”: the work of production and reproduction, the organization and management of a global production system and a global financial market, both in conditions of economic concentration. By focusing on procedures, we introduce the categories of place and production process into the analysis of economic globalization. In descriptions focused on the hypermobility of capital and the power of transnational corporations, these two categories are easily overlooked. In formulating categories such as those of place and process of production, we do not deny the fundamental character of hypermobility and power. On the contrary, we bring to the forefront the fact that many of the resources needed for global economic activities are not hypermobile and, in fact, are deeply embedded in places, particularly and often in global cities and export processing zones. ”

In this description of Sassen, civil society finds its place in the global cities demanding greater and better quality of life, recognition of identities, hyper mobility and above all access: access in its broadest sense to new rights, access to services of quality, access to public goods in a broad sense that starts with transport systems and ends with access to high-speed broadband networks.

As Castells states, “Globalization is not synonymous with internationalization. Strictly speaking, it is the process resulting from the capacity of certain activities to function as a unit in real time on a planetary scale. It is a new phenomenon because only in the last two decades of the 20th century has a technological system of information systems, telecommunications and transport been established, which has articulated the entire planet in a network of flows in which the strategically dominant functions and units converge. of all areas of human activity. Thus, the global economy is not, in terms of employment, but a small part of the world economy. But it is the decisive part. The global economy includes, in its fundamental core, the globalization of financial markets, whose behavior determines the movements of capital, currencies, credit and therefore economies in all countries. Foreign exchange markets change $ 1.5 trillion daily, making it impossible for any government to hold its currency against massive turbulence in the financial markets. The development and creation of sophisticated financial products (derivatives, new types of futures, options, etc.) articulate stock market values ​​in different markets, establishing their interdependence through electronic transactions that move billions of dollars in seconds. According to some calculations, the market value of the capitalization of total financial derivatives in 1998 was equivalent to 12 times the estimated value of the total gross product of the planet. Today, there is no control or regulation of global capital flows, which makes all economies dependent on the behavior of the values ​​of their companies, stocks and obligations in the financial markets.”

The answers that through the various editions of the G20 have been found by the member countries lead us to think that the diagnosis of globalization is still a generally pessimistic diagnosis in relation to the capacity of the process of generating more and greater wealth, equality and distribution of wealth between central and peripheral countries.

In fact, in this new edition of the T20 a task force has been incorporated to analyze the processes of social cohesion. This is an old concept of sociology taken up by international organizations, and in particular by the European Union to advance the fabric of Eastern European countries that want to integrate into Western Europe. The term social cohesion has no clear meaning. It is a very common term in public policies and research at European level. The term conjures a very attractive image: that of a well-entrenched society, with sufficient unity to avoid conflict and division. Social cohesion is conceived as the ideal solution to the tensions and social problems of modern cities, such as social exclusion, poverty and violence.In reality, social cohesion is an impossible concept to delimit and should not be taken for granted, because it refers to the contradictions inherent in the human condition and capitalism. And it becomes a condition of good governance or global governance.

Boaventura da Sousa Santos explains these contradictions in Epistemologias al Sur: “In order to have an idea of ​​the why of the Southern Epistemologies, previously it is necessary to situate the context in which we find ourselves. In the first place, one thing that draws attention to the sociopolitical context of our time is that it is not easy to define it, because it depends a lot on one’s position within the world system: living in Europe or in North America is not the same as living in India or Bangladesh, are totally different realities, with different perspectives; In addition, there are also differences between the political positions of individuals, because some may be closer to the dominant classes and groups and others, on the contrary, of the groups and classes of the oppressed. And in the analysis of the situation, from a sociopolitical point of view, the difference is total. If we wanted to have proof of this, we could simply use the latest edition of the report on global risks of the World Economic Forum in Davos as an example, and confront it with the thematic axes of the World Social Forum (WSF): we would realize that they do not speak from the same world, they try different things. “That is to say that for Santos, the vision of the elites is not the same as that of the rest of civil society and that is why it is important to add them to the debate of the countries at the time of the summits. of the G20. If the G20 at its first summit in 1999 was almost exclusively the global financial crisis is its 2008 edition in Washington where it appears a kind of second generation Bretton Woods. The summit unanimously approved the following agreements:

1. Continue the efforts of its developed members, both nationally and internationally, to support the financial
markets and take any additional action necessary to stabilize the system.
2. Recognize the importance of monetary policy assistance, insofar as it is considered appropriate for the national conditions of each country.
3. Use fiscal measures to stimulate domestic demand quickly, while maintaining a favorable framework for fiscal sustainability.
4. Help emerging and developing countries gain access to financing in difficult financial conditions, including liquidity instruments and support programs.
5. Support the role of the IMF in the response to the crisis, recognizing the value of new short-term liquidity mechanisms and urging the continuous review of its instruments to ensure flexibility.
6. Encourage the World Bank and other multilateral development banks to use their full capacity in support of their aid agenda.
7. Ensure that the IMF, the World Bank and the other multilateral development banks have sufficient resources to continue playing their role in resolving the crisis.

It also adopted the following commitments:
1. Strengthen transparency and responsibility in financial markets, including the improvement of complex financial products and ensuring the complete and adequate disclosure of companies and their financial conditions. Incentives must be aligned to avoid excessive risks.
2. Improved regulation to strengthen and prudently review regulatory regimes as appropriate. Exercise strong surveillance over credit agencies, with the development of an international code of conduct. Also establish more effective regulatory regimes throughout the economic cycle, while ensuring that regulation is efficient, without stifling innovation, and encouraging the growth of trade in financial products and services.
3. Evaluating national regulatory systems in a transparent manner.
4. Promote the integrity of financial markets, reinforcing the protection of investors and consumers,  Avoiding conflicts of interest, preventing illegal market manipulation, fraudulent activities and warnings and protecting against illicit financial risks from non-cooperative jurisdictions. Exchange of information will also be promoted, including jurisdictions that have committed to international standards regarding banking secrecy and transparency.
5. Strengthen international cooperation and formulate rules and other cooperation measures across all segments of financial markets, including those that affect the movement of capital across borders. Regulators and other relevant authorities should strengthen cooperation in crisis prevention, management and resolution.
6. Reform international financial institutions so that they can reflect changes in the global economy to increase their legitimacy and effectiveness. In this sense, emerging and developing economies, including the poorest countries, should have more voice and representation. The Financial Stability Forum (FSF) must urgently welcome more members from emerging countries, and other institutions must review their participation. The IMF, in collaboration with the expanded FSF and other institutions, should cooperate to identify vulnerabilities, anticipate potential dangers and act quickly to play a critical role in responding to the crisis.

However, its agenda has allowed to permeate more topics, including some of high sensitivity such as climate change. This is why it was possible to get out of the gridlocked G8 scheme, and incorporate developing countries in the G20. This was necessary to avoid also the proliferation of demonstrations such as those that took place in the third edition held in Pittsburg, where the manifestations of civil society were anti-globalization mobilizations that ended in some violent acts.

Finally, the Argentina Agenda has prioritized the issues of education and insertion in the digital labor market, infrastructure for development and climate change and food security. These are the central themes of the G20 that have a high sensitivity, particularly climate change, because there is no global consensus on post-Kyoto policy. In the T20, these topics are complemented with topics from the previous year’s agenda, such as the specific analysis of the situation in Africa or the dramatic phenomenon of migration. Likewise, the analysis of the financial system, taxes and businesses and their resilience capacity in the face of global financial crises will be maintained.

After the large number of documents either of policy papers or of vision papers produced during the German presidency, it is a challenge for Argentina to maintain this level of production and quality, in addition to the intention of integrating more think tanks of the Region Latin America that did not have a prominent presence in the previous version and is therefore a challenge in itself.