Monday, February 18, 2013

G20, peace and the individual

The past decade has been filled with interesting and historical moments. There has been a shift in almost every area that the world sees as vital to peace. Food, environment, economy, military, gender issues, education and politics have all been impacted in the past decade.
For me all of these issues are deeply intertwined, it is similar to a seven musketeer situation. In the coming months these issues will be front and centre during the G20 meetings. Another point to be aware of is the focus of Russia as they lead the meetings this year. Putin has declared that this will be the forum to showcase Russian leadership on the world stage. The outline of the Russian strategy can be viewed here:
Although the G20 is an economic forum, the world has come to understand that economics is a driving force to all other issues. Some believe there should be a G20 Global Education Forum which has the top 20 countries in education setting standards. Either way, these forums are a top down format which has to employ trickle down methodology. Whether or not you believe in that philosophy, the argument for the trickle down framework is easy to defend and understand.
To get a sense of what transpires at such meetings, in the past week discussions of currency valuation hit the news. Currency valuation is the practice of manipulating how much a countries money is worth on the world market. Basically it comes down to the simple question of; why pay $12 when you can pay $9. To stay competitive everyone tries to get below $9 and the spiral downward continues. This is also called the race to the bottom.
Over the past week the member states of the G20 have agreed to not play such a game. In reality the game will be played just not at such a fierce pace. On the surface this is an effort to stabilize global markets. Also the bottom line for corporations will always take top priority over all else. Furthermore the consumer will more than likely purchase the cheaper item regardless of quality. How do we get individual people who act in such a manner to be any different on a global scale? The answer to that question is education, awareness and developing a sense of global citizenship.
For example, the Arab Spring began due to youth seeing no improvement in any area of life. The youth believed that economic opportunities were not meeting social demands. They had witnessed the leadership core of politics, economics and society maintain all the opportunities for themselves. It is the French Revolution all over again. Have a look at the three items Russia has listed as priorities for the G20 in the outline. It is easy to equate those items to the transformation Russia went through during the 90’s as well.
The entire world is going through such a transformation. For the past decade the leadership of the world has failed us. This leaves the responsibility of succeeding to the pressure each individual puts on the leadership to actually do something. Where is the Occupy movement? What has happened to the Arab Spring? This transformation we are going through has no clear path because we are forging through uncharted areas. What will come of it is still to be determined. The only truth is that each of us has a responsibility to act in the manner in which our dreams and hearts know for peace to reign.

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