In a small Redruth gallery, Mining Exchange Art Studio, a painting hangs on one wall depicting a defunct fire station in need of a makeover. Lorna Elaine Hosking, a 29-year-old artist who runs the studio, believes G7 leaders are not really thinking of cities like theirs.
“The G7 is a positive thing because it highlights how wonderful the county is, but it would be nice if the Cornish people were celebrated for more than just the seaside image, because it is so much more than that,” she said. .
“We never really recovered from the economic crash in the ’80s, and we’ve had a pretty big recession since then. We try our best, but sometimes we forget. These leaders who come are just We look at the seashore, but inland – in old mining towns like Redruth – the wages are very low. There are too many problems.”
But what is happening in this Cornish city is the same story in many parts of the world. There has been little progress globally to reform equality since the 2008 financial crisis, and the frustration of millions has culminated in movements such as Occupy Wall Street, the election of populist leaders such as Donald Trump, and a movement from globalization to parochialism. happened. and protectionism.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is chairing the summit, said at the first leaders’ meeting on Friday that it was “important” to avoid repeating the same mistakes of the 2008 crisis, “when all parts of society The recovery was not uniform.”
“And I think what has gone wrong with this pandemic, or the risk that it is a lasting mark, is that inequalities could become rampant.”
a pitch for democracy
At RAF Mildenhall Airbase before the G7, US President Joe Biden delivered an impassioned speech on the importance of protecting democracy.
“At every point along the way, we’re going to make it clear that the United States is back, and the world’s democracies stand together to tackle the toughest challenges and the most pressing issues for our future,” he said. .
“We must discredit those who believe that the era of democracy is over, as some of our fellow nations believe. We must expose, as lies, the narrative of dictators’ decrees with the speed and scale of the 21st may match. [century] challenges.”
Unable to ignore the problem anymore, G7 ministers set an agenda to address inequality – they have already agreed to a proposed global tax system, obliging corporates to pay a minimum tax of 15% so as to avoid hiding their profits in offshore havens. . Globally, improving access to education for girls is firmly on the agenda. They are calling for an inclusive and green recovery from the pandemic, and have promised to send 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries by the end of 2022.
It’s a great pitch for democracy, but can the G7 deliver it?
Already members of the US Congress and UK parliament are pushing for a global tax system. The US and UK were criticized for hoarding millions of shots for their people, even before they were developed, in advance agreements with pharmaceutical companies. Still, experts say the vaccine sharing plan isn’t ambitious enough.
The US and Britain have been among the worst perpetrators of vaccine nationalism, keeping the shots for their people, agreeing to send vaccines only once they are close to the finish line. EU nations – which include G7 members Germany and France – have not been more liberal.
Sarah Pantuliano, chief executive of the London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI), welcomed Johnson’s pledge to send 100 million vaccines abroad by the end of the year following the G7 pledge for 100 million British residents to take at least one dose as well. did. Arab dose. But she points out that COVAX, the pool from which vaccines are being shared with developing countries, is short of supply.
“These doses need to be shared at the earliest, not until the end of the year and not wait until 2022. The success of the G7 summit will be assessed primarily whether to accelerate the global response to the pandemic. Adequate concrete measures are agreed. With increasingly new forms of approach to global and local recovery efforts, the challenge of public policy has never been one where national and international interests are so closely intertwined, and the G7 nations want to address this. would do well,” she said.
Experts from working groups advising summit leaders are calling for concerted action on all equality issues, warning that many G7s end with bold words but the return of their leaders to member states. There is very little action.
Making promises but failing to fulfill them will damage the credibility of the group and its pitch for democracy and globalization.
An obvious failure has been the nearly $100 billion climate funding fund, which was supposed to help developing countries adapt to the effects of global warming. G7 nations, among others, are nowhere on track in making payments.
“The G7’s biggest failure in recent years has come from a lack of shared purpose – most clearly seen in 2018 when President Trump rejected the final communiqué on the way home from the meeting. With that, in delivering The failure has nonetheless raised some doubts about the genuine commitment of wealthy countries to climate justice over the $100 billion of promises made annually to help developing countries combat climate change,” said Anthony Research Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations. Dworkin said.
But with Trump out of the picture and Biden clearly committed to multilateralism, the G7 leader appears to be more aligned than it has been for many years. And the sense of urgency, especially around the pandemic, is very real. The first day of the summit ended with a sense of energy and optimism.
“There is a changing mood in G7 countries that is shifting the emphasis from markets to states – opening up new possibilities for corporate taxation and regulation. So I think we will see an effort to deliver on these promises – but with some caveats. Along,” Dworkin said.
The G7 leaders need to convince the world that a new version of their capitalist democracies is the right model for the world, a long task as China grows in power and influence, and countries like Russia in their authoritarianism, in the form of epidemics. I have only encouraged them to violate civil liberties.
“Biden is driven by a strong sense that democracies need to prove the value of their system by acting more effectively together to counter China’s influence around the world,” Dworkin said.
To convince the world, G7 countries must ensure that they bridge their inequality gap.
Two students waiting at a bus stop in Redruth definitely wish their hometown could get a lift. Both have just finished high school and have applied to study medicine at universities far from their home county of Cornwall.
“There aren’t as many opportunities in Cornwall as there are in London, so a lot of young people want to leave,” said one of the students, Martha Richards.
While he is excited about his future, he is pessimistic that the Seven Leaders in Suits sitting in Corbys Bay is going to change lives at Redruth, and says Boris Johnson, who, like many British prime ministers, went to the elite school Eton, Contact are out of.
“We need more money for a lot of things. Sometimes we can’t even buy more glue sticks when we finish school. There are always long waiting lists in mental health facilities here,” Richards said.
“Boris Johnson went to Eaton. I don’t think he’s going to understand what it’s like to be at Redruth. I don’t think the G7 is going to make much sense.”