15 Feb Global campaigning to tackle poverty and injustice is no longer north v south
Does north v south still work? The public debate on development has been viewed through this prism for decades. It’s been the framework for global and national campaigns against debt, trade and other northern injustices that have impoverished the south. We’ve won many struggles, though other injustices persist. Global trade rules and subsidies, for example, remain fundamentally unfair and are set by the north and imposed on the south at immense human cost.
But the global response to these injustices is not just a matter for the north. It’s been a long time since northern countries were in charge. The first G20 heads of state summit in 2008 was very belated recognition of the economic and political power of China, India, Brazil and other “emerging” economies. This shift has accelerated rapidly over the last two years, since the economic crisis. It looks certain to continue. It is northern countries that are struggling with fiscal deficits and slow growth. Between 2008 and 2020, the GDP ratio of industrialised and emerging members of the G20 is projected to change from 2:1 to 1:1.