In Economic Crisis, Conference Points to New Needs in Global Governance and Redistribution of Wealth

March 15, 2009
Brown University, RI, USA

Link of the video of Samir Saran speaking at the event (video II, 4.09 min onwards)

In the runup to the economic crisis meeting of the Group of 20 nations in April, a major international conference at the Watson Institute last week looked into global governance issues hindering the search for solutions, as well as ways in which a fundamental restructuring of the world system may in fact occur. The event, “Regional Powers, New Developmental States, and Global Governance: BRICSA in the New World Order,” was co-sponsored with the University of Wisconsin Law School. It focused on the role of the newly emergent regional and continental powers of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in this time of economic crisis, highlighting the risks and opportunities they face.

In addition to global governance reform, themes emerging from the two-day meeting also included a move toward redistribution of wealth – with a new emphasis in such countries as China and India on solving internal inequalities while refocusing on domestic growth. On governance, Nehru University Professor Bhupinder Chimni, a visiting professor at the Institute, said: “The way forward is for countries like India, in alliance with the BRICSA countries, to frame and articulate an alternative discourse on the future of global governance relying on its own experiences – pre-colonial, colonial, and post colonial. It should not simply react to Western proposals.” On the redistribution of wealth, Former Austrian Chancellor and Institute Visiting Professor Alfred Gusenbauer said: “If you want to have a recovery of the world economy, it only can work if there is a redistribution of wealth.”

Short videos below expand capture these two themes. Speakers in the videos include:
• “Conference Report I: Global Governance in an Economic Crisis”: Nehru University Professor Bhupinder Chimni, a visiting professor at the Institute; South African High Court Judge Dennis Martin Davis, a visiting professor at the Institute; and Watson Institute Professors David Kennedy ’75 and Barbara Stallings.
• “Conference Report II: Risks and Solutions in an Economic Crisis”: Universidade de São Paulo Professor Glauco Arbix; Former Austrian Chancellor and Institute Visiting Professor Alfred Gusenbauer; Indiana University Assistant Professor Ho-fung Hung; Observer Research Foundation Vice President Samir Saran; and attorney Leopold Specht, a visiting fellow at the Institute.

A summer institute at Watson on “Law, Social Thought and Global Governance,” organized under the new Brown International Advanced Research Institutes (BIARI) program, will explore these issues further as it convenes scholars from around the world for two weeks in June.

An in-depth report and video of the BRICSA conference will be posted in coming weeks.

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