G20 – Getting Down To Business

I am posting from Pittsburgh on the G20 Summit, over at Campaign for America’s Future’s
Blog for OutFuture| Here is my first post today — go over there for the rest.

Today the world leaders attending the G20 Summit get down to business. The main issues are economic restructuring to prevent another collapse, addressing trade imbalances, and discussions of climate change solutions. But the overriding issue for all of us boils down to jobs.

The G20 countries see GDP growth as the holy grail. But we have seen that GDP growth alone does not by itself improve living standards – or even create jobs. Instead, as we have seen, in fact it can even be destructive to job growth as well as the environment. As the articles I linked to yesterday discussed, the GDP growth measure is not a measure of people’s well-being, or of “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This focus on GDP might make a few already-rich people even richer but it does not lead to the kind of restructuring of income and wealth distribution that benefits the rest of us around the world.

It’s funny that I find myself writing “as we have seen” again and again, because in defiance of the conventional wisdom what we have actually experienced keeps turning out to be different from what the experts tell us will result from the actions of those making the decisions for the world. Bloggers joke “who could have known” because over and over the bloggers are writing about the things that the experts later declare no one could have known about…

Bloggers are really just the voice of democracy — the voice of regular people across the country and world writing about what they are seeing, bypassing the “expert” media gatekeepers. Some things you can just see in front of your face, and the bloggers see these things, while the experts just keep missing them. One of those things is that the regular people out here in the rest of the world are having a harder and harder time, while a few rich people are getting vastly richer, and that just can’t continue.


The streets of Pittsburgh are quiet … too quiet. (Just kidding.) Outside the streets are largely deserted – even more so than yesterday. But late yesterday and into the night there were several hundred anarchists outside of town breaking windows and trying to break through police lines to get into the city.

Today large demonstrations are expected, but they are certainly expected to be peaceful. The problem is that there is no chance that they will be seen by the world leaders gathered for the Summit. The nearest place they can reach is the street below the windows at the Media Center where I am working, and this is nowhere in sight of the convention center. Well, that isn’t exactly accurate, I can get a glimpse of the roof of the convention center, which is two blocks away (see picture).


So this is the limit of where demonstrators can go. On the one hand, there are obvious security concerns. But it also leads to an environment that isolates the leaders from the concerns of the rest of us.

The main concern of the rest of us is jobs.