The Global Sustainable Development Resolution
For the past decade, through both Republican and Democratic administrations, the United States government has promoted a model of free-market global capitalism that it claimed would benefit the great majority of people both at home and abroad. This model has failed.
Over and over the mantra has been repeated that "there is no alternative" to this deregulated global capitalism. But, from debates the over NAFTA, Fast Track, WTO, MAI, and the IMF, and from scholars and activists around the world, progressive alternatives have been emerging. Their aim is to build a new global economy that benefits poor and working people and the environment around the world, rather than despoiling the planet and its people to enrich a wealthy elite.
A group of progressive legislators, NGOs, trade unionists, and expert advisors have recently helped draft the Global Sustainable Development Resolution, incorporating many ideas drawn from this international dialogue. The resolution lays out a path for reconstructing the global economy based on labor and human rights, protection of the environment, and new initiatives to encourage socially and environmentally sound national and local development.
Goals: Under the resolution, policy goals of the United States include:
reducing the threat of financial volatility and meltdown
democracy at every level from the local to the global
human rights for all people
environmental sustainability worldwide
economic advancement of the most oppressed and exploited groups
Major recommendations of the Resolution include:
Initiating National Dialogue: The U.S. shall establish a Commission on Globalization to develop the broadest possible dialogue by the people of the United States on the future of the global economy.
Initiating Global Dialogue: The U.S. shall initiate the establishment of a United Nations Commission on the Global Economy to initiate a process of global dialogue on the future of the global economy. It will also create a Global Economy Truth Commission to investigate abuses in the use of international funds and abuses of power by international financial institutions.
Global Sustainable Development Agreement: A series of Bretton Woods-type conferences, with representation of civil society, will make recommendations for and initiate negotiation of a Global Sustainable Development Agreement.
Global Sustainable Development Financial Strategy: Through such negotiations, the United States will develop and implement a strategy to counter those aspects of the global financial system that make it more difficult for communities, regions, and countries to pursue sustainable development. The purpose of this strategy is to restructure the international financial system to avoid global recessions, protect the environment, ensure full employment, reverse the polarization of wealth and poverty, and support the efforts of polities at all levels to mobilize and coordinate their economic resources.
The financial strategy will provide an alternative to the "new financial architecture" being proposed by the IMF, World Bank, G-7, and U.S. Treasury. It will:
encourage economic policies based on domestic economic growth and development, not domestic austerity in the interest of export-led growth.
encourage the major industrial countries to coordinate their economic policies to stimulate domestic demand and prevent global deflation.
help countries adjust currency exchange rates without competitive devaluations.
develop means for assuring global liquidity, such as an expansion of the system of Special Drawing Rights.
reduce the flows of destabilizing short-term capital by the adoption of capital controls as necessary.
establish standards for and oversee the regulation of banks and non-bank financial institutions by national and international regulatory authorities.
encourage the shift of financial resources from speculation to sustainable development that is useful and environmentally positive, such as community development and targeted investment for small- and medium-sized businesses and farmers.
establish a tax on foreign currency transactions -- known as a "Tobin tax" -- to reduce the volume of destabilizing short-term cross-border financial flows and to provide pools of funds for investment in long-term environmentally and socially sustainable development in poor communities and countries.
create public international investment funds to meet human and environmental needs and ensure adequate global demand by channeling funds into sustainable long-term investment.
develop international institutions to perform functions of monetary regulation that are currently performed inadequately by national central banks, such as a system of internationally coordinated minimum reserve requirements on the consolidated global balance sheets of all financial firms.
Reform of International Financial Institutions: The IMF the World Bank, and other International Financial Institutions will be required to reorient their programs from the imposition of austerity and destructive forms of development to support for labor rights, environmental protection, rising living standards, and encouragement for small and medium-sized local enterprises. The IMF will terminate all activities except those fulfilling its original mandate of addressing short-term external trade imbalances.
Debt Reduction: The United States shall work with others to write off the debts of the most impoverished countries by the end of the year 2000. The U.S. will work with other nations to establish a permanent insolvency mechanism for adjusting the debts of highly indebted nations.
Checks on Unaccountable Corporate Power: To help establish public control and citizen sovereignty over global corporations and reduce their ability to evade local, state, and national law, the United States shall enter into negotiations to establish a binding Code of Conduct for Transnational Corporations which includes regulation of labor, environmental, investment, and social behavior. In addition, corporations incorporated and/or operating in the U.S. shall be held liable in U.S. courts for harms caused abroad.
Reform of International Trade Agreements: WTO, NAFTA, and all other agreements regulating international trade will be renegotiated to reorient trade and investment to be means to just and sustainable development.