John Nichols' latest post to his blog (The Beat) on the Web site for The Nation may have come up with the perfect rejoinder to my recent grousing about the prevailing attitude at the G20 preferring growth to problem-solving:
The G20 Summit that opens Thursday is unlikely to achieve much when it comes to restructuring the global economic order. That's good news for workers, farmers, consumers and citizens.
His basic argument is that, as far as "the rest of us" are concerned, no one attending the G20 summit has any interest (let alone will or, for that matter, competence) in solving our problems. Thus, it may be just as well that someone like Muhammad Yunus will not be sitting at the table with them (let alone sharing their champagne, caviar, and luxury hotel suites). There is too much optimism behind Yunus' efforts to advance the Grameen agenda, and I would not want depression and frustration with the ruling elite to slow his progress. From this point of view, I am not even sure I support those who have come to Pittsburgh to protest. It seems to me that the best thing we can do is honor the spirit of Georges Clemenceau and acknowledge the irrelevance of both the summit itself and those who participate in it. Rather than protesting that irrelevance, we should be seeking out those more committed to solving our problems, supporting them with both our words and our actions. If the center can no longer hold, let us regroup and apply our best efforts to the periphery!