Global Poverty: More Big Business is Not the Solution
Friday, May 9, 2008
By most accounts, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown is genuinely passionate about reducing global poverty.
But he is not willing to challenge the structures of the global economy that generate poverty, or the corporations that build, benefit from and maintain those structures.
Nor, apparently, is he immune to gimmicky notions of corporate leadership to support development, or the lure of high-profile summits to shed light on new plans to do — very little.
Thus, earlier this week the UK was treated to the spectacle of the Business Call to Action summit, which Brown’s office co-sponsored with the UN Development Program. More than 80 CEOs of large companies gathered with Brown and other luminaries to discuss how they could help meet the Millennium Development Goals, which aspire to reduce global poverty by half by 2015. Roughly two dozen of these CEOs — from Anglo American, Bechtel, Citigroup, Coca-Cola, De Beers, Diageo, FedEx, Goldman Sachs, GE, Merck, Microsoft, SAB Miller, Wal-Mart and others — have signed the Business Call to Action, which states, “as leaders from the private sector, we declare our commitment to meet this development emergency.”