Against the backdrop of wobbling economies more than 130 world leaders arrived for the Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development where the mood was just as surly as the global economy.
The G77 bloc of developing nations lead by China pressed their case that the developed world was responsible for pulling the emerging economies up with a ‘sustainable development (read: financial subsidies) of at least $30 billion per year. Even in the boom years of the global economy this demand for wealth transfer was a tough sell. Now in the struggle to restore economic stability in both EU and the US the demand was laughable.
The conference has been on the verge of collapse for months ahead of the delegate arrival in Rio. Perhaps, the developing world sees this as their last opportunity to guilt the first world into signing onto a wealth transfer and technology transfer deal the development world will use to compete against them in world markets. It clearly was not working.
“We cannot be held hostage to the retraction resulting from financial crises in rich countries. We are here to think about the long term and not about crises that may be overcome in one or two years.” —Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, Undersecretary at Brazil’s Foreign Ministry.
The ‘guilt them and they will give’ strategy no longer is working. Behind the scenes tempers flared as representatives from groups of nations and nongovernmental organizations hoping to shame the major nations into a new round of funding walked out of a core working group on the “green economy” when the tantrums failed to work. Reality is setting in both in the first world struggling to stabilize wobbly economies as well as the developing world using the ruse of sustainability to extract giant wealth transfers that enable them to avoid reforming their own economies and ending the corruption that makes them unattractive investment locations.