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Glossaries: G8 Online Glossary
Also see G8-related terminology in English and French and the List of Acronyms
American leadership model theory associated with Putnam and Bayne. The American leadership model asserts that cooperation in the international system and compliance with international commitments is dependent upon the leadership and initiative of the United States acting with one other major power.
Anarchy A controversial concept at the centre of the debate between realists who believe that the international system is anarchic and liberal institutionalists who argue that co-operation between states overcomes anarchy. Literally, anarchy refers to the absence of a central government or authority but is also used to imply disorder, confusion or chaos in the international system since there is no overarching global government and sovereign states reign supreme.
anti-militarism an aversion to the use of military force in general and nuclear weapons in particular.
Atlanticism refers to the belief that there is an Atlantic Community (between North America and Europe, including Iceland). To date, the closest realization of this belief has been the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a military alliance which calls for the collective defense of its member states. Despite economic and political provisions within the North Atlantic Charter, no formal political and economic institution has been developed.
balance of power a system of international governance in which each nation states seeks to increase its own national power and align with any other in order to prevent a single state from becoming so powerful that it can dominate the international system as a whole and thus compromise the independence of other states.
Bretton Woods a series of multilateral agreements on international economic relations that were reached in July 1944 at Bretton Woods (New Hampshire, US) following the end of the Second World War. Bretton Woods is the term used to refer to the system of fixed exchange rates and the liberalization of trade (through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade - GATT), as well as the establishment of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (now called the World Bank). The founders of the system were John Maynard Keynes (of the United Kingdom) and Harry Dexter White (of the United States). Both men were economists with differing views for the construction of the post-war international economic order. The Bretton Woods System is widely thought to be a compromise between the two proposals.
British North America Act the British legislation which essentially established Canada as a dominion (first step to full independence) in 1867. The BNA Act divided the legislative and executive governing powers between the provinces and the federal government. The BNA Act served as the constitution of Canada until it was repatriated in the 1980s by the Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
civil society the institutions, organizations and behaviour situated between the state, the business world, and the family, including voluntary and non-profit organizations, philanthropic organizations, social and political movements, and so on.
collective action clauses agreement whose parties agree to act together to achieve a common goal. In most cases collective action clauses are components of military or security arrangements, such as the clause in Article VII of NATO which asserts that an attack on one party member is an attack on all. (closely related to collective security)
Collective security a revolutionary development in the theory of international relations. Collective security calls for the creation of multilateral agreements under which member states agree to respond jointly against other states who threaten the sovereignty or security of one of the members.
commitment a discrete, specific, publicly expressed, collectively agreed statement of intent in the communiqué issued at the end of the Summit.
Commonwealth the name given to the informal grouping of former colonies of the British Empire. The Commonwealth is a voluntary, unstructured grouping with no formal charter, but it does have a secretariat. Membership is dynamic and countries can cease to be members (or be suspended). With over 25 percent of the world's states as members, the Commonwealth is the second largest international organization, after the United Nations.
complex neorealism a value system that supports alliances with major powers in order to advance those values so they prevail in a new international order.
concert a group of major powers that takes collective decisions at the leaders level on any matter in order to prevent rivalry among them that can lead to destructive conflict.
Concert of Europe refers to the conferences held by the great powers following the end of the Napoleonic wars. The Concert of Europe began in 1815 at the Congress of Vienna and was used to resolve political crises in Europe from 1815 - 1854 through diplomatic means. In a way, it was the first deliberately created security regime. The Concert of Europe viewed as the foundation for concert diplomacy.
Conditionality policy restrictions placed upon loans given by the International Monetary Funds. They usual address issues revolving around structural adjustments in debtor countries. Critics of the IMF claim that conditionalities are responsible for many of the problems experienced by the poor in the indebted countries.
Congress of Vienna the treaty that resolved the Napoleonic Wars. The Congress of Vienna lasted until the early 1820s and was not as successful as the Concert of Europe. Part of the reason for the failure of the Congress of Vienna was that the more conservative states attempted to intervene, by military force if necessary, in the internal affairs of non-member states in order to prevent revolutionary uprisings. The interventionist inclinations of the conservative states led to bitter disputes amongst the members due to irreconcilable differences in ideology.
concert equality model a model in which all participant countries have major power responsibilities, market democracy and rule of law.
constructivists those who believe that the government leaders can construct new concepts of their countries' interests and identities in order to achieve security and prosperity.
Contagion when one country's financial crisis transcends its national borders and affects the stability of another country. The most recent example of contagion is the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis which began in Thailand and immediately spread to other states in South East Asia and was later found to be a problem in countries as far away as Russia and Brazil.
contingent credit lines A contingent credit line works in the same manner as a credit card. A contingent liability is a potential claim on bank assets for which any actual or direct liability is dependent on some future event or circumstance. For example, if a bank has approved a $3,000 limit for a customer's credit card and that customer charges $1,000, the bank still has a commitment to fund the remaining $2,000.
corporate social responsibility The World Business Council for Sustainable Development defines corporate social responsibility as "the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large."
crisis of governability term associated with Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State for the United States to reflect a lack of leadership in international politics.
current account deficit when a state imports more goods and services than it exports. In other words, it owes more to other countries than is owed to it.
debt forgiveness the act of cancellation of a debt by the lender, so that no more payments need to be made.
debt rescheduling the reorganization of the schedule for repaying a debt.
democratic institutionalism model a model of linked domestic and international institutionalization with direct involvement by democratically elected leaders. Its central claim is that compliance rates will be higher when the G8 works with multilateral nested regimes and creates institutionalized ministerial bodies.
digital divide the divide between those with access to new technologies and those without.
egalitarianism a belief that a strong state must act to provide all members of its political community with the high minimum standards of living and social service they require for a civilized life
emerging market the market in a developing country that is becoming more developed.
environmentalism the belief that environmental protection should be the first priority.
exchange rate the price of one currency in terms of another
false new consensus model the model in which leaders believe changing global economic conditions make it impossible for them to pursue previously feasible initiatives.
fixed or pegged exchange rate when the value of the currency of one country is held at a constant rate to the currency of another country. Example: Under the Bretton Woods system, the United States dollar was pegged to the value of gold and other industrialized countries held their currencies at a consistent rate within a narrow band of the US dollar.
Financial Action Task Force (FATF) an inter-governmental body created at the 1989 Paris Summit to develop policies to combat money laundering, originally intended to deal with the proceeds of drug trafficking and expanded to include terrorist financing.
financial sector assessment program a joint program managed since May 1999 by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The program seeks to strengthen the financial sector in developing countries by examining the economies in order to reduce duplication, identify strengths and weaknesses as well as report on how to optimize the use of scarce natural resources.
financial system stability assessment
floating exchange rates an international monetary regime where the value of a nation's currencies is determined continuously by markets forces, as many individuals and organizations freely buy and sell it, rather than fixed by an intergovernmental agreement or by a national government declaring what the value of its currency is worth in terms of other countries' currencies.
foreign direct investment international capital flows in which a firm in one country creates or expands a subsidiary in another. An example is when a multinational company, such as Coke, sets up a bottling plant (also known as a subsidiary) in a foreign country. Setting up this new plant involves not only a transfer of resources but also the acquisition of control. That is, the subsidiary does not simply have a financial obligation to the parent company; it is part of the same organizational structure.
French Revolution began in France in 1789 and led to a conflict which engulfed all of Western Europe and lasted until 1815 (the Napoleonic Wars). The French Revolution provided the world with its first meaningful experience with political ideology. The Revolution had at its origin, a legal debate between the monarchy and the aristocracy over the financing of the state (France was nearly bankrupt after sending monetary support to the American Revolutionaries). In rhetoric, the French Revolution proclaimed the liberty of the individual and private property through its Declaration of the Rights of Man and its slogan "Liberty, Fraternity and Equality". Aristocratic privileges were abolished, church and aristocratic lands were confiscated and internal obstacles to trade and commerce were removed so that the middle class had greater economic and socially mobility. These societal changes arose after many years of bloody fighting and the death of much of France's nobility and aristocracy.
G5 the finance ministers of the United States, Germany, Britain, France and Japan, which grew out of the Library Group.
G15 a group of 17 developing countries from Asia, Africa and Latin American. Members currently include: Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. The G15 was established to "foster cooperation and provide input for other international groups, such as the World Trade Organization and the G7". The G15 was established in Belgrade in September 1989.
G20 an international forum of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States), the European Union as well as the IMF and World Bank. The G20 was created by the G7 after the Asian Financial Crisis as a forum where high level officials could meet to discuss, study and review policy issues amongst industrialized countries and emerging markets in order to promote international financial and economic stability. The first meeting took place on September 25th, 1999 in Washington, DC.
G77 was established on 15 June 1964 by the 77 developing countries signatories of the "Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries" issued at the end of the first session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development in Geneva. While the membership of the G77 has since increased to 133 countries, the original name is kept for historic significance. The G77 is the largest developing country coalition in the UN and provides the means for developing countries to articulate and promote matters of collective economic interest.
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade An agreement signed in 1947 designed to encourage free trade among member states by regulating and reducing tariffs on traded goods.
global governance a framework of rules and prevailing practices set by international institutions, national governments and others for tackling global problems.
globalism the concept of being an integral part of and building the global community.
globalization the process of increased international flows, and thus denationalization, of markets, politics and social flows.
gross domestic product the primary measure of national economic activity. GDP measure the volume of production within a country's borders within a given time period.
gross national product the value of all final goods and services produced by its factors of production and sold on the market in a given time period. GNP is the sum of all of a country's production both domestic and abroad, minus foreign production within that country.
heavily indebted poorest countries an agreement among official creditors to help the world's most heavily indebted countries to obtain debt relief. It is the first multilateral debt relief initiative from creditors such IMF and the World Bank. At the G7 meeting in 1999 the HIPC initiative was modified to give faster and greater relief to countries with a track record of implementing reform programs.
hegemony the predominant leadership or authority of a state over others.
imperialism the creation of an empire, in which many states and peoples, spread over a wide geographical area, are controlled by one dominant state and those in its capital city for government or finance.
international financial architecture attempts by organizations such as the G7, the IMF and the WTO to impose order on the international financial system in order to prevent financial crises such as the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997.
international institutionalism the notion of creating a network of international institutions in order to shape global order.
International Monetary Fund an international financial institution created after World War Two to prevent collapse in the world monetary system through the management of national currencies throughout the world.
international monetary system refers to the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates. Under this system, each central bank tried to keep the value of its currency within a narrow band around its US dollar exchange rate. This system fell apart in the early 1970s.
international organization a nongovernmental body with members from different countries, such as the United Nations.
la Francophonie term used to describe the relationship between the states and communities that share the French language, culture and history. It is mostly a cultural organization although there are regular meetings of the Francophonie members.
League of Nations an international organization created in 1919 at the end of World War One to maintain peace and encourage co-operation among nations.
liberal-institutionalists those who believe that globalization leads to interdependence or connections among countries and that more formal international rules and organizations are required.
Library Group the finance ministers of the United States, Germany, Britain and France who met in the White House library in 1973
Lyon Group refers to the Senior Law Enforcement Experts on Transnational Organized Crime. The Lyon Group is a forum where experts from G8 countries meet to discuss mechanisms to improve cooperation and information-sharing in responding to a variety of intellectual property crimes. The Group was created in 1995 at the Halifax Summit.
Macroeconomics the branch of economics that studies how economies' overall levels of employment, production and growth are determined (analyses the behaviour of the economy as a whole). Examination areas include: unemployment, savings, trade imbalances as well as money and price levels.
Marshall Plan also known as the European Recovery Programme, a United States initiative of economic assistance to help European states rebuild their economies and their infrastructure after the Second World War. The Marshall Plan differed from other payment programmes in that it was a multilateral, regional project. The Marshall Plan was essential to ferment the alliance between Western European Powers and the United States.
maximalist model a broadened Summit process with a well-prepared and extensive agenda with participation from outside bodies and organizations.
Microeconomics studies from the perspective of individual firms and consumers how to best make use of the world's scare productive resources at a single point in time. Microeconomics works from the bottom up to show how individual economic actors, by pursuing their own interests, collectively determine how resources are used.
middle-of-the-road model a Summit with all democratic major powers participating in a leaders-driven, flexible agenda focused on linked economic-political priorities.
minimalist model a restricted Summit process to a short agenda with a little preparation and outside involvement.
moral hazard a situation which occurs when debtors are encouraged to take out excessive loans by the actions of a government or agency willing to guarantee the repayment of said loans
moratorium a prohibition on some aspect of policy. An example includes a moratorium on fishing in Newfoundland (no one can legally fish in the waters off Newfoundland)
multiculturalism the notion that peoples of diverse cultures and ethnicities can live closely together without losing their individuality.
multilateralism pertaining to several sides. In the context of international trade, it refers to free trade among countries; in the context of governance, it refers to countries consulting with one another before making foreign policy decisions in order to present a unified position.
neo-liberalism the philosophy of market liberalism ("capitalism") and free trade policies.
New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) a proposal for African development, written by African leaders and first presented to the G8 at the 2001 Genoa Summit.
nongovernmental organization a foundation, charity, humanitarian group, a multinational business or a professional organization, usually private and nonprofit.
nonstate actor an international entity acting the global political arena that is not a state. Examples include: non-governmental organizations, multinational corporations and civil society.
North American Free Trade Agreement an agreement signed by Canada, the United States and Mexico to allow free trade among the three countries.
north-south issues differences between the developed, industrialized countries (of the Northern Hemisphere) and the developing countries and emerging markets (of the Southern Hemisphere), although the distinctions are not strictly geographical.
official development assistance assistance given to developing countries by governments and their agencies.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development a grouping of 30 countries sharing a commitment to democratic government and the market economy. According to their website, the OECD is "best known for its publications and its statistics, [and] its work covers economic and social issues from macroeconomics, to trade, education, development and science and innovation."
peripheral dependent a state that relies upon another more powerful state for its political, social or economic stability.
plurilateralism refers to both inter-state and intra-state political theory. Plurilateralism is the term used to describe political systems where power is shared amongst many competing parties and interest groups.
plutocracy a state or system of government in which the wealthy rule
poverty reduction strategy progam
protectionism the use of restrictions on imports that enable domestic producers to compete successfully within their home market with foreign producers, whose goods and services are more costly or simply unavailable as a result of such restrictions.
realists those who believe that sovereign states cannot count on international organizations or other countries for their security or prosperity and thus must look after their national interests and increase their national power or relative capability on their own.
Recession a period of reduced or declining economic activity.
regionalism an emphasis on creating economic integration through free trade and other means among countries within a restricted geographic region, where countries usually neighbour each other through land boundaries.
sherpa the high-level official who represents the head of state or government in organizing the G7/G8 Summit
sovereignty the power of self-government, with political, social, economic and military independence from outside control
special data dissemination standards
stagflation an economic condition marked by a high rate of inflation coupled with a decline in business activity and an increase in unemployment
Tobin tax a small tax placed on international currency transactions designed to prevent major instances of currency speculation. Has not yet been implemented since national governments are unwilling to cooperate.
trade liberalization the removal of tariffs and other government implemented barriers to trade. The overall goal of trade liberalization is to allow for the freer transfer of goods and services across national borders.
transparency refers to the level of openness in a financial or banking system. The more transparent the system the more easily problems and potential crises are detected.
Treaty of Westphalia a treaty signed in 1648 by the Holy Roman Emperor and the King of France and their allies, bringing an end to the Thirty Years War and peace to Europe, and affirming that sovereign, territorial states recognizing no higher source of authority were the dominant actors in world politics.
Trilateral Commission an organization formed by citizens of Japan (Asia), the United States and Canada (North America), and countries in the European Union (Europe), to foster co-operation among these democratic industrialized areas of the world.
trilateralism the concept of trade or political agreements among three states or regions, in this case Asia, North America and Europe.
United Nations Security Council a group of 15 member countries, including five permanent members (the Permanent Five: Britain, France, United States, Russia and China), responsible for maintaining international peace and security
World Bank An international financial institution created at the end of World War Two to provide assistance to developing economies.
World Trade Organization an international financial institution created in 1995 (replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) to provide the ground rules for international trade and commerce among its members.