We, the representatives of seven of the richest countries in the world, find ourselves gathered here to examine together, over the next two days, the current economic and political situation. It is not our task to decide alone the future of the world, nor is it to defend our own interests at the expense of those not here among us. However, in our eyes and in the eyes of the world, the means that we possess vest in us a collective responsibility both for the present and for the future. It is incumbent on us to join in reflection in order to lay down the major lines of a concerted action in defense of the values we hold in common.
Let us first examine the facts.
Our seven countries have not been spared the consequences of the crisis from which the world is suffering. Moreover, the situation is not improving. Unemployment has touched all of our countries: since the Ottawa Summit, five million men and women have lost their jobs. Production, investment and trade are sluggish, protectionism poses a threat, currencies are falling into a state of near-permanent disorder and interest rates have reached levels that preclude any job-generating growth. Self-interest is becoming the rule.
In the countries of the South, conditions of survival have worsened: nearly thirty million human beings have died of starvation.
Yet, if we consider it closely, the balance sheet for the year is not entirely negative, and encouraging signs have appeared: inflation has slowed down, productivity has improved; in some countries, and France among them, growth has resumed and unemployment is no longer on the increase.
Let us now look ahead. The future hinges on our political determination. We can surmount the crisis by having faith in our own future, by rejecting the inevitability of the crisis which stifles so many individuals of talent and creative capacity, and by uniting our efforts.
The scope of the transformation required, however, must exceed the individual efforts made by countries for themselves.
The crisis extends far beyond national borders: thus it is only through joint action that we shall be able to control this transformation, and prepare for the future.
In a perfect world, the international monetary system would be stable, protectionism would be banished, each nation would maintain balanced trade relations with others, no monopoly would interfere with the dynamic of the competitive marketplace, interest rates would be low, and the North and South would unite in their efforts towards the mutual fulfillment of their cultures and liberties. In this manner, the economic requirements of the development of a strong alliance would be met. Our joint action would be easy to frame.
Such is not the case today. Thus, we must reflect on ways to organize balanced growth, reduce unemployment, stop protectionism, build a stable monetary system and provide the South with the means for its own development.
In the meantime, should we feel powerless to attain these goals? Certainly not. This would be a hasty and incorrect assessment of the situation. Our duty is not only to examine the global situation in order to resolve the problems created by the crisis, and, to this end, agree on its nature and causes, but to explore the vast fields of endeavor open to our common effort. Among the latter, science and technology, whose rapid development is revolutionizing our societies, threaten to turn against man, their creator, if he does not master them properly.
Undoubtedly, many private and public firms, and each of our countries, have already devoted time to this question, and France among them. But, although we are aware of what is at stake in the dawning industrial revolution, are we sure to have all the winning cards in our hand? We lack the master trump, which may only be had through coherent and concerted action. This is a subject worthy of your reflection.
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