Common Agenda: New Global Round of Negotiations
Although the economic division of the world takes expression in physical form, that vast disjunction begins in the human mind. The concepts of economic capital and human need have been split into separate domains of thought, and modern society perceives little causal relationship between them. The manifold connections between wealth and poverty must be redrawn at the global level, particularly through international discussion. Because of the general resistance of the media to focus on the disparities between developed and developing nations, personal dialogue remains the most effective means of generating new understanding on international development issues.
In practical terms, dialogue about global issues is even more important than the issues themselves, since collective deliberation and agreement is the principal way the world's problems will be solved. The willingness to speak freely and intelligently about world conditions can lead to new relationship, new commitment, and new agreement in the international community, resulting in an entirely new vision of what is possible. As Brandt cautioned, "The dangers from a foundering of the human dialogue are so great that every effort must be made to avert it" (N-S, 264). By the same token, simply putting language to a program for global action can bring it into existence.
Only the international community itself can create the inclusive policies, participatory institutions, and representative conferences that are required for global economic integration. At present, different issues are discussed at different times in different forums; but the world's economic issues are so interrelated they need to be discussed in a single forum, so that global decision-making can be interrelated as well. The next step, the Brandt Commission urged, must be global negotiations between developed and developing nations – effective talks to enlarge the possibilities for agreement on international development and democratic management of the world's economic system.
To bring about meaningful deliberations for an international relief program and a restructuring of the global economy, political commitment, goodwill, and enlightened leadership must be applied. The Brandt Commission encouraged world leaders to search together earnestly for solutions that are in the interest of all nations, noting that previous attempts at global negotiations had broken down, lacking "a sense of purpose, a feeling of urgency, an understanding of common interests and the political will to achieve concrete results in at least some areas" (N-S, 264). International dialogue must be "regarded as an opportunity for partnership, one in which all sides can work for their mutual benefit" (N-S, 65).
The Brandt Commission proposed two different arenas for global negotiations – a summit of government leaders, and a worldwide popular referendum hosted by the UN General Assembly. The purpose of these meetings is to bring the world's major interest groups together in a spirit of openness and accountability to respond to global problems, broaden international understanding, and establish a common economic framework.
These two conferences would mark the beginning of the sovereignty of humanity; without them, the arbitrary power of markets and nations will remain outside the rule of international law, and democratic economic interdependence may not emerge at the global level.
The following outline indicates what these forums might discuss and how they could proceed. While this may not be an exhaustive list of what could be covered in the coming round of global negotiations, it lays out a common agenda for discussion of the major issues.
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