6.6.6.3 Other Global Institutions with Political Power

(This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3 book contents.  An archived copy of this page is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/6663.htm)

In addition to the UN, there are other institutions with global reach – some of which have political power.  This sub-section offers by no means a complete list, but it picks out some of the best-known ones and contrasts the different types of power that they exert.

As already mentioned (3.4.4), the G20 plays an economic role – but it also provides a forum for global leaders.  The BBC report on 30 November 2018, on G20 Argentina “with any number of disputes and disagreements on the table”, gave an indication of its scale: “The G20, made up of 19 of the world’s most industrialised nations plus the EU, accounts for 85% of the world’s economic output and two-thirds of the world’s population.”  It also enables leaders to make political announcements and it gives them opportunities for private one-on-one sessions.

The G7 is similar in purpose to the G20 but with fewer countries, all of whom are wealthy democracies: America, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.  It excludes the ‘developing economies’ of China, India and Brazil -and Brazil – and, since 2014, has excluded Russia following the latter’s annexation of the Crimea.  It accounts for over 30% of global GDP, but this proportion is declining according to a report: Share of global gross domestic product from G7 and G20 countries in 2017 and projections for 2022.  It has been the scene of angry confrontations between Western leaders, as in 2018 when a BBC headline read G7 summit: Donald Trump lashes out at America’s key allies.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was formed to lend money to countries in need, as a way of stabilising the world economy, but it has had a major political impact because of the conditions that it attaches to its loans.  For example, The Economist report, Egypt reaches a deal with the IMF, noted that “Egypt has reached a tentative agreement with the IMF on a loan of $12 billion over three years. In return it must reform.”

There are also many non-governmental organisations (NGOs), such as Greenpeace and Amnesty International, which act as interest groups putting pressure on national politicians (6.4.4) and have considerable influence in the global political forums.

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