THE SIXTH ASTANA FORUM
A BRIEF REVIEW
From the 22nd to the 24th of may 2013, the Astana Forum was convened for the sixth time in Kazakhstan's sparkling new capital, built in the geographic centre of Eurasia as its very name (from Sanskrit sthana, Persian istan) suggests.
in previous occasions, numbers were impressive; it attracted more than twelve
thousand registered participants from one hundred and thirty nations,
including ten Nobel Laureates and three
dozen serving and former heads of state and government. The annual Forum is an
outcome of the Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists created by
can be expected from a wide-ranging international debate many positions and
proposals are at cross purposes when they are intended to support mainly one
nation's or region's economy. Thus Robert Mundell, formerly a herald of free
trade told Forbes columnist Eamonn Fingleton that he now favours a policy of
protectionism in the USA whose economy is far too open to be sustainable, given
that manufacturing now represents only 11% of the American GDP while its
current account deficit is always well above 3%; though Mundell does not
advocate tariffs which invite retaliation, he supports a "Buy American" policy
which naturally would be reflected in similar measures in the countries that
don't already have them in place.
officials from dominant western countries are bound to hold the Party Line that
globalization's effects are "globally positive" for their own societies and for
the world at large but that dogma is fast losing credibility in view of the
persistent and spreading crisis which is leading to their rapid decline. The
new book by Paul Craig Roberts, President Reagan's former Treasury
Under-Secretary, The Failure of Laissez
Faire Capitalism and the Economic Destruction of the West (2013), prefaced
by Michael Hudson, another perspicacious economist, talks of a "political and
economic race to the bottom". Both agree that so-called globalism may be
regarded as "a conspiracy against First World jobs" and the resulting
impoverishment is turning the
The Astana Forum of this year issued a Declaration (text attached in annex) and the WACC drafted an Anti-Crisis Plan which has many components but which emphasizes primarily the need to reach a "sound integration of the three Es: Economic, Environmental and Ethical measures to combat the crisis and promote prosperity and true development, as opposed to mere growth. Special emphasis was placed on the need to adopt and promote new, non-polluting, carbon-neutral and renewable energy sources as far as possible.
Both the Declaration and the Anti-Crisis Plan are to be presented to the G-20 summit to be held in Saint Petersburg, chaired by Russia on the 5th and 6th of September. Russia which is a partner of Kazakhstan in the Eurasian Economic Community (EURASEC), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the Community of Independent States (CIS) among other regional coordinating bodies participated actively in the preparation of both the Plan and the Declaration and is expected to support them, especially since the Kremlin wishes to see the leading economies step away from both the profligate creation of consumer debt and trade deficits and the stifling austerity policies practiced on both shores of the Atlantic. Whereas the Russian and Kazakh Governments see the global crisis as an ongoing and worsening process which is likely to lead to a collapse of the international economic system in the coming few years, the USA and the European Union are unwilling to address the real problems and prefer to proclaim their belief that the crisis is over and that a slow recovery is underway, despite plentiful evidence to the contrary.