Progressive Governance Conference

Chile ’09

Tom Bentley writes from Vina Del Mar, Chile

Posted by progressivegovernance09 on March 27, 2009

In his essay for The Monthly earlier this year, Kevin Rudd warned that the Global Financial Crisis was a moment when social democracy was called on “to save capitalism from itself”.  Today in Vina Del Mar, Chile, political leaders, heads of government and leading policy thinkers from around the world gathered to discuss and begin to chart a ´progressive´approach to the challenges created by crisis.  Rudd was quoted by James Purnell, UK Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, who urged the conference to consider an agenda of empowerment in which government acted to disperse and distribute the power that would otherwise be concentrated in unjustified ways.  The conference was later addressed by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who ably demonstrated the degree of alignment there is across countries with very different governance traditions.  Clear shared priorities for economic stimulus, sustainable growth and global reform to protect the poorest and most vulnerable were outlined and debated.  A week before the G20 summit in London, the conference is proving how much shared commitment there is across the centre left to create a ´progressive moment´out of this crisis, but at the same time how much there is do on so many fronts in order to impact decisively on the forces currently shaping growth paths around the world. 

Tom Bentley is a senior adviser to the Australian Government

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