Progressive Governance Conference

Chile ’09

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Statement from President Bachelet of Chile on the Progressive Governance Summit

Posted by progressivegovernance09 on April 2, 2009

Chairwoman’s statement on the Progressive Governance Summit
Viña del Mar, 28 March 2009

Invited by President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, the leaders of several countries and international organizations gathered at the Progressive Governance Summit in Viña del Mar, Chile, on 27-28 March, 2009, to analyze the principal challenges facing the world today and to discuss the prospects for a coordinated and progressive response. The Viña del Mar Summit is taking place at an extremely difficult moment. The international economic crisis, the state of the environment, and the grave social consequences that may result demand urgent action from governments. The leaders discussed the need:

• To put people first in order to keep an economic recession from becoming a social recession. This may be achieved through policies that restore growth, strengthen social protection and stimulate job creation. Leaders emphasized the need to give a new impetus to the UN Millennium Development Goals.

• To build a foundation for the new economy in a manner that allows prosperity to be broadly shared.

• To reform domestic regulation of financial institutions and coordinate internationally on such regulation.

• To avoid protectionist policies and to successfully conclude the Doha Round of the WTO.

• For countries to undertake measures to stimulate the economy and to coordinate action for a balanced and sustained recovery. The G-20 meeting is seen as an excellent opportunity to deliver an effective response to the crisis.

• For international financial institutions, including regional ones, to play an important role in preventing disastrous economic consequences for emerging and developing countries, for reform of such institutions, and that this may require increasing resources for these institutions.

• For a green recovery. To undertake an urgent and coordinated response to climate change and to expand investments in clean energy in order to set the path for a low emissions global economy. It is hoped that the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen will result in a successful agreement.

Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to progressive values rooted in a history of liberty, economic freedom, human rights, democracy and social justice.

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Video – Robert Reich

Posted by progressivegovernance09 on April 1, 2009

Robert Reich is professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He gave a strong speech in the opening session on progressive politics after the financial crisis – here he gives an interview to policy network.

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What is on this website….

Posted by progressivegovernance09 on March 30, 2009

This site was mainly produced live during the Progressive Governance Conference and Summit in Vina del Mar, Chile on 26th-29th March 2009.  The intention was to allow people to follow the conference who could not be there – a small team produced dozens of web posts and videos.  The site now serves as a record of discussion and thinking at the Conference.

To help you find things there is a contents page here.

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PGC blog – Divided history, shared futures

Posted by progressivegovernance09 on March 29, 2009

Have you been an activist in the solidarity movement for Chile in the 70´s? If so, you have a reasonable chance of becoming a prime minister in a European country in the near future. Both Gordon Brown and Jens Stoltenberg revealed yesterday, at the leaders session,  that they had been members of the Chilean solidarity commitee in their home towns of Oslo and Edinburgh.

Today they are both participating in a round table debate with President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, President Lula Da Silva of Brazil, Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain, President Fernandez of Argentina and President Vazquez of Uruguay to discuss a progressive response to the global crisis.

The great irony of history maybe that in the nineties a number of Latin American countries were struck by a financial crisis, each victums of a harsh neo-liberal deregulation and privatisation programme. Yet, in recent years, under the leadership of progressive presidents Bachelet, Lula, Vazquez, and Fernandez, they have embarked on a path of economic growth, social equality, and democracy.

Now as the neo-liberal model has imploded the economies of the rich countries, Latin America again suffers both directly and indirectly from the effects.

As President Lula said; when I was in the Brazilian labour movement I knew who to blame for a crisis. When I was in opposition, it was so easy to place the blame on the government. But, now in office, I can only blame the US and Europe……yet this does not solve the problem, we will have to find a common solution.

What is needed for recovery, is to start with, that the rich countries restore their financial engines and stimulate consumer demand at home, but also, importantly, to provide credit for international trade.

This is the key challenge emerging from the conference and summit in Chile: will a shared progressive agenda between north and south lead the way out of the crisis?

 Frans Becker and René Cuperus, Wiardi Beckman Foundation, Amsterdam

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Progressive Governance Summit

Posted by progressivegovernance09 on March 28, 2009

Today the formal summit of leaders gets underway, following yesterday’s conference.  You can find live streaming here,  although expect capacity to be limited.   We hope to live blog here from the room and tweet in Twitter subject to the vagaries of the Sheraton’s wifi service.

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Video – Valerie Amos

Posted by progressivegovernance09 on March 27, 2009

Valerie Amos (UK) is a member of the House of Lords its former leader – here she gives an interview to policy network at the progressive governance conference 2009

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Video – Will Marshall

Posted by progressivegovernance09 on March 27, 2009

Will has been involved in the progressive governance movement from the outset – here he gives an interview to policy network. 

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PGC blog – Think big and be bold, by Paul Hofheinz

Posted by progressivegovernance09 on March 27, 2009

Progressive leaders meet in Valparaiso, Chile in an edgy mood, and it isn’t hard to see why. Many of them – like Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner, Brazil’s Luiz Lula da Silva, Britain’s Gordon Brown and Chile’s Michelle Bachelet – find themselves in power at a moment when the too-easily-accepted shibboleths of the past no longer provide the solutions for the future. But as speakers told us at this morning’s session, the challenge also poses a huge opportunity. It’s a chance to demonstrate the traditional strengths of the progressive movement: economic competence, political imagination and a commitment to social justice that resonates with voters. And a possibility to define a new narrative for 21st century politics – one which could give progressives a new lease on life and usher in an unprecedented period of prosperity in the countries they lead.

What then should progressives do?

1) Think big and be bold. Tony Blair told us that seven years ago, and it is still a fundamental truth. The world is facing unprecedented challenges. The solution does not lie in pursuing what is politically obvious, but in imagining what is practically needed.

2) Put people first. In an era of knowledge, investment in education gives us jobs, innovation and social inclusion, as Sweden’s Mona Sahlin reminded us. We must redouble our efforts in this area, making our societies into centres of learning and opportunity.

3) Attack the problems, not the symptoms. USA’s Robert Reich put it well: structural imbalance got us in this crisis; and only reforms in this area will get us out. For the USA, this means a focus on addressing excess wage inequality to raise aggregate demand.

4) Give us a Doha deal. We must act decisively to stop economic nationalism, which threatens to overwhelm us all. We need to show markets we can still deliver important fundamentals.

The meeting continues tomorrow.

Paul Hofheinz is president of the Lisbon Council, a Brussels-based think tank

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PGC blog – Beyond old recipes, by Rene Cuperus and Frans Becker

Posted by progressivegovernance09 on March 27, 2009

At the seashore of the Pacific, in Chilean Viña del Mar, progressives from all over the world have gathered to discuss the financial and economic crisis. New words are coming back to the modernizers’ discourse, like ´egalitarian capitalism’, `state regulation’, the `failure of markets’.


Is the financial crisis the golden opportunity for center-left politics to become the driving and dominant political force – as our political fathers and grandmothers were in the post-war golden years of social-democracy?


The opening session of the Progressive Governance Conference in Chile today both created hope and left a shadow of doubt. It won’t come to us naturally, that’s for sure. Only if we find the right answers and policies, exert trustworthy leadership, and find the way back to politics, we’ll have a good chance of succeeding. But we have to be aware of the threat of a populist backlash.


We have to go beyond old recipes, as Carolina Tohá said. But how trustworthy are the social-democrats in Europe? Don’t stand the old recipes in the way, as Frans Timmermans suggested. Shouldn’t the center-left also look at its own mistakes, as Loukas Tsoukalis framed the question?


Yes, we are at the end of an era, of an episode of capitalism. Structural reforms will be needed, as Robert Reich pointed. This conference will have to address old kitchen failures as well as the new recipes for the center-left. Later this day , we’ll report about it.


Frans Becker and René Cuperus, Wiardi Beckman Foundation, Amsterdam

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Progressive politics after the financial crisis

Posted by progressivegovernance09 on March 27, 2009

Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, Senator and Former President of Chile

(live notes, not verbatim)

proud of the Chilean response to crisis by Bachelet government

the state will have a role in absorbing impact on people and families – in time of crisis countries with fragile social security mechanisms will come under strain requiring extra measures

must prevent protectionism, economic nationalism – must not make trade scapegoat of crisis – trade is vital. Cannot make international order more unequal as a result of crisis.

Emerging economies must have a role in the global financial governance systems – with power to vote and express an opinion. Emerging economies have a role now that they did not do in previous crises

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