While the G8 Summit in Sea Island is politically significant for Georgia, it will not resolve some adverse effects of inevitable globalization, according to economist Donald Ratajczak.
Dr. Ratajczak, CEO of BrainWorks, a venture capital firm, and Regent’s Professor of Economics Emeritus at Georgia State University, was a panelist during a Southern Center for International Studies breakfast briefing last week that focused on the G8.
Having the G8 meet in Sea Island is “a big plus for Georgia and Atlanta regardless of what’s achieved internationally,” Dr. Ratajczak told GlobalAtlanta. But issues to be discussed at the G8 Summit, like agricultural subsidies, currency exchange rates and aid for developing countries all point to increasing globalization that only indirectly affects Georgia companies, he said.
“Georgia doesn’t change much because of policy at the G8. Mill owners [and other domestic industry representatives] might be upset because the G8 is not trying to solve their problems. But globalization is happening and will not be slowed regardless of what happens in the G8 talks,” Dr. Ratajczak asserted.
Georgia companies are competing with employers in other countries that do not have the costs of workers’ benefits embedded in their budgets, so some are inevitably going to continue to lose jobs to overseas competition, he said.
Dr. Ratajczak added that Georgia’s globalization in terms of business and political connections is limited mostly to Latin America, with Atlanta focusing on winning the headquarters for the Free Trade Area of the Americas. But hosting the G8 helps Atlanta’s efforts to become more internationally engaged, he said.
Technology is a major means of Georgia’s continued global posturing, he said, as demonstrators will arrive at the G8 Summit in Sea Island because of information obtained from the Internet. The irony, he mused, is that they will be protesting the globalization caused by such technology.
Despite protestors’ cries against globalization and a widening gap between the world’s rich and poor, globalization actually works to improve lives in general, Dr. Ratajczak said. The 1990s saw the most rapid globalization along with the most rapid decline in world poverty, he noted.
The main issues to be discussed in Sea Island are the Greater Middle East Initiative and Middle East Peace Plan, the Transport Security Initiative, weapons of mass destruction and private sector development.
The G8 countries include Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.
Britain will host the G8 Summit in 2005 and Russia will host in 2006.
Contact Dr. Ratajczak at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact the Southern Center for more information at (404) 261-5763.