The ‘Cornwall’ agreement has arrived here
Thirty years ago, a British tycoon A John Williamson coined the term “Unity in Washington” in reference to the uncooperative, cohesive mindset of other countries that American leaders (among others) advocate around the world.
Now, however, a new sign is in the air: “Cornwall Alliance”.
Don’t laugh. That is the theme of instruction memo He announced a meeting of G7 leaders in Cornwall on Friday. Written by a committee of students and policymakers from the seven countries, it aims to “advance the epidemic”.
The program of document it has a very vague and clear concept, such as “greater equality and solidarity on global health problems”. But it also offers more detailed ideas, such as the establishment of a “Data and Technology Board ‘similar to the Financial Stability Board” to monitor global internet and “CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) technology.
Either way, the memo indicates that the recent G7 corporate agreement should announce a new phase of the western alliance in line with new ideas.
What should women say? Many would scoff. Other than that, the G7 conventions are just formal, and the memos that follow are just symbols of tradition. And the idea of a “Cornwall Consensus”, perhaps, may not be answered soon, even though it seems clever.
But it would be foolish for any business, or businessman, to ignore these standards. As anthropology points out, symbols are important, even if they seem “empty” or real divorces, because they reflect and promote collective ideas about how the world should function. Thus, this recent memo provides a fascinating picture of how these ideas change.
This is important, especially as some businessmen and corporate leaders are struggling to tackle the zeitgeist change, once they start their careers when the Washington administration is in full control. We humans are always creatures of our own nature, yet we believe what we believe as if it is a “natural” thought.
There are five important points to note here. First, Western leaders today fear political unrest. Thirty years ago, politicians like Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan saw that free market connectivity could benefit everyone. Modern leaders are concerned that free-selling fruits are distributed unequally so as to create a popular (and popular) noise. “Integration” is one of the new buzwzwords.
Second, G7 leaders also now acknowledge that globalization and free market competition lead to difficulties and efficiency. In the past, it has been expected that corporate incentives will develop better ways to work across borders. Now they know that global chains are being threatened by the problem of working together, as businesses tend to look for things that make sense to everyone, but are devastating if they are over. “Resilience”, therefore, is another history.
Third, the G7 conflict is disrupted by fear of China. Beijing was not named in the Cornwall deal. But there are a number of calls to change chains around the world, not only for advanced technology, but also for medical and mineral weapons as well. With support, Western governments have acknowledged that it is a serious mistake to allow global arms embargoes to reach Taiwan. They do not want to repeat the mistake.
Fourth, there is a subtle, yet profound, renewed relationship between business and government. In Washington corporate corporations they are seen as independent competitors against each other, without public participation. Now the whole conversation is about “cooperation” between government and business.
Free businesses are still appreciated, but “cooperation” is the framework for dealing with the major challenges of the time, whether it is vaccination, climate change or professional competition with China.
Finally, the economy is changing, in Biden White House and everywhere else. Instead of focusing too much on white experimental colors, there is now an emphasis on things that were once considered “external” – natural, verbal, or health or cultural.
Critics (or free market enthusiasts) may argue that all of this merely indicates a temporary setback in American politics, or a temporary response to the epidemic.
Probably, but I doubt it. Apart from that, what is causing the change of mindset is not only Covid-19, but also China’s rise, threatening climate change and western fluctuations around unsustainable ideologies that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. And supporters of this new era can be found in politics. It was Britain’s self-restraint government, after all, that organization a technical group that produced a demonstration of the Cornwall alliance.
So if you like or dislike a new zeitgeist, you can’t ignore it. History has shown that when the mind of the wise man changes, he does so consistently, in a circle like a pendulum that can last a long time. And sometimes cultural norms are a factor. The Cornwall alliance could be one.