Target 8.A: Commercial & Financial System
I. Principles of action: “Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system”.
There are plenty of critics of MDGs and the role played by developed countries in fulfilling the conditions to reach the goals. For this analysis of MDG8 we will introduce the perspective of Samir Amin in order to promote a critical reading of the Goal/targets and advance some of the possible reasons that justify the (lack of) progress achieved. Concerning this specific target, Amin “points his finger” at the indicators used to measure that progress, these being the “share of exports in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)” to assess progress in the access to the market, and the “reduction of given subsidies” to conclude on the enhancement of conditions of non-discrimination. Even though these are rather complex economic variables that would need further explanation to be properly understood, it is important to emphasize how these indicators may lead to biased conclusions that do not necessarily reflect the real social situation that results from these so-called improvements attained by developing countries. Finally, this target can be rather easily associated to the establishment of a free international market, quite in accordance with the principles of economic liberalism that Amin considers to be responsible for a considerable deal of the dreadful situations many developing countries face nowadays.
Allegedly due to the recent financial and economic crisis, progress on this target are not very significant, given that a new wave of “economic protectionism” has started to emerge, while at the same time the multilateral negotiations of the Doha Round have met no relevant evolution so far, which is considered to be a serious strain on the advancement of the idea of a global partnership for development. Also, agricultural production in developed countries continues to be highly subsidized (despite the compromise to eliminate these subventions on exports until 2013) making it difficult for developing countries to compete in the international market, and therefore to develop in that context.