chapter  8
15 Pages

Are world leaders puppets or puppeteers?

The sherpas and decision making within the G7/G8 system
ByNicholas Bayne

The G7 – now G8 – summits were launched in 1975, with three objectives: (1) developing collective management of the world economy, to replace American hegemony; (2) reconciling the domestic and external pressures generated by interdependence; and (3) mobilizing political leadership to resolve problems beyond the reach of bureaucracies. Though ‘globalization’ has now replaced ‘interdependence’ and a political agenda has been added, these objectives have remained remarkably constant.1 But during the summits of the 1990s and early 2000s (see Table 8.1) the decisionmaking processes of the G8 have changed radically.2 The heads of government have detached their flanking ministers and begun meeting by themselves. The supporting apparatus has become more complex and developed a life of its own. More outside contributors have become involved in the preparation of the summits and their follow-up.3