9 April 2009

Plus ca change . . .

Now the dust has settled, what are we to make of the G20 conference? Such high hopes; so little real achievement. When the whole process began the discussion was around a new global financial architecture, then it moved to a major financial stimulus, but what we got was a strategy of inventing money to boost the coffers of the world's disaster management bank, the IMF.

I'm not surprised the architecture went nowhere. It took more than two years and some of the best brains in the world to pull Bretton Woods together. The media circus that was G20 shows how the world has moved from substance to superficiality since then and no amount of clever graphics or smart clothes can conceal this.

We might draw our own conclusions about why no fiscal stimulus was agreed. Presumably a combination of warnings from bankers that they would tolerate no more public debt and a reluctance from some of the countries in Europe that do not control reserve currencies pushed this off the table.

So we are left with the controllers of powerful currencies using this power to make money from thin air which they then deposit with the IMF. The poorer and less powerful countries that we have economically destroyed are then forced to beg our humble permission to borrow this money, which they then pay back to us. The inequity of personal banking writ large.

We wait to see what conditions the IMF will put on these loans but we may expect that they will be the sorts of conditions that allow the globalising sharks to take control of the resources of the poor countries as they have in the past, first through colonialism and then through trade. It leaves me wondering how much difference the expansion from G7 to G20 has really made.

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