Thursday, April 2, 2009

G20 Optimism

The leaders of the world's top 19 industrialised nations meeting in London are leaking optimism from their brief gathering, and I wonder if I should allow myself a glimmering of hope that something good may come of this meeting of the minds. The US and UK versus France and Germany is the dominant theme, with the Anglo-Saxons looking to get the economy of the world stimulated first and regulated second and the Euro-leaders wanting the opposite. The talking heads are sounding positive and no doubt negativity would be disastrous at this point as too many important people have said flat-out that this summit is a make or break effort to prevent a global depression.
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In March the United States found itself with just about three quarters of a million new unemployed. More than was expected, no surprise, by economists and a large enough number to freak anybody out. The notion that we the people are scared and angry is filtering in to the closed ranks of important people in Washington and there is some talk of punitive measures for banksters and re-insurers along the lines of the demands made of automakers. It's not called nationalisation but that is exactly what it is. So much the better if we are to continue down this path of forced government intervention.
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Because I'm not a survivalist and because I enjoy my middle class life and the prospect of an enjoyable job in a peaceful environment I want the G20 gathering to come up with something real, a series of agreed upon proposals that the world can act upon. And to make them credible everyone has to sign off. Happily the US is represented by a President who knows how to listen and be conciliatory, but France is led by a man who sees street riots and demonstrations every day at home, and he is reacting with fear which makes his demands rather strident. Nicholas Sarkozy wants his solution and he wants it now.
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I find it hard to believe that the G20 will come up with happy words and an agreement to put things straight, but I hope they do. If they find enough common ground to implement an action plan I hope that goes ahead. And I hope the leaders across the planet figure out it's in all our best interests to get along through this mess. All of which sounds highly unlikely. In just a few hours our masters will let us know our fates.

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