Wednesday, June 30, 2010

G20: Canada delivers a potentially catastrophic failure

French commentator Jacques Attali, former president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, has written a scathing commentary on the abysmal failure of last weekend's G-20 summit in Toronto. Its written in French, but here are rough translations of some of the highlights:

First, on the G-20 processes:

"like all meetings where non-one observes the rules, it is the strongest who rule over the proceedings. And in this context, this means the Americans and Chinese . . ."

On banks:

"they failed to agree on banking regulation, on taxing banks, on bank reserves, not even on their accounting systems"

On the Americans:

"... they succeeded in keeping the dollar as the principal reserve currency, in continuing to borrow from the entire world without any intention of ever paying anything back, and in making sure that no-one can intervene in their tax havens."

On the Chinese:

"they ensured that no-one challenged their exchange rate policy, nor their export policy, nor the weakness of domestic consumption in China. And that no controls are imposed on their financial centres and tax havens."

On the Europeans:

"...divided and without strategy . . ."

And in conclusion:

"Nothing has altered since G-20 first met. Day by day, democracy retreats in the face of the markets. Day by day, another financial crisis is building up, which will wreck all the efforts to control budget deficits.

And then what? What will they do then? Nothing, apart from making taxpayers pay yet again. Revolutions have been started for lesser reasons . . ."

Canadian Prime Minister Harper should hang his head in shame: he and his G-20 colleagues have failed to show leadership at the crucial moment.


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