With the one day G20 London Summit over, 40 days later the world is still teetering over the brink of an economic collapse. What exactly was accomplished apart from a 7 page communiqué of intentions that cost Britain up to £50 Million for security and staging the event, isn't clear yet.
Overall we got 20 world leaders together to set a new course for the global economy, but it looks like much the same thing we had before the economic meltdown. Don't forget these same people also charted the meltdown through ignoring the consequences of unfettered capitalism and globalization they and their governments were pursuing. And they didn't see it coming. Basically if global capitalism is dying of a lack of capital and frozen credit, the G20 will infuse it with more capital or more money and credit, a Trillion Dollars worth.
It makes sense. What else are you going to do? World Government? More socialism? A global attack on poverty?
If the G20 cure works, it still might cause complications about as severe as the disease, when capitalism bloats up with a staggering new inflation. No one at the G20 except the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, whose country went through one of the worst inflations ever before the Weimar Republic fell to the Nazis, seems to be worried. I suppose we'll get to that collapse later if it happens.
Seems also no one except Merkel is interested either in how the meltdown happened. She figures we need to know before we can act. But these are desperate times, so the G20 is acting in a hurry, more or less stoking the engines of commerce even if they might be broken. Hope they're right.
BBC News April 2, 2009 But in an even more radical step, the G20 leaders appear to have agreed to increase another type of IMF funds, the quotas owned by individual countries, by an additional $250bn. This would be done by creating more of its own currency, the SDR or special drawing right . . .
the most powerful watchdog and regulator of the global economy.
If anybody is the clear winner at the G20 London Summit it is the new IMF. The G20 have awarded it more money and power, largely outsourcing their own problems and what they want done about them to the IMF. It makes sense. It might work. Somebody's got to fix the meltdown and insure it doesn't happen again. But the IMF's record on the meltdown isn't exactly prescient: The watchdog that failed to bark in the night.
WASHINGTON April 6, 2009 (Reuters) - The IMF gave itself a scathing review for its mistakes in spotting the roots of the global crisis and acknowledged it fell short in its job as the world's global financial overseer.
In a series of papers that look at the initial lessons from the crisis, the IMF said a patchwork of uncoordinated oversight and ineffective messaging failed to spot and call attention to the risk that a global credit boom could burst spectacularly, triggering the worst global slump in decades. . . .
Desperate times: Reward an organization that failed to do its job? Now you guys can print your own money. Now you guys fix the economy. That was easy. That should help. Why didn't AIG think of this?
But while we're rehashing what happened in London, we should look back at why tens of thousands of protesters descended and what made the news then. You'd have to call it a lack of confidence in governments and institutions, especially in capitalism itself. Why bailout capitalism and globalization in the first place? Why do 20 guys hide behind a security wall millions of pounds thick? What are the leaders of the free world afraid of?
I doubt if the G20 bothered to ask. For somewhere between £19 to £50 Million you would expect something more than a photo op. In the news April 1st there was more interest in the conficker worm than why all the protests in London. Why the big coalition of
activists, Put People First, and that other coalition of police and military that locked down The City?
Besides some windows smashed and some protesters roughed up, the big flap was about the Queen's new iPod, what do you give a queen anyway? And Michelle Obama hugging the Queen. Thanks to video it was clear the Queen started the hug herself, what a relief.
The protesters outside? A few soundbites and more pictures of the crowds on TV. With all the hundreds of reporters present, nearly all of them safely locked up with the G20 at the Excel Centre, why bother going out to find out?
The only thing I saw that really explained why it was all happening, was a CTV News Net interview with Carrie Reichardt. No video but she was in the crush of police and protesters on her cell phone talking live. Not a flake or an anarchist, not a streetperson or a publicity junkie, a visual artist from England who knew why she was there and why we were fascinated by what we saw.
Carrie Reichardt reminded us of history. When people en mass take to the streets they do have legitimate grievances. Recall Civil Rights Marches in the U.S.? Recall earlier protests in London when the British Empire condoned slavery in their colonies? Mass protests are important and have changed government policies and when ignored have changed governments themselves. Protest was for justice. Without justice there's revolution.
What was even more gripping was her first-hand report of the rough and nasty tactics used by security forces to deal with peaceful demonstrators.
With the Excel Center at the end of Canary Wharf sealed off behind a giant police buffer zone, the rest of the security forces were deployed for crowd control. It was a military type operation, with the crowds broken up into smaller units boxed in by the police. Once in, you couldn't get out of your box. Every so often, she said, for no apparent reason, the police would charge the protesters and crush them together tighter which was bringing on a panic. Getting desperate, the protesters would fall to their knees crying to stop the police assault. Here's what Carrie said in London April 1st.
Some people were hurt and some others assaulted by police armed with nightsticks, some video and pictures on the Internet sparking a bigger row for an investigation into police brutality.
It's a sad comment on democracy when people with rights of free speech and assembly, rights some once fought and died for, are being harassed for demonstrating peacefully. Hope the economic meltdown doesn't lead us down the road to tyranny. Is the G20 listening?
If the G20 wants to earn our respect they should face the people, instead of meeting behind closed doors for secret deliberations. This kind of practical expedient to get the job done at a conference, a conference with no outside participation, isn't worth it. A press release, a few speeches over dinner, that's all we get. Not even an apology, sorry we blew it, people of the world. What's the matter with talking freely before the public? What's wrong with more dialog?
PR And The Press
London Summit 2009 Official Website
G-20MeltdownOrg Official Website
WSJ Decoding the G20 Communique
Telegraph UK Splash Page
BBC News G20 Highlights
Telegraph UK G20 Summit Timeline
Reuters IMF Admits Faults
Telegraph UK Police Brutality
AP Protesters/Police Clash Bank of England
Guardian UK G20 Plot Foiled
Telegraph UK G20 Costs £50 Million
AP 40,00 Police At Summit
AP Thousands March In Europe
Telegraph UK Bankers Ditch Suits
NYT Obama Will Face A Defiant World
Newsday Obama: Summit Turning Point
Telegraph UK Playboy Playmate vs G20
Telegraph UK 15,000 Protest Early
Guardian UK No, it was 35,000
Telegraph UK Put People First Coalition
G20 News Video
ABC News Bloody Protests Storm London
Telegraph UK G20 Protesters Complain
Guardian UK Brown Announces $1 Trillion
Guardian UK Police Assault Leads To Death
Guardian UK Baton Charges
Official UK Gov Videos
Inside The Leaders' Lounge
Press Conference: Obama pt1
Press Conference: Obama pt4
All 33 Press Conference Videos
Official Photostream on Flickr
Guardian UK G20 Protest
An activist protesting the summit in London says most protesters are being peaceful but have been surrounded by riot police on the street. She says a few times they were charged by the officers, prompting many to drop to their knees and throw their hands up.
Watch her London April 1, 2009 Interview