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AFTER THE SUMMIT: What Was Accomplished & For How Long?

Summits Come and Summits Go As The Economy Continues Its Slide

By Danny Schechter

Author of PLUNDER

The eyes of the world have been on the Economic Summit in London but the ideas of the world were mostly conspicuous by their absence. Here we have a global crisis. The house is on fire. Unemployment is climbing. The real estate contagion is now claiming condos and even shopping malls. It’s bad and by most accounts, getting worse. And, all the “leaders” of the world can do is devote ONE DAY to a forum that must have cost millions to stage.

Our media and politicians love spectacles and political celebrities. The spin was on what Michelle was wearing, not on what Barack was thinking when he was so unwilling to agree to an international regime of regulation which is so clearly needed in a globalized world economy.

The New York Times was properly critical of the Summit for falling “short,” mostly focusing on the failure to commit to a larger stimulus package—what the US wanted but didn’t get.  They went lightly on their criticisms on the regulatory issue.The group also agreed to crack down on tax havens and, on a country-by-country basis, impose stricter financial regulations on hedge funds and rating agencies — necessary though insufficient steps to avoid a repeat of the current disaster.” They never asked nor did they fully report on why Obama is “fiercely resistant to the idea of a global regulator.”

(Bob Jackson of Arizona offered one plausible explanation: “‘The one smart thing the President did in London was to establish that the U.S. would not be regulated by global politicians. Our own politicians are corrupt and imcompetent enough, without overt collusion of the politicians from the rest of the world.”)

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Fortunately, other Times Readers were ahead of the paper and the politicians in comments that could have been but weren’t probed in most media outlets.

Jacob Olsson writes: “The lack of deep understanding of economics on the part of American journalists seems to be one explanation for the cheerleading of fiscal stimulus. It is the only solution that has been offfered to them by people they trust. The reason this solution has been offered is that it is the only one that is seen to be able to preserve the financial oligarchy, which both Republicans and Democrats hold so dear.”

Dwight writes from Brazil: “The US and UK could likely have gotten more concessions on stimulus if they'd admitted that the epi-center of this man-made quake was New York and London, and that thus the US and UK would assume a disproportionate share of the burden.

The Times editorial is full of continued American hubris. Vaguely euro-bashing. No assumption of America's leadership in creating a disaster.”

Patrice Ayme writes from Switzerland: “The fundamental cause of the crisis is that the financial sector sucked up all the available world financial credit, and more. Then it lost it all in a fury of ill considered entanglements.

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The way out is to outlaw it all retroactively (bankruptcy judges do this all the time at their own scale, so there is no constitution problem to do this, whatever Mr. Summers grumbles about "abrogation".”

Kevin writes from Georgia:

“The Europeans were not going to agree to larger stimulus packages for one very good reason. They do not need to have very large stimulus packages. Most G20 European countries have robust safety nets that already take care of their citizens when the economy falters. They also do not have the crumbling infrastructure that America has with regards to transportation, especially mass transit and technological infrastructure.”

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News Dissector Danny Schechter is blogger in chief at Mediachannel.Org He is the author of PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books) available at See

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In th end the promises must stick for the losers o... by Jiesheng Li on Saturday, Apr 4, 2009 at 9:46:15 AM
NOTHING. The elite partied while they watched the ... by William Whitten on Saturday, Apr 4, 2009 at 2:19:56 PM