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.
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.”
Butler Crittendon adds from San Francisco: “You seem in denial about America's role in creating the financial disaster we now face. Sure, other global capitalists participated, but in general it was a failure of neoliberal economic policies, spearheaded by U.S. and British bankers. You mention hedge funds, etc., but the only reason we had these monsters was because we permitted it. The exact details of the causes of the crisis are still unknown -- and probably unknowable after so many rats hid their money in secret foreign accounts and had in place a $1000 Trillion of derivatives, CDOs, and the alphabet soup of concocted poisonous 'instruments.'”
These are all important issues but most were buried in the fine print when covered at all. Of course, as is so often the case, high flying rhetoric—and Gordon Brown threw out that old canard about a “new world order”—will not be remembered. What countries do, or fail to do, will.