Saturday, 4 April 2009

Blogging the G20

There's been plenty of comment about the protests and policing this last week (Jim probably has the definitive protest round-up). But in stark contrast to the demos and police violence there's a paucity in blog commentary about the summit itself. We all now know the IMF will be in receipt of $1.1 trillion that will be used to prop up failing economies - and first in the queue is Eastern Europe. We're also promised more regulation of banking and a tightening up of tax havens. And not before time - according to the OECD, around $11 trillion has been salted away by the tax-dodging super rich.

These measures fall woefully short as far as I'm concerned, but what have blogs been saying about them?

A World to Win reads between the lines and helpfully spells out what the G20's communique really means.

Benjamin Solah reckons the "package" really means business as usual.

Boffy cautions against hyping up the economic crisis along with the media (he argues that in fact the present crisis is a moment within a long wave of growth). By way of contrast, Lenin argues the media, governments and financial institutions are talking up the prospects of recovery.

Molly argues that Keynes offer us no way out of the crisis. The G20 bigwigs might want us to consume more but ultimately the planet can no longer afford it.

Graham over at
LEAP says it doesn't really matter how much cash the big powers pump into the IMF, it does nothing to address collapsing house prices and joblessness in the US. And as the world's largest economy spirals down, many other countries will fall with it. Meanwhile, Vino looks at the catch 22 China is caught up in and its motives for its noises over an alternative international reserve currency.

North Briton is a bit more optimistic, pausing to have a bit of a gloat over the Tories' inconsistency on the G20 package.

Rick argues the timidity the G20 has shown toward tax havens means the wealthy have every intent of keeping hold of their loot while lecturing the rest of us on pain and sacrifice. Nigel at the TUC's blog, Touchstone, suggests taking a more measured approach to the G20's outcomes.

The quantity of G20 analysis in the mainstream press has not, however, been matched by mainstream bloggers. Batting for the
Tories Letters From a Tory has penned another open missive to Gordon Brown, and true to form he's not altogether fulsome with his praise. John Redwood goes through each of the communique's pledges telling us why it's so much hot air. If one was being charitable it would be impolitic to point out their lack of substantive alternatives. Good job I'm not really.

Does anyone have anything nice to say about the G20? The one place you'd expect to find something supportive of the government would be
LabourList. It offers us not one but five different takes. Former Danish PM, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen would like to have seen the agreement go further, but blames Europe's conservatives - principally Sarkozy and Merkel - for obstructing measures that would create jobs. Alastair Campbell concentrates his fire on the conservatives closer to home. He asks if Cameron could have delivered the G20's result? I think you can imagine his answer.

Helen Symons offers what can only be described as a puff piece, with some choice Keynesian proposals thrown in and telling us that we should support Gordon Brown in putting jobs at the heart of Labour's recovery strategy (you mean to say it has one?) Anthony Painter manages to expend a lot of words saying the G20 was a worthwhile thing. Lastly Nesrine Mailk spies potential sources of conflict in our part-tax-payer-owned banking industry, but thinks there's enough openness within Britain's financial institutions for systemic change. That may well be the case, but New Labour's past record implementing progressive measures against finance capital does not inspire one with confidence.


Brother S said...

Boffy talks a lot of sense. I don't always agree with him but he has obviously 'been around the block a few times'and some of his analysis is very sanguine.

Benjamin Solah said...

Thanks for the link, comrade!

I'm liking this sharing of links within the Blogosphere. It help me heaps seeing as I wasn't there to cover to protests.