G20 outcomes

Written By: - Date published: 9:40 am, April 3rd, 2009 - 40 comments
Categories: International - Tags:

Well the G20 process – which many said would “redesign capitalism” – has now finished. Various agreements were reached, which are predictably being touted as “historic”. Some of the main points from summaries here:

Bankers’ pay and bonuses will be subject to stricter controls

A new Financial Stability Board will be set up to work with the IMF to ensure co-operation across borders and provide an early warning mechanism for the financial system

There will be greater regulation of hedge funds and credit ratings agencies

A common approach to cleaning up banks’ toxic assets has been agreed

The world’s poorest countries will receive $100bn extra aid

G20 countries are already implementing the biggest economic stimulus “the world has ever seen” – an injection of $5tn by the end of next year

and here:

But the biggest changes in the IMF will come after 2011, when it has been agreed that there will be a review of the voting structure. That could lead to the US losing its veto power, while China and other emerging countries get a bigger voice…

In return, China will be asked to lend some of its reserves to the IMF – and will continue to push for the idea that the SDR will become a real reserve currency, ultimately replacing the dollar.

The changes to the resources and the role of the IMF are historic and perhaps the most important outcome of the G20 summit. But it must be borne in mind that providing more resources for the IMF can be only a short-term solution to the immediate crisis now engulfing developing countries.

It is no substitute for a fiscal stimulus, as the money is loaned and must be paid back. Nor will it counter the need for additional development aid to counteract poverty. But it is a move towards a more global system of international finance.

Sounds like rearranging the deck chairs to me.

What do you think? And how would you have “redesigned capitalism”?

40 comments on “G20 outcomes”

  1. r0b 1

    There’s another very good summary of outcomes here:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7979682.stm

  2. Capitalism is a producer — yes, of capital.

    Take that for what it is — the old/new benchmark — and commence rebuilding the normality of it. By which I mean what was the long slow attainment of financial stability, though this time inside holistic economic growth.

    Dispense – dump – the crap of supposed rapid growth so evident these past two decades. Do this to ensure a solid foundation again.

    There has been a voice for re-industrialization as the new (neo-) means to its own end of growth. Shove that to where it belongs in the past.

    Change is the correct call though it, too, must have direction. Or at least vision. To attain – actually and practically attain — a better world.

    rant over… and over to others.. 🙂

    • ak 2.1

      Ripper, ripp0. Vision’s the word, but it might take a bit more pain to gain. This still looks suspiciously like an attempt to patch up the old jalopy rather than a genuine scrutiny of the destination. But we’ll see. Lot of rough road still ahead I reckon…..

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    The best that could be done ATM is to forgive all debt and a moratorium on lending for a few years. This will give those that are held in poverty due to debt a chance to do something about it as well as free up whatever funds are actually available. Ban foreign ownership internationally so that all wealth created in a community stays in that community. Free up trade so that goods can actually be exchanged between communities.

    Capitalism is a failed system and the sooner we realise that and start looking at other systems the better.

  4. Quoth the Raven 4

    I think we should remember how the IMF has operated:

    The World Bank cultivates technocratic elites within a Third World government, educating them in the neoliberal model of economic development and promoting their autonomy from democratic political pressure. The World Bank acts collusively with these elites to arrange loans for building the transportation and utility infrastructure needed for Western industry to build profitable facilities in the country. When the country incurs a crushing debt load, owing to the collusion between domestic technocratic elites and the World Bank, the World Bank and IMF use the debt as leverage to impose a “structural adjustment reforms,” including “privatization” of the very infrastructure that was created at taxpayer expense to subsidize Western industry. Naturally, the infrastructure is bought up by Western capital–the same interests it was originally built at taxpayer expense to serve–for pennies on the dollar. During the privatization process, the Third World government may invest more money in the infrastructure, to make it salable, than it gets from the sale. And following “privatization,” the new owners’ first order of business will be systematic asset stripping, with the income from sale of capital assets exceeding what they paid for the infrastructure. Pretty neat, huh?

    You forgot to mention one of the other plans to come from this – they’re going to print more money. Seriously are they infants.

    • ripp0 4.1

      am I pleased you put IMF attainments in the PAST tense.. it is as the fellow here says so Reaganomic..

      but hey the reason why that is so particularly important for enzed right – go see because I know for sure he has fears of flaming and likely lynchings for just coming out with it in this country – is what is NOT BEING SAID on blogs, msm or anywhere to speak of.

      And it darned well should.

      BTW: the imf head is euro I think and he’ll go with the flow. Now. Today. And future, no worries.

  5. quoth,

    print more money. Seriously are they infants.

    SDRs – the imf’s so-called ‘liquid gold’ can be seen as more money.. tho please note that it is destined for primarily emergent (or developing) country expenditure and/or economic initiatives.. which is to say available upon justified application.. no more nor less.

    one thing I would ask you to do is consider what kind of world can/will sustain a $5tn inflow to its financial circulation during the next wee while.. and yes, you’ve gotta go past the immediate – and now outdated if not soon to be outlawed – inflation(ary) terminology. It may assist for you to consider the primary benefit arising to most people..

    best now..

    • Quoth the Raven 5.1

      I’m trying to consider what benefit can come from printing more money. Your task is to explain clearly, despite all recieved wisdom, how priniting more money can possibly create more wealth. From what I know printing more money does not create more wealth – it seems simple. When one says we have to go past some such terminology, the question should obviously be why?

      • ripp0 5.1.1

        quoth,

        speak ye please of wealth—your wealth

        from what you say here it appears somewhat limited to me.. how wide could your concept of it go, or put another way, what constraints have you imposed upon it..and, importantly, to whom would it apply..???

    • jbc 6.1

      Ahh, Geldof. The tax-avoiding very rich multi-millionaire capitalist who jets around the world (not at his own expense, of course) preaching to us about reducing poverty.

      Hmmm…

      QtR: From what I know printing more money does not create more wealth – it seems simple

      From what I know it dilutes the value of the money already in existence. The effect of that will depend on where that new money goes. It could potentially have a redistributive effect – although I suspect that this opportunity is not being taken. The new money is probably being squandered replacing old money that was lost due to gambling.

  6. infused 7

    Great video

  7. Relic 8

    Simple, nationalise everything that moves in nation states, then ‘internationalise’ via the UN? everything else, close the stock exchanges permanently, no more futures, hedges or leverages, generously allow certain, ‘co operative’ individual moneybags’ to keep their booty, but no more personal accumulation of obscene wealth. Bye bye world bank and IMF. The joke is over. The worlds people and environment might just survive now. Oops, forgot about standing down all armed forces while this takes place.Dream on!

  8. pat 9

    Redesigning capitalism? Who would have thunk it?

    Maybe such in the box thinking should have been suggested to the people’s of Eastern Europe when communism was in its death thro in the eighties.

    Hey everybody let’s not get rid of communism, it just needs to be redesigned!!

    They got rid of Communism, then. Now its our turn to do the world a favour, and get rid of capitalism.

    The climate will thank us.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Check the history books. The USSR didn’t get rid of communism because they weren’t communist and hadn’t been since ~50 days after the revolution.

  9. Bill 10

    The aftermath of all this, if people allow the political and financial worlds to have their way, is going to be corporatism. ( ever more concentrated centres of political and financial power developing right now in case you missed it )It’s that simple.

    Mexico was bailed by the IMF in the early 80’s. The IMF stepped in with loans which bolstered Wall Street (the lenders) and further impoverished ordinary Mexicans.

    Same thing has happened to numerous countries

    Same thing now, but on a global scale.

    Second question. Redesigning Capitalism. Have no interest in a project intended to perpetuate capitalism…. in any modified form whatsoever.

    Abolish the market and explore and experiment with systems of trade and interaction that embody and promote the better facets of humanity.

    • r0b 10.1

      Can’t be done just like that, you have to get from here to there. What’s the first step, and the second?

      • Bill 10.1.1

        Perhaps Venezuela provides some pointers.

        That aside, demand the ‘unthinkable’, debate it and promulgate it.

        E.g. advance the idea of self management in work and society. Experiment on small scale initiatives, learn from those experiences and use them as problem solving templates so that the next time orthodoxy lays down the ground rules we aren’t bound by that game and can offer feasible alternatives that are shown to have worked.

        Produce a step by step guide on how to establish worker collectives, housing collectives etc. Produce literature that points out the pitfalls to be avoided and points to known strategies that avoid those pitfalls; that preserve and perpetuate the reification of the (formally) unthinkable.

        Much of the above has already been done, but people don’t search it out and use it because it is still beyond the bounds of things deemed acceptable for consideration by most.

        Sooo….a variation on PBs post on Overtons Window. Miss out the middle man, the government and get people to the point where the unthinkable is seen as possible…as worth consideration.

        • r0b 10.1.1.1

          Glad you got back to this to reply.

          get people to the point where the unthinkable is seen as possible

          I think that, for a variety of reasons, this may well happen over the next few decades.

  10. r0b 11

    To me the most disappointing outcome what the one that was missing. The whole thing was a punt on the environment. They could have charted a new course to a low emission energy efficient economy. They weren’t up to it.

    George Monbiot nailed it: “No expense is spared saving the banks. Every expense is spared saving the biosphere”.

  11. rave 12

    G20 ripoff, turning junk into gold which we pay for with our future labor and devalued living standards the more they print money not backed by commodities.
    This is called double whammy exploitation. First take the value from our labor, then when youve exhausted that supply, invest your profits in vastly over-valued commodities (i.e.create toxic non-value) and when that tanks, mortgage our future wages (itll come out of the kids mouths for sure) to retrospectively valorise this non-value.

    Still with me? Of course to perform the last trick you need smooth operators like Obama, Key and G20 ripoffs to paste “jobs” on their headlines instead of “profits”.

    Solution? Let them go bust. Form one big bank. It already exists its called the Treasury. But call it the peoples bank. Nationalise every company that actually produces things we need to live, and can trade for other things we need. Kick out all the bosses governments put in a workers government then plan the economy democratically to produce what we need without making us all drown or choke or rot from the inside in our own lifetimes.

    • ripp0 12.1

      rave,

      G20 ripoff, turning junk into gold which we pay for with our future labor and devalued living standards the more they print money not backed by commodities.
      This is called double whammy exploitation.

      looks as though you are seeking to extend a case IMHO.. the double whammy constituting business-as usual.. and in which your further comments rather than express radical thought rely on reactionary radicalism.. whose end..?

      Redlogix put it well with mention of a last time scenario resulting in WWII. One should not overlook the familial forces of war and its/their profitmaking opportunities.

      The OUTput of gaming much destruction etc.

      Suggest folks think livable, not demise-able.

      Try for a vision sadly overlooked. Yep, there’s nothing hard or difficult about this.. all that is required is clear thinking, sound judgement (based in what is known) and concerted resolution.

  12. RedLogix 13

    What drives real change?

    I think we all sense that the world is at a cusp, where a radical new direction is possible… but for better or worse?

    The 1930’s Great Slump directly led to WW2. Crisis and upheaval do not inherently lead to renewal and resurgence.

    More than anything else I believe we are in a crisis of values; the cult of individualism, greed and irresponsibility has proven the false god it always was, but where to from here?

    Most of us regulars here partake of a fairly capacious basket of hopes, dreams and ideals based broadly around notions of social, environmental and ethical interdependence… but how to crystalise that into a vision, a path that will inspire the mass of people?

    How to get out of our heads, and into their hearts?

  13. Pascal's bookie 14

    Ok so it’s not G20, and we should always bearing in mind that the bank bailouts and financial reconstruction is not the same as the economic plans to deal with the fallout from the financial mess, but, connectivity etc…

    http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2009/04/03/banks-game-geithner/

    These banksters have got some chutzpah baby. At every turn they are seeking to help themselves in some perverted formulation of the Randian belief sets that many of them, consciously or unconsciously, hold to, to varying degrees. Until that fact is recognised at dealt with, things will not get better.

    Someone will bring them to heel, it’ll either be the government(s), or peeps with pitchforks. They really are playing a dangerous game, and I’m wondering how much they believe all that ‘masters of the universe’ myth they’ve comforted themselves with for lo these many years.

    • ripp0 14.1

      PB,

      very good. I was atracted to Randian belief sets and so very aptly used, more especially in the latter case of a student(next generation) being as good as his/her teacher..

      Years gone by there was a most useful image-puncturer on the NY art scene.. (Can’t recall name now) but at the height of AT&T fame the firm build a monstrous tower in the metropolis and occupied it. Upon seeing several ‘suits’ walking out of the entrance one lunchtime she termed the whole thong — them and their office building — TALL BOYS.

      That’s right, seperated words unlike the furniture drawer item. Became one of the post-modernists early lexicon entries. And stuck.

      Mebbe something similar could be minted for what gives here and now in enzed..

  14. r0b 15

    My simplistic understanding of this whole “financial crisis” works like this:

    Bank A buys x from Bank B and decides it’s worth a billion dollars
    Bank B buys y from Bank A and decides it’s worth a billion dollars
    Bank A then then learns that x is worthless “Oh no! We lost a billion!”
    Bank B then then learns that y is worthless “Oh no! We lost a billion!”
    Government to A: “You poor things here have a billion from the taxpayer”
    Government to B: “You poor things here have a billion from the taxpayer”
    Bank A: “Great!”
    Bank B: “Nice one”
    Taxpayer: “WTF?”

    Is that more or less how it happened?

    And as to whether or not the G20 proposals are going to save us, here is the best two sentence summary I’ve seen: “The current debt-spend economy of the United States is simply not sustainable. And the cure is not more debt and more spending.”

    • RedLogix 15.1

      So… pitchforks it is then?

      For decades central banks have been closely monitoring wage inflation, and taking harsh action to dampen it down. But fraudulent and grotesquely inflated asset, equity, bond and credit valuations…. were all somehow ok.

      Frankly the more I read about this, the angrier I get. Obama makes all the right noises, but somehow it’s all about getting the fix in.

  15. vto 16

    All this meltdown is a very good example of the capitalist free enterprise system in action of course isn’t it.

    For years many kept saying “stop, slow down, all this spending and consumerism is simply not sustainable!! You must stop it!”

    And it has stopped.

    Fancy that. So simple that it seems to have gone right over the heads of many. The free enterprise system has resulted in the natural and desired effect, namely a cessation of the unsustainable consumerism etc society that was.

    How about a thank you then to the capitalist free enterprise system?

  16. RedLogix 17

    How about a thank you then to the capitalist free enterprise system?

    So I have this valve controlling feedwater to a boiler. The control loop is tuned absolutely on the nose, but because I’m an arrogant ass I don’t listen to one of my colleauges who keeps telling me that the loop is unstable under different operating conditions to the ones I have assumed will always apply.

    Inevitably the day arrives when my colleauge is proven right, the feedwater control fracks up and the boiler explodes. At this point I turn around and claim that we should be thankful, because looking at the now shattered, but very stable, valve lying in the wreckage, the system turned out ultimately to be ‘self correcting’.

    Outline and justify your response.

    • vto 17.1

      Not a good analogy mr logix. Perhaps extend it to the entire water supply, boiler and heating system. A valve could not handle the loading and had been fiddled with a few years previously. The valve blew, causing unfortunate and dire repercussions throughout the system. It seems many consider the valve fiddling to indicate that the entire water supply, boiling and heating system is stuffed. Incorrect assumption.

      Analogies have limitations.

      How is this not a self-correction? The system over-extended, is collapsing to a new level, and will thereafter likely continue in similar fashion (reacting and bending to the whims and desires and characters of the human nature, which in the immediate future may well mean far less of the material consumerist desire).

      r0b suggest below that we are all socialists now. Don’t be fooled. The socialist type interventions going on are wolves in sheeps clothing.

      • RedLogix 17.1.1

        The system over-extended, is collapsing to a new level, and will thereafter likely continue in similar fashion

        That is not what was being claimed for it. Until just recently all the central bankers were crowing about the ‘The Great Moderation’ and how their much touted risk management skills meant that catastrophic instability was now an impossibility.

        Analogies have limitations.

        All you are really doing is moving the goal posts. You missed the real point of the analogy. If an engineered system fails then there are one of two possible scenarios:

        1. Something entirely novel has happened, the root cause can be investigated, and steps taken to ensure it does not happen again.

        2. The engineer screwed up. Generally when this happens heads roll.

        But in this case we have a system called ‘free market capitalism’. It has demonstrably failed. As you rightly said above, the root cause of this failure is neither novel (we’ve had major failures before, eg 1930) and warnings were given of the obvious problems (but they were ignored). Therefore scenario 1 does not apply.

        Scenario 2 does. The people who run the system, the bankers and capitalists screwed up, but somehow sacking them is not on the agenda.

        In this case we give them bigger bonus’s than ever before and tell them to get right back to doing pretty much what they were doing before the ‘unfotunate accident’ (the one they had spent years assuring us could not happen).

        • Bill 17.1.1.1

          Capitalism hasn’t failed. Not from the perspective of elites. They continue to exploit us as before.

          However there is a need to retrench ’cause they have exposed themselves a tad. So an outcome is being sought.

          The outcome is intended to allow those who have exercised power to continue to do so. The outcome is intended to protect those people from their own excesses as encouraged by the framework of possibility and reward (Capitalism) so that they are not subject to the possibility f the rabble ever rising up saying that enough is enough and putting an end to their wee game.

          It is not intended that the environment be protected (that would put too many constraints on their exercise of power).

          It is not intended that society be protected, nor ordinary people in the so-called developed countries, nor the poor bastards in the rest of the world. (Too many constraints, too much accountability.)

          Just concentrate power and protect profit.

          Secure the buoyancy of the good ship Capitalism and it’s elitist crew across the seas of the blighted, disposable rabble and the detritus of environmental catastrophe thrown up by their project. That’s all. That’s how they will measure their success.

        • vto 17.1.1.2

          Don’t get me wrong Mr Logix, I agree that the measures being taken are not right and that various people and entities who should be paying are not.

          Imo there is a mix of the engineer screwing up, as you say (relaxing rules arounf finance etc), and an over-extension of the market.

          Like the tulip boom in the 1600s, people kept buying and selling with no real evaulation of the true value which was of course a lot lower than that traded. This is classic boom behaviour. All those financial instruments etc being traded were not as valuable as people believed. Then all of a sudden the truth became apparent and immense losses occurred instantly. Other examples include gold booms, 80s equity boom, etc.

          Other classic boom behaviour also involves people claiming that history will not repeat and that this time is different.

          However, also, as you say, part of that boom behaviour resulted from the engineer changing the settings which allowed the exuberant trading to extend somewhat.

          Nevertheless, no matter the settings on one part of the system, it was still an over-extended market which is self-correcting. The market behaviour and results, which come abpout as a result of millions of people going about their business, imo is far more preferable than a system which is directed from from above by a small number of dictatorial types. The capitalist free enterprise system is of course a form of democracy in action on a daily basis.

          Hence, some thanks to this system for stopping the recent over-exuberant consumerist approach. Imagine if that small group of dictatorial types tried to stop and control this sort of thing? Scary. In fact, a small group of dictatorial types are currently trying to fix things and you agree they are not doing a good job. And further, if the system was allowed to run its course then your wish would come true and all those who should be paying would be paying. You should embrace it – it would achieve the ends you desire.

          • RedLogix 17.1.1.2.1

            Well I can see where you are coming from, but what you are really saying is that ‘free market capitalism’ is inherently unstable (actually it is, look up Hyman Minsky sometime) and fails catastrophically from time to time… and that we should be thankful for this.

            Would you buy a car on that basis? “Yeah, goes great, but every few years the wheels all fall off killing you and your family.”

  17. r0b 18

    How about a thank you then to the capitalist free enterprise system?

    What capitalist free enterprise system? Haven’t you heard? We’re all socialists now

  18. Quoth the Raven 19

    vto – We don’t have a free enterprise system. We have capitalism. The two are contradictory. And of course I should add that governments bailing out banks and large corporations are not allowing market forces to operate – Plutocracy.

  19. ripp0 20

    quoth, vto,

    interesting points made by both of you and I thank you for same. As to Pluto I’d always thought of it as a planet and disney dog character (something like that :-)..

    In part I suspect that both your takes have included some if not all of the linked material provided by Pascal’s Bookie.. that is this notion of bankers bidding up their ‘for sale’ assets with bailout bucks.. what PB disna point out – nor that selfsame materia make clear – was how April 2 legislation enabled relaxation of former mark-to-market (accounting) rules.

    In essence this meant that since there was no market (nor market value) for such assets(toxic) then no one could know what they were worth. Repeat: no market also means no liquidity or cash or money to pay deals and trade in. Now none of us would want the government bailouts to BE that cash etc. Not least for the simple reason that once it has gone the problem asset/s are still there… and hey, how high would anyone feel happy at govt debt-to-GDP ratio.. right now.

    Yeah, I know this must all look off the wall yet so far as I can see there aint nothing better there.. I’m saying that that bidding up (these guys would have known it in the pipeline prior to April 2, to explain a perceived news lag) is the means of finding a market again and its prevailing value/s..

    Hope this helps..

  20. MikeE 21

    “And how would you have “redesigned capitalism’?”

    By removing all the socialism for starters

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