Saturday, September 16, 2006

Nations Strive for Unity on Financial Crisis

This is like watching a grand drama play out on the world’s stage. Every nation has its role – to give the appearance that there is much dissention among the nations as they strive to solve this crisis. And just like a play – those involved in the production already know the outcome. After much debate and the appearance of cooperation – in the end we’ll see the solution appear – as if the actors decided the ending. We all know that actors simply read their lines and put on a good show – it’s the people writing the script who ultimately control the production.

Who – might you ask – is writing this script? It’s easy to say that the ‘illuminati’ or whatever you want to call this cartel of secret societies/international bankers is behind the scenes – orchestrating all of this. As I’ve said many times before – to truly understand our world – you must be able to see and understand the spiritual component. The writer of this evil script is our spiritual enemy – and I’m sure that he’s pretty proud of himself – after all – pride caused his downfall and it continues to consume him. However, we can take solace in the fact that our Creator knows our enemy’s script – and has incorporated the evil that is present in the world – into the ultimate script - our Father’s plan to end evil and restore us. So, let the world’s screenwriters continue to write and let the world’s actors continue to act on the world’s stage. Those of us who know the ending of this grand play will simply continue to watch, learn and listen – until our Father asks us to enter stage right.

jg – Nov 10, 2008
Nations Strive for Unity on Financial Crisis

November 10, 2008

Wall St. Journal

WASHINGTON -- Leaders of 20 nations will gather in Washington Friday, supposedly to speak with one voice about how to handle the economic crisis that engulfs the world.
When it comes to action, though, don't count on unity. A nationalist Tower of Babel is more likely.

The French want to rein in unbridled global capitalism and build a new regulatory order. The Americans are suspicious of that.

The British first said they wanted a "new Bretton Woods," which sounds like a call to remake or even replace the International Monetary Fund and other international institutions conceived at that 1944 New Hampshire conference. Now they want a more powerful IMF.

Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from around the world at the opening of the G-20 summit in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

But the Russians would try to veto the latter idea. They want an IMF that won't impose what Arkady Dvorkovich, a top Kremlin economic adviser, calls "political conditions" on borrowers as it does now.

Meanwhile, the Chinese -- who Sunday announced a sweeping economic-stimulus plan -- want more influence on IMF decisions. Everyone else wants the Chinese to bankroll IMF lending programs whether or not the power structure is changed quickly.

Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers met during the weekend in São Paulo to prepare for the summit. Speaking at a news conference Sunday, IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn recognized that leaders hold differing views about the best way forward. He said there is reason to be optimistic about the G-20 summit because everyone at the table agrees coordinated action is crucial.

"If there were already a single voice, then you wouldn't have a need for a meeting," Mr. Strauss-Kahn said. Differences of opinion "are always the case at the beginning of a meeting." Joseph Guinan, a senior analyst in Brussels at the German Marshall Fund, a U.S.-European think tank, said, "We're still at a phase where nobody trusts a version of how we move forward that's propounded by anyone else."

The problems plaguing the conference are part conceptual, part political. It's far from clear how to stanch the economic crisis from getting worse given the complex interaction between housing problems, tightened credit, bank solvency and slumping consumer demand globally. The IMF plans to use the conference to lobby nations for a big dose of Keynesian pump priming -- running big budget deficits to cut taxes and boost spending. The U.S. has started in this direction, but many European countries are skeptical.

How to head off a potential future crisis is also an imponderable. It's easy to talk about more regulation. But what kind? And how much should regulation be transnational?

The main political problem dogging the conference is the U.S. America's economy is so vast and its influence over international institutions so large that significant change in the global economic system can't occur without U.S. assent.

But President George W. Bush has just more than two months to serve and can't bind the U.S. beyond that, while the president-elect, Barack Obama, isn't ready to take up global economic overhauls. "The United States has only one government and one president at a time," Mr. Obama said Friday, although representatives of other nations are talking to Obama aides. European leaders are proposing a second summit 100 days after the Washington confab -- in late February, about a month after Mr. Obama takes office.

The best that's likely to come of this week's meeting is a commitment to make financial reform a continuing priority. After the Asian financial crisis in 1998, the IMF pushed for changes in the "global financial architecture," including an international bankruptcy court to handle country defaults. But once the global economy recovered, interest in change plummeted and the bankruptcy-court idea died.

At this meeting, the IMF plans to showcase some new ideas, including work it is doing on identifying asset bubbles before they develop. IMF economists are studying past crises globally to see how asset prices develop into major problems over several years, to assess whether there were indicators of trouble that could help predict problems in the future.
The IMF also is debating internally whether to nominate itself as a global financial regulator or propose a "network" of international institutions.

European nations are pushing a somewhat different network -- a "college of supervisors" for the largest financial institutions: Regulators of, say, Citigroup from different countries would meet informally to swap information.

The weakness with all these proposals is enforcement. For years, the Europeans and the U.S. have ignored IMF advice on how to deal with problems at home, while they expect developing nations to hew to IMF requirements in order to qualify for emergency loans.
This past spring, the IMF worked up a plan for the U.S. to recapitalize its banks and presented it to the Treasury, where it was ignored. A Treasury official says the report wasn't even passed along to the Treasury secretary's office. The British and French are no different, said Simon Johnson, a former IMF chief economist.

Mr. Obama didn't take positions on remaking the global financial system during the campaign. But it will be an issue forced upon him quickly. During the Asia crisis, some of his top economic advisers -- then in the Clinton White House -- used the IMF to push U.S. economic policy.
This time, the Obama administration will be judged internationally, in part, on whether it is willing to listen to advice as well as dole it out.

—John Lyons in São Paulo contributed to this article.
Write to Bob Davis at

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