November 17th, 2008
08:01 AM GMT
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WASHINGTON D.C. –- It was always going to be tough meeting the expectations at the G20 on Saturday. Talk of Bretton Woods II before the meeting inevitably raised hopes that would be near impossible to fulfil.

The fact that 20 nations, representing 90 percent of the global economy were present, merely gave the cynics cause to say nothing could get done - even President Bush admitted as much in his closing statement. Everyone expected an anodyne declaration giving something to everyone; thus nothing to anyone.

But the 10-page declaration proved us all wrong. It is considered, detailed and, yes, it sets out short and medium term goals for the G20.

Let’s remember the salient points: fiscal and monetary stimulus from those nations who can; immediate reform of accounting rules to conform to a global standard; new regulations for derivative markets and better early warning of crises; reform of the IMF and World Bank adding weight for the developing world; and a college of supervisors for cross-border investment companies.

These are not just platitudes. They mean business. Why? Because from what I can see the world leaders are angry and frustrated. Despite the cynics, most leaders go into politics to do some good. They don’t want to spend billions of dollars bailing out banks which should be building hospitals, roads and making life better for the electorate. They are furious that they’re stuck with the worst financial crisis in decades and they’re going to wreak revenge on those behind it.

However, there is an overriding hypocrisy that I found too much to take.

In defining the causes the declaration says “policy makers, regulators and supervisors in some advanced countries did not adequately appreciate and address the risks.”

Policy makers? Some advanced countries?

Surely not George Bush, who has been president for eight years? Or Gordon Brown who was Britain’s finance minister for over a decade and is now prime minister? Even Nicolas Sarkozy was France’s finance minister in 2005! The list of the complicit runs much deeper once you take into account officials in finance ministries and central banks who are still in office.

This is a breathtaking case of “someone was to blame” for the crash, conveniently forgetting they were the people either at the wheel or reading the map.

All I wanted to hear was one word: just one.

Sorry.

My Question: Did the G20 actually make a difference?

Or alternatively: Have the guilty politicians got away with the biggest financial swindle of our time? Watch The Economist's Philip Coggan answer your questions



soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Sam in Spain

    It will only work if they ALL act accordingly to what they have agreed, however if they do then they will be the first to do so.

    Like all previous agreements to help on various other subjects amny had been found wanting and I can't see this being anything else.

    As for the proposed bail-out on the U.S. Car makers – FORGET IT.

    Britain spent a FORTUNE on trying to save the British car industry, so where is it now???? GONE, GONE, GONE. and the U.S.Taxpayers money will go the same way as did the British Taxpayer. Right down the pan.

    November 17, 2008 at 10:50 am |
  2. Rod

    Richard,
    Your optimistic assessment of the summit sounds good, but as you have pointed out, some of the leaders, most outstanding, are apparently, incompetent or ineffectual or both. As for waiting for an "I'm sorry," our government has long standing unwritten policy of never saying, "I'm sorry," however appropriate. You will have to wait a hundred years or more. My feeling is that even if they were accused of a minor raid on the cookie jar and had crumb lined mouths, they'd deny it and never say, "I'm sorry." It appears that because of a few, yet to be punished, the world's less fortunate will share the debt, the misery, the loss. And people attack Obama for wanting to spread the wealth. How many truely wealthy have you heard stepping in to contribute monetarily to solving this problem or the problems of people less fortunate? Maybe you can do a story on the wealthy contributing one per cent of their wealth. What we don't need is more advice from the same group that got us in to this crisis. Their advice is worth as much a lot of people's future.Thanks for not saying, P. Bush chaired the proceedings. Good article, it points out the absurdity of it all.

    November 17, 2008 at 11:58 am |
  3. Calin Mirea

    I write to you from ROMANIA ( somewhere in Europe , but member
    in the EU )

    My question is : On what reports, on what evaluations and on what figures base their decisions the world leaders and big investors ???

    We see that top rating auditors and analists make huge mistakes . (See ENRON where evaluation was made by a top auditing agency ). We also see now that top rating agencies (Standard & Poors / Fintch ) are keeping on their list as "investment worthy " economies in recession or stagnating such as ICELAND , and downgrading as non " investment worthy " economies which are growing and where a growth process is forecast for next year such as ROMANIA .

    Who is rating the rating these agencies ?

    How can one rely on their judgement when in the case of ROMANIA 4/5 years ago when the economy was less performant the budget deficit much higher the inflation was higher they UPGRADED and today when the deficit is lower , the inflation is lower , the economy is really growing (about 9 % this year ) and has also growth forcasts (between 3 and 4 p% growth ) for the next year they DOWNGRADE ?

    Are we talking about clear unbiassed judgement and evaluation or just about politics ???

    Thanks / Best regards

    PS : By the way i have nothing against ICELAND, which I visited and is a wonderfull country with very nice hardworking people wonderful scenery and plenty of turistic potential )

    Calin Mirea
    Bucharest / Romania

    November 17, 2008 at 12:26 pm |
  4. Ranjit Jatar

    Let me write about India. Today there is not a single - yes not a single Indian bank– which has a capital adequacy ratio of less than 10%. There is no sub prime crisis despite a mad scramble for housing loans which got sanctioned and led to a 100-300 % increase in housing prices from 2003-2007. So what did India do right? For one, housing loans were given based on criteria which involved relatively higher self financing margins. Secondly income criteria was an important ingredient in sanctions. There were no 'step up' payment facilities. Yet India has paid a price. Why ? Because hedge funds and FIIs have withdrawn funds from the Indian stock market - led by redemption pressures in western countries. Nothing to do with any drop in fundamentals of Indian companies.

    India has a wise "Fed" - the Indian Reserve Bank of India . Not a Greenspan led Fed which has impacted this planet like a Tsunami after the bubble burst. You are absolutely right. Someone somewhere needs to say a sorry - if not more. Not strut around like George Bush making statements of how he believes in a free economy - when millions are losing jobs all over the world so suddenly and due to no fault of theirs.

    November 17, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  5. Thomas

    No one should expect any government to really want to stick their nose in and complicate matters at a time of rich prosperity and growth which is what the past few years have been in the richer countries. No one was calling and begging for government intervention a few months ago were they? Of course not, we were drunk with the thought that party would never end. It has always been this way and I guess it will always be. To say that the politicians are, or were swindling us or are to blame is just not right. I am sure that they could have and should have done a much better job at the helm, but then again so could we all, right down to joe sixpack! We are all responsible for the current situation.

    As far as the summit goes, “Former IMF Chief Economist Simon Johnson says that…’Almost always, once a group like this meets, it can agree on its own importance and the need for another meeting.’” It is just a way to try and show that they are doing something right.

    And so it goes

    November 17, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  6. Tracy From Canada

    It is time for US companies to shut down in Canada. Canada is an extreme right wing country that has an extreme right wing Prime Minister. America should stop doing business in Canada. The Conservative Party of Canada racist, hate mongering, and do not care about the environment. America has to realize Canada is not a good country to do business in.

    November 17, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  7. LUDWIG MEIER

    Financial assistance to the US car industry looks to me like a bonfire
    with taxpayers money.
    The top managements of the big 3 in the US have simply overslept the time. It is not the present credit crunch that hurts them but the fact that they are producing cars that nobody wants anymore.
    To develop smaller and more fuel-efficient cars and change the production lines will take years.
    Is it then to be expected that the taxpayer will have to nurse this industry over several years ?
    They should have watched their competitors from Japan and Korea more closely .

    November 17, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  8. Irvin Holley

    It Doesn't take a rocket scientist or a PHD. to figure out the problem,what will stimulate the economy,,,,
    Here a is a real solution.
    Take the 700Billion dollars back from the banking industry,,,,give each household,,,small business one hundred thousand dollars cash
    in turn the consumers will put that money right back into the economy,
    banks, automakers,,retailers will all get the shot in the arm that they need.The american people will get the shot in the arm they need.The Gov't would get the money right back through the taxes.. And you ask why one hundred thousand,, the average person don't make one hundred thousand in a year,,,
    That would give each person enough support for one year.
    In turn that would give the Gov't enough time to fix other problems thats facing the nation,(manufacturing,energy,health care,immigation and homeland security and the war.A stimulus package is needed,,but the money is going to the wrong place,,
    the consumers are the ones that need the stimulus,,not the banks or automakers,,,
    next take all foreign entities,,flags and influences off american soil,,
    reinstate all tariffs..
    But as long as there is no manufacturing,the economy will never recover. real estate is not strong enough to revive the economy,,we need jobs..And one last point,, some things have to stay local,,everything is not ment to be global...we are giving away to much of our ASSETS to other nations ,,the thing we need to control the most are our resources,,, controlling your resources will control your world..

    November 17, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  9. earle,florida

    I wonder if when they all came together,and were told of,"Just How Bad the World's Economy's Are", that they all collasped ,because the oxygen had been sucked out of the room? Oh the horror....

    November 17, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  10. Darwin

    I can't believe (well yes I can really) how we, the public, disinfranchise ourselves from having played any part in this financial meltdown. Irresponsible financial wizardry, yes. Irresponsible Joe Bloggs and his undimminishing appetite for credit, an even bigger yes. In short, the doors to the sweet shop were left wide open and we took the bait.

    We are told that smoking can cause cancer but we still insist on taking the manufacturers to court if we get it. We are told that an investment can go down as well as up but still feel it our right to call our financial adviser a thief if they go down.

    In short, it appears that everyone on this globe has been in a state of hypnosis and therefore not responsible for their actions; "I took that three hundred thousand loan because I looked too deeply into the bank managers eyes". "The headlights on the Jaguar started flashing as I walked past the showroom – I can't remember anything else from that point on".

    As for the G thing – governments have to be seen doing something, although I would imagine that the real decisions have already been made behind closed doors by the mandarins.

    This whole affair really begs the question whether a nanny state isn't such a bad idea after all; taking into account that some of us behave like little children, perhaps not.

    November 17, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  11. Dr. Muhammad Sadiq

    Dear Richards,

    I think G20 did nothing new. All they did was repeating what they already were doing. As a matter of fact G7 made sure that the other 13 did not do something other than what G7 were interested in doing.
    G7 leaders represent filthy rich people who take advantage of such situations and multiply their wealth at the cost of others less affluent ones.
    Government bail out plans help such people buy various stocks at the rock bottom prices, thereby making highest level of profits:
    Yes the politicians got away with the biggest swindle of our times and big fish have really eaten the small fish.

    November 17, 2008 at 6:58 pm |
  12. D. R. Esquibel

    Can we drop the blamegame and focus on fix. Don't bail out auto industry with 25BILLION That is 1,000 million. I'm a life long democrat and we should not throw good money after bad. Also if auto industry is in banckruptcy let them reorganize. If the Unions will not work with them, let the industry go into Chapter 7. Someone will fill the gap although it might be slow rather then fast. A whole new start might be the fix. It always seems like good advice to "keep it simple stupid". And most of all when we negotiate can we keep it reasonable and honest instead of playing bargaining games. THIS IS A SERIOUS SITUATION.

    November 17, 2008 at 7:22 pm |
  13. Benny

    Ups and downs are a necessary feature of stocks, bonds and other financial instruments. There is no problem nor failure there.
    The problems with the books of some financial companies, on the other hand, cannot be brought back to one person or company. This is a systemic problem, part greed and part perceived risk aversion.
    To create money out of air, alternative derivatives have been set up, which even had been seen as much as without any risk at all. Now there is a need for regulation of these exotic banking products, as there is in other markets. The Rule of Law must be applied, especially in these worst of times. To this extent it may not be enforced by bankers and politicians who helped create the problem. Independence and disinterest is key. As such we must also see the numerous bailout proposals. There is not an endless supply of capital and credit. These must be allocated in terms of future viability to ensure high-standard, well paying jobs in the future. The worst outcome would be where capital will be concentrated in failing companies with failing business plans, instead of giving breathing room to new, innovative and profitable businesses. As such we need to discourage financial safehavens as government bonds and other government lending practices in favor for organic business investments. And in the end, this should all be done from an independent perspective. As such we may also see some regulation by the G20 summit as positive, where other measures as IMF/ World Bank reforms should undergo prolonged and differentiated public scrutiny, again from an independent viewpoint.

    November 17, 2008 at 8:26 pm |
  14. Erich - South Africa

    What amazes me is that we keep on repeating the same mistakes.
    The junk bond debacle, the silicon valley bubble and still there is no oversight to control these temporary exessive retuns. Surely any logical thinker must realize that continued returns in excess of say 20% is not sustainable?

    November 17, 2008 at 9:09 pm |
  15. Peter from Perth

    Now that all the derivatives have hit the fan and global economies are heading south, a number of the usual (european) culprits are coming out to lay blame for the crisis on the Americans. Strange... we never heard anything from them when the boom was running in fact they were the very ones with the power to regulate the markets and they all looked the other way, two faced?.....no...surely not.

    November 18, 2008 at 1:32 am |
  16. mardoto

    Richard,
    I am from Indonesia, a beautiful developing country.
    According to G20 Leaders, they are only talking, we do not need these, this is indeed the issue of business investment. The effects of this business that exceeds any states in the world and across continents is globalization consequences.
    Context is the resolution on the seriousness of all countries to follow international trade law, there is not a country that seeks to impose the will of other countries, as well as institutions like the IMF should not impose "ideas" to developing countries, because the policy is not necessarily appropriate for the conditions of each country are very different infrastructure.
    So, as regulators and supervisors, the responsibility of big countries should be larger.
    I want to say to the leaders of the world that it still establish, the world has changed, how egocentric thinking in the economic field is not appropriate any longer. Equality and parity in the vision of creating a new world must be better understood with a total equity.
    So, if asked, "Is the G20 really make a difference?". We can be optimistic, but only 40%. Thanks, http://www.mardoto.wordpress.com

    November 18, 2008 at 2:29 am |
  17. Con

    These governments are trying to make their inflated economies and debt laden citizens becoming more inflated and even more debt laden.

    So it would be therefore be sufficient for them just to make it look like they are doing something rather than tackling any of the problems which got us to this mess in the first place.

    You cant ignore reality forever, but politicians hope it can be ignored long enough to get re-elected.

    November 18, 2008 at 6:17 am |
  18. Navneet Kamboj (India)

    The people at CNN blogs write/report what they actually see with there eyes. Its not just CNN but even others such as investment banks as well. One poor step taken by rotten investment banks has made the economy of the entire world rotten today. We people were more concerned about rising fuel prices $ 147 and were busy predicting it (would it go $ 600 by July 2009). Why the hell these investment banks pay heft pay checks when they cannot predict there own future. Sit back, plan something that is applicable not just prepare mountains by words. I remember IBM's advertisement at this point STOP TALKING AND START WORKING. G20 was just a mere eye wash. If the leaders were so concerned then all these nation would have given some kind of financial aid to IMF for a time being.

    November 18, 2008 at 6:57 am |
  19. Elvis

    No it wont....the real causes or people who are responsible will go free. Until to date, no real effort to fix the Credit Default Swaps, or regulate hedge funds or putting in place proper regulatory system in place. Instance, the country that create these financial mess still going around as if the rest of the world are to be blame.... This denial from United States will translate into deeper recession which should have been a short one...like it or not, things will get very worse for americans due to incompetency of its president......will Obama make any difference? That is a trillion dollar question....

    November 18, 2008 at 12:09 pm |
  20. Michael C. McHugh

    It's definitely a step in the right direction, especially bring in developing countries. For a long time, I've thought that the IMF in particular was just not up to the job. For example, it imposes heavy austerity measures on countries where most people are already living austere lives, when the real goal should be expanding the economy and improving living standards. And many of these countries are important allies of the West.

    So, yes, the developing countries should have more of a say in running these global institutions. I also think that if it become something like a World Central Bank, it could even out these extreme fluctuations in currency and trade that damage so many countries, and maybe serve as sort of a Keynesian institution to fund useful projects in health care, education, the environment, and so forth–or at least assist the organizations that do.

    November 18, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  21. Ben Henry

    Bail Out for the rich, before Bush leaves his job. Look at these companies, having parties and giving out bonuses.

    November 18, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  22. Frank

    From Ireland – where the bubble has burst and where the words like recession, bankrupt banks, property write off loans, unemployment, liquidations, interest rates and the price of oil now dominate conversations both on the air waves and in the homes.

    This is a global issue and requires firm open honest leadership from our politicians. Unfortunately these traits are sadly lacking and the people who oversaw a lot of the decisions which created these problems are unfortunately still in power.

    We have to get back to a system which measures and rewards skills, honest effort and risk taking. We have to eliminate such traits as materialism, greed and short term gains from our systems.

    A continuous pressure to constantly improve the bottom line combined with forecasting for major growth and utilising complex financial models as fuel for these companies has resulted in the quagmire that we all are stuck in now for years to come.

    We will never eliminate greed ,materialism and the need for confrontation from our society but we need to regulate our basic desires for more and more profit at the expense of other basic values such as food, health both physical and mental, community values and sympathy for our fellow human beings.

    November 18, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  23. Abdelmoumen M'nebhi

    Concerning bankruptcies we have been hearing about in the news since the sub-prime crisis hit world economies, my idea is simple: productivity and technological innovation did not move fast enough to keep consumption at its current levels. In other words, wealth did not increase at the right pace leading to an over-leveraged economy where consumers are spending more than what they are producing. Growth based on heavy liberal credit policies has limits: as long as it is used to catch up with productivity and technological innovation, it works just fine; past this point, consumers better spend just what's in their wallets. And if innovation and entrepreneurship make their return, consumers may start dreaming again of an era where credit cards will recover all their magic.
    For years now, the world community at large has been asking leaders of the world to act on two major issues: environment and energy, the latter being related to the crisis of raw materials in general as well as transportation. I believe that technological innovation, entrepreneurship and productivity will flow out of the faucets of unprecedented environmental and energy policies yet to come. A long and sustainable growth can be achieved only through a revolution in the way leading countries will address these two issues. Capitalism has been strong because it has been able to act on its weaknesses: environmental and energy issues are now to capitalism what social claims represented before as a challenge to capitalism. The sooner these issues are tackled, the better for the world. What about the steps taken right now to face the crisis? I think the "numerous bailing out packages" we hear about in the news are just short term relief measures designed to keep the boat afloat for some years ahead before policies tackling the real issues (if implemented) bear fruits.

    November 18, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  24. d. griffith

    The answer to the question: Nothing from nothing leaves nothing, action speaks louder than words and for the other choice what goes around comes around.

    November 18, 2008 at 7:25 pm |
  25. Alan-From S.C.

    American's are so far in debt they won't be buying any new cars anyway.The Democrats oniy want to pay back tha Unions.

    November 18, 2008 at 7:38 pm |
  26. Sue Potter

    Ok, we are talking about how to turn around the economy with stimulus packages and bailouts, etc., but the same old game is being played. For example, American Express recently got Fed approval to become a bank holding company. Why? To get a piece of the 700B bailout. They admit that their balance sheet is in good shape, they are already on record with saying that they do not intend to use the $4.05 billion they received from settlements with Visa and MasterCard to support the company through this tough economy. They say that they deserve a piece of the bailout to remain competitive. Really? Since when are American taxpayers required to underwrite competition? And this bailout plan was certainly NOT marketed to the taxpayers with this kind of utilization in mind! Seriously, what is with the sense of entitlement? Just because 'everyone's doing it' is not mean that it is ethical. This is the kind of selfishness that is grinding our economy and country into the dust.

    November 18, 2008 at 7:52 pm |
  27. Man Wong

    I am from Hong Kong, I would like to share what I see and what I think.
    The G20 meeting has not addressed the root of the problem. Even if they can alleviate the damage done by the financial meltdown and the subsequent economic crisis this time, another crisis will come very soon. Why? Because creating financial bubbles has already been the only way to earn a living for too many people in the US and Western Europe.
    Hong Kong was an important manufactoring center in south east Asia before mid-1980. However, as China adopted the Open Door Policy and the property prices soared up in Hong Kong, the table turned. Hong Kong lost its cost effectiveness to do business. At first, the bosses transfered tentatively the low tier jobs across the Shenzhen River. Now, possibly over half of the middle tier and service jobs have followed suit. To many dwellers here, jobs with sales quota have become the only local choice left on the table.
    Last year, Chinese government did a good job to crush down the bubble in the property market. Only the stupid HKSAR officials continued to seize the land supply hoping to boost the property prices. If you think the high electric power bill, water bill, oil bill are bad for the economy, so wil be the high mortgage bill and rent.
    For the US and Western Europe, excessive bureaucracy and taxes seem to be the puzzling problems. The bottom line is, if China can produce a product with $50, and you have to make it with at least $100, you are in great trouble. As a result, inventing virtual financial profit becomes a major card remained on your laps. Don't think of any trade barrier, average consumers will punish those cannot get round these regulations. Stop fantasizing about relying too much on the regulators. In 2 weeks time, those surviving mice will have figured out a way to avoid the cat.

    November 18, 2008 at 8:13 pm |
  28. E. TerrelongeGriffithdeFranke

    The money that was lost was gone a long time ago. The bankers , the Shakers and Movers on Wall Street had to have inside rules in order for things to have gotten this bad.
    They all had to be in on this, everyone playing their own game not considering the outcome. Most of these companies over the last 5 years have payed out bonuses in Billions and incidents after incidents of clerks or assistants(low level) employes who help themselves to the goods with the nodd of their Supervisor.

    Not one Bank or Brokerage Company etc.. has come forward... why should they. They don't need to tell the public 'Sorry' Richard, they never asked our permission!

    Like yourself I am/was waiting for an apology why I don't even know, but it did give me an idea for a new word Pi-rats.
    Pi= a transcendental number, jumbled, thrown together at random
    rats = resembling mice but, much much much bigger genus Rattus.

    Can we clone this word? Establish it as 21st Century discreditable term representing the culpritst and replacing the deep hole in all our purses, nerves, lost homes and replace the 'In God We Trust' feeling.
    It is all I am asking.

    T.G.de Franke
    Bad Camberg,Germany

    November 18, 2008 at 9:01 pm |
  29. Michael Glass, Ed.D.

    My Two Cents on the Economic Crisis
    After eight years of the economically-challenged Bush administration, why should anyone be surprised at their generosity in giving billions of dollars to America’s largest insurance company and some of our largest financial institutions, while at the same time refusing to assist average middle class Americans as millions of them lose their jobs through managerial incompetence and their homes through foreclosure. Why would anyone even expect the Bush administration to want to save the jobs of hard working union employees in the automobile companies? The Bush administration hates unions and their leaders. I suggest we exile many of these Bush administration officials and corporate leaders to Guantanamo as financial terrorists.
    I strongly urge the new President to refrain from appointing any of these Goldman-Sachs-type, so-called business leaders to his administration. These so-called leaders are more concerned with furthering their own strategic financial needs and those of their buddies on Wall Street and their golden parachutes than the needs of any of the residents of Main Street America. When someone is paid millions of dollars a year to not achieve success in their business or industry, how can you expect them to comprehend or empathize with the plight of struggling middle-class Americans?
    If for some reason Washington decides to help the auto industry, my suggestion is for the government to purchase all the unsold vehicles languishing in car dealerships and automotive plants across America and distribute them via national lottery to anyone who has lost their job or their home as a victim of this corporate and government incompetence and greed.

    November 18, 2008 at 9:06 pm |
  30. Keith Howland

    I am in favor of using the bailout money in a way that helps both the banks and the automakers.
    How about gov backed low interest loans for car buyers that buy either existing dead inventory (at 40% reduced price)or newly produced vehicles that get over 35 miles per gallon.
    These loans would stimulate bank lending, restore auto manufactureres capital from dead inventory,and force the car makers to produce vehicles that save our economy from over priced fuel.
    How about reinstating the tax deduction for all interest for cars ,credit cards and any consumer purchase

    November 18, 2008 at 9:16 pm |
  31. Ron in NY

    I didn't support the financial bailout package of the big banks – but I understand that they are too key and too entrenched in the heart of the economy to let them fail. While they do not deserve the rescue package, letting them fail would simply have cost the average American much more in a destroyed economy that will the additional tax burden on the working class and our children. Furthermore, one can argue that those in control of the banks and financial institutions only did what there share holders wanted – maximize profits in the short term. The err in that industry falls in the laps of the government and our elected politicians – for not regulating how many times these institutions were allowed to dip into the proverbial cookie jar.

    Now – as for the executives of the automobile companies, I find no excuse for their mismanagement. Their greed is simply driven by poor management and poor marketing: Automotive marketing has failed to recoginize that we, the American consumer, could not afford to drive our gas guzzlers forever – especially as world demand for fossil fuels began to out strip supply. Furthermore, private industry marketing activites are not – and should not – be monitored and regulated by the government – unlike as in the banking industry.

    Therefore, with respect to the automobile companies, I say
    'Let em fail'. Let them enter bankruptcy thereby forcing a sale of the assets only. The creditors and investors will take the fall – and yes it will hurt. But what will arise from the ashes of this industry is an industry with a stronger business model with new senior management team – and a union that is more accepting to accepting to the realities of the market place. The foreign competitors two the big three will suddenly become investors – interested in expanding their American manufacturing capacities to serve the American market place. Furthermore, these new owners will bring knowledge and technology – know how in buiding the smaller and more fuel efficient cars that the American public want to buy. RonB

    November 19, 2008 at 2:07 am |
  32. franco

    I am not an economist, that's for sure. As a matter of fact I am pretty ignorant on the subject. However, considering the recent Government officials rush to inject taxpayer’s money into failing businesses and banks, it seems that I am not the only one.

    Is the Government’s way of attempting to save the economy the right way? Should the taxpayers be bailing out failing and unhealthy companies that ultimately could drag the economy into an even deeper recession? I have my doubts. But if the “macro brains” that are in control of the public purse insist that the way they are doing it is the right way, before they hand out our money, shouldn’t they at least be taking some elementary precautions and make sure that with the so called ‘rescue packages’ they are not simply throwing taxpayers money down the drain?

    Precautions such as getting rid of the existing management that are the principal cause of their companies failure. Insist and make sure that companies are trimmed down to functional and competitive levels and eliminate excessive and unnecessary spending. Cap top management compensation to say “no more than 10 times the average salary of a manager in their company. Eliminate obsolete and redundant products that consumers don’t want anymore.

    Lawmakers should be savvy and prudent with taxpayer’s money and make sure that it is invested wisely. Otherwise some industries will continue to go from failure to failure with great enthusiasm at taxpayers expenses.

    Businesses have been failing since time immemorial and for a variety of reasons; market saturation, management incompetence, poor quality products, excessive growth and expenditure out of control. Whatever the reasons, there will always be businesses that fail. Government can’t save them all. In fact President Reagan once said: “The scariest nine words in English are, I am from the Government, I’m here to help”.

    Some people said that the 3 big automakers should not be allowed to fail. I think they should. The automotive industry needs an extensive overhaul. You know, in forests, from time to time, nature ignites gigantic fires that destroy and gets rid of old diseased trees and unhealthy undergrowth. When the fire extinguishes, from the ashes a new and healthier life always emerges.

    They also say that the Feds should lower interest rates and keep injecting money into banks so they in turn would be liquid and keep lending to borrowers (or buy other failing banks.) But wasn't this the problem in the first place? Low interest rates, borrowers with no qualifications to repay the money back, a merry go round in consumer spending for needless things and housing developments galore.

    All that said, the question may be: Why do banks have no liquidity? Perhaps because people don't put savings into banks anymore. Why? Because low interest rates give little or no return for their savings.

    So we create this false economy. Everyone is encouraged to spend, spend and spend. Buy what you don't need or can't afford. With this type of strategy temporary jobs are created, a few people become billionaires, the economy gives the illusion of moving and then bang! the bubble bursts.

    Shouldn’t banks go back to the old basic and encourage people to save by giving them decent interest rates for their money? Higher rates would be a natural filter and will separate qualified from unqualified borrowers, banks will have more liquidity and government won't have to continuously print what could soon become "worthless money".

    Franco Mancassola

    November 19, 2008 at 3:51 am |
  33. arun sharma

    i am sure none of the world leaders is interested in solving the problems of the man on the street. job firings have become the daily news which is further creating chaos in the existing mess. why can't we ask the employers worldwide to cut expanses and salaries upto 30% across the board for next one year and retain all the sacked employees with that money so that everyone can atleast survive on whatever they get rather than getting sacked and getting nothing at all. this action will still have some money with all to spend and contribute to growth of the economy and ease the chaos.

    revise the mortgages and repayments to the current market value and give 90 days break to homeowners to restart paying back.

    it is surprising why nobody is talking of stopping the wars immediately where we are spending billions, when the common man on the street is struggling to arrange for food.

    the crisis has been created by all the governments as they knew all well before and nobody acted the way they are now when the situation went critical. it is real time test for world leaders to come forward and do somthing for the man on street only then we can tide over this rather than talking about inflation and stock exchange figures.

    wake up as the world is moving towards a civil unrest where nothing will remain except chaos

    November 19, 2008 at 8:32 am |
  34. arun sharma

    dear richard

    i fully agree with your comments and frankly your question is the answer.no one is going to do anything as one can not repair what is self destroyed. i wish Mr. Obama could be given the chance to start his policies immediately as he seems to be the only world leader talking about the common man who unfortunately has come on streets because of wrong doings of a handful of policy makers. i really wish Mr Obama be given the governance responsibility immediately rather than wait till 20 jan 09

    November 19, 2008 at 8:54 am |
  35. Carl Olsen

    Dear Sirs,

    As a teacher of management and strategy in a business school in Europe, I have several observations.

    The current visible problems with American-style turbo-capitalism spawned the discussion of "pig capitalism" way back in the 1800s. The current visible problems led to Karl Marx's comments on the abuses of capitalism. Turbo capitalism led to the "muck raker" reporting. The current American problems which are now affecting the entire world were visible in 1929. The real problem? The terminology is wrong. What we call "markets" in finance classes and on the news are, in reality, casinos.

    The entire Western economy is based on gambling, not investing. If you stop just trading stocks and start gambling on future market trends, you are gambling. If you have the ability to "short sell" you are gambling. The solution for the G20? Allow stock markets to only trade stocks for the next "x" months/years to stabilize the world's economy. By the way, that also finally puts controls on hedge fonds.

    The oil pricing system is based on gambling. Prices are not only set by OPEC, they are set by all the gambling firms in the middle who buy and sell ship-fulls of oil on paper only. The solution for the G20? Purchase oil direct from the producers for the next "x" months/years to stabilize the world's economy.

    Currency exchange rates are based on gambling. As an American living in Europe, I am happy to see that the dollar is doing better against the Euro, but who sets the rates? Not investors. Gamblers. The G20 solution? Standardize official exchange rates for the next "x" months/years to stabilize the world's economy.

    What do we do with the American housing market? If you change buying a home into a housing "market", you are gambling. Building a house becomes secondary to "investing" in rising house prices. The result was the greed by all the parties involved (buyers, sellers, banks and investors) which led to the current crisis. The solution for the G20? Go back to the way houses should be purchased. Standardize for "x" months/years that purchasing a house requires a credit check and "x" amount down.

    What do we do with the world's car market? There are two issues at work here: quality and fuel efficiency. For the quality issue, let the market work itself out. After my 1983 US car died at 50,000 miles, I switched to Japanese cars and am still happy (125,000 miles on my Lexus). For the fuel efficiency issue, this one is really easy. Pull out the goals set after the oil embargo on 1973 on fleet fuel efficiency. When the car companies collapse, give taxpayer money to those laid off, not to the senior management.

    American capitalism was the cause to the world-wide great depression in the 1930s. The G20 needs to change the system this time, not just bandage up a sick process.

    November 19, 2008 at 10:42 am |
  36. Mamta from NJ

    G20 reminds me of the quote that I read sometime back...
    " Meeting is gathering of important people who singly can do nothing but together can decide that Nothing can be done"

    November 19, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  37. Khalil Hamdani, Geneva

    G20 should be more than G7 plus 13. The DC Summit was a courtesy to outgoing President Bush but the next Summit in London in April 2009 should be a real G20 with the leaders of the seven countries of the South playing a role commensurate with their current economic clout.

    November 19, 2008 at 8:01 pm |
  38. Ronald H. Vineyard

    Have the guilty politicians got away with the biggest financial swindle of our time?

    Would Washington help out any other business, whose board of directors or leadership made the wrong decisions and "sank" the company? They wouldn't help me or any other small business. Even though we are talking about the automotive industry, its employment, and unionization, the industry has had several years to take heed and change the way that automobiles were produced and designed. They have made several bad decisions and I do not think that we, the taxpayers, should bail them out!!!! About the 710 billion bailout....it went to the wrong people. Why the people at the top of the ladder who caused this catastrophe? To really jumpstart the economy, that money should have been split as evenly as possible among all adults (18 years and above) and United States citizens. All the bailouts should not have happened it is simply a waste of our country's money. These are bad business decisions and the "leaders at the helm" should be held responsible and not given any type of bonus or golden parachute. They did not earn it. I do not think that the stockholers wanted this to happen. Because of GREED, everyone (I will go so far as to say world wide), has felt disbelief and hardship of our global economy. We need new, fresh economic leadership.

    November 19, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  39. Dan Sorokin, Moscow, Russia

    Dear Richard!
    First of all words of admiration and gratitude for the reports you are making on CNN: intelligent analysis and great artistic presentation! I especially liked the ones on “aviation cemetery” and “jongleurs in the economy” from the recent!
    One thing – lately I observed you being somewhat aggressive to your colleagues – I do not know how much this falls within the general guidelines of CNN… As on certain days it looks like you are making about half of the CNN show, I attribute it to overworking… Take a weekly vacation somewhere in the Maldives, and this will bring you peace:)

    This was off-record.

    Now to your blog.

    In my opinion, leaders of G20 failed to address the main issues the world business community expected them to address.
    They either do not understand what is happening or, as they presumably have competent advisors, are NOT WILLING to address the issues.
    Instead they were talking about preventing the future crises – but what to do about the current one? Or is this one already gone??! Amending international audit standards and other measures they propose now might be useful, but this is just like giving aspirin to a cancer sick, or actually like putting a more accurate speedometer to a car which falls into a precipice.

    FIRST, they did not tell us what they think to do with the US economy which is bankrupt on all levels: household, corporate, State and Federal. What they do about the financial pyramid which they build up with uncontrolled dollar emission during the last 30 years and which is about to collapse – supported only by foreigners seeking financial refuge and current administration – of course. Building a financial pyramid is a “white collar” crime for a citizen in the US – but the government will definitely not apologize for that – it was all about stimulating demand, after all:))

    SECOND, the international business has lost the MEASURE FOR VALUE, which for the last 50 years, at least, was the US dollar. People in business cannot pass contract without running substantial risk to see the contract currency easily decline some 40% during one year. So, the investors turned to the saving mood.
    The G20 tacitly supported the dollar system, but for the business community this is not the answer! The fear is ruling in the minds of businessmen, until a new internationally guaranteed measure of value, tied up to a group of currencies, and may be to gold, is created and floated on the currency exchange, like Ecu was quoted for about 10 years before it became Euro.
    Alternative, if the action is not taken IMMEDIATELY: multiple regional currencies will be created, like the Asian one, Arab one etc. Than our grand-children will return to talking about globalization process again. A pity – many people liked the advantages of globalization, including the G20 politicians But, I think, the national egoism will prevail.
    And, yeh, you add up a slow down in the scientific and industrial progress…

    THIRD, the problem, which was addressed, at least on a national level but not solved (not easy now!), is a loss of trust in between almost ALL the levels of the market. No one is sure that the other is gonna pay. That will take a few years to restore. We were told lies at all levels: politicians, rating agencies, auditors, banks, businesses. Result: even “conservative” investments are smoking these days.

    As long as these issues were not properly addressed while there was still time, there is an
    ACESSMENT:
    We are living the end of libertarian capitalism, which principles and practice were set to a large extent by R.Reagan an M.Thatcher (who will not apologize) and will soon witness the crash of capitalism system – to live just another PERESTROIKA, this time global. It will take years just to come on the down slope.

    The TURBO- capitalism ( I liked much the expression of Mr. Carl Olsen, Comment 35 on your blog) survived the Soviet Union just for 15 years or so. Now we have to regret it, because besides the material deprivations that it means ( Americans will do their best to export their problems outside of the USA), it will bring the erosion of certain “capitalist world freedoms” like personal matters privacy, financial privacy and even relative freedom of international travel, to which we got used during these short years of relative prosperity.

    The worst of the Russian–type socialism may re-emerge and become reality again in the “free world”. Brejnev is already smiling in his tumb, watching the Americans saving their industries. The laughing comes later.

    If you re-read the Declaration of G20, you will see that the top bureaucracy is already seizing the opportunity to go and globally crash the freedoms which seemed uncontested just ten years ago! As I am trying to stay short on your blog format, you dig your own illustrations.
    This is their true concern – to grab more power from the “unregulated” business and individuals! Watch normal businesspeople, who had nothing to do with the crash, be labeled, called and rated this coming year something close to terrorists and drug-traffickers, if not Somali pirates!

    That is the hypocrisy of the people who set up the system and run it, and for sure, Richard, you will hear no apologies from them.

    Still, this is not the worst – the Great Depression ended in WWII. Hope the politicians will limit themselves to local conflicts and “regional instability” this time.

    Are you still seeking apologies, Richard?

    November 20, 2008 at 1:24 am |
  40. Tan Boon Tee

    Like a crazy pendulum swinging out of control, the global stock markets had gone insane. Now that Dow dives below 8000 points (Nov. 19, 2008), Nikkei follows suit, and FTSE goes further south to near 4000 points, one wonders what will be next? Don’t even think about 2009.

    Did G20 achieve anything? Sadly, nothing much accomplished.
    Like most other international meetings of Head of states, the outcome does not add anything new to what people have not already known. At the moment, each nation has its own priority, more concerned with what it can do to calm its violent economic turbulence. More so, the heads are deeply preoccupied with their own worries and fears.

    Seemingly, the guilty politicians (plus financial gurus) do get themselves detached from the ugliest swindle of the century.
    (Tan Boon Tee)

    November 20, 2008 at 3:37 am |
  41. RT

    This economic mess and pure GREED are in part due to de-regulation. No good can come of the "fox watching the hen house" and I believe we are getting the "trickle down" effect from this de-regulation.
    Why is it that everyone in charge wants to blame the little consumer for not paying their mortgages that those in charge should NEVER have approved!? No cars being sold? World oil crisis (ie speculators) and financial meltdown. We were told we would help out Wall Street so they would start lending to Main Street – they've just kept all the money for themselves – to improve their balance sheets!
    As we continue this downward spiral in the economy it will once again become the haves and have nots – always the long term goal of those currently in power! They couldn't stand that they appear less superior when more average people have what they have.
    The US treasury has been raped and pillaged by the current administration and generations to come will be paying via a lower standard of living that we' haven't seen since the Great Depression. God help us all!

    November 20, 2008 at 4:02 am |
  42. Greg Atkinson

    I think the worlds markets have indicated that the G-20 meeting was essentially a waste of time. If the G-20 nations had done something proactive months ago we would not be watching things get worse now.

    Greg Atkinson
    http://www.shareswatch.com.au/blog

    November 20, 2008 at 7:05 am |
  43. Claudia R.

    I don't believe much was accomplished and if anything, this meeting seems more like a mirage to give the general public false hopes of an actual solution coming through from these so called leaders.

    It is with a growing disgust towards the greed of these leaders and their money-hungry greed, that I see no plausible solution that will actually benefit the average person anywhere in the world. If I, living in a G8 nation, am not faring too well, can we stop and seriously think about those people in developing or third world nations? Can we ever be humane enough to our own and stop this sick cycle of "ME ME ME"? We have greater issues but it seems like the world does go 'round because of money. Unfortunately for all of us, it is blood money.
    Blood spilled by the forgotten in the poorer nations, blood spilled by money (or oil driven) wars, and the money we make out of harming our own environment.
    These leaders and business people give a hoot about us. And we expect them to solve the problems they created? People, please, grow some common sense.

    November 20, 2008 at 7:48 am |
  44. Lorena Starcher

    Congress waisting their time concentrating on how auto executives arrived at a hearing deciding on the fate of the lives of millions of people is to me is childish and stupid.

    I was a middle manager at Ford until my retirement in 2002 and used the Ford Corporate jet to save money for the Company when I commuted to Louisville, KY to help launch new vehicles. I traveled in what was ususally a full jet of Product Engineers, Quality Engineers and others who had to be at the Plant to support production. Multiply that by all of the plants and people who had to be at the plants all over the world always seemed to me to be cost effective.

    I was really disappointed in Mitt Romneys assertion that Bankruptcy was a great option for car companies. I'm sure that the employees of the defunct American Motors Company that George Romney was president of in 1954 would not agree that bankruptcy was a great option. Nash rambler, Studebaker, Packard, Willys Overland, Studebaker and many other American Car Manufacturers could not re organize and were sold , plants closed and are no longer brands in America.

    I really cannot believe that the great economic pundits can say that losing 2 million jobs directly related to American Car Manufacturers by declaring bankruptcy would be a good thing. Yes we have Toyota, Honda, Mercedes, Hundai and some foreign parts manufacturers making cars and parts and employing American Workers at reduced cost and reduced benefits. All of those companies are subsidized by their countries and the profits from the sales of mostly imported cars go directly to those countries.

    So the Car Companies stop paying any retiree care costs and they have to get their pensions from the federal government.. Those retirees spend less and more companies go bankrupt and we have to pay more unemployment compensation and more federal pension benefits. I would like the Economists to explain to me how it will be easier to create new jobs that will alow employees to pay income tax to the Federal, State and Local governments.

    Like the older man from GM who was worried about the younger workers, I am worried about them and all of the workers and retirees in our nation. We really could have a global depression.

    November 20, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  45. carl

    What did Bush do this time to make the rest of the world leaders at the G20 give him the snub?I am curious but not sure I really want to hear what idiotic thing he has done this time.

    November 20, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  46. RON BISHOP

    I AM AGAINST THE AUTOMOTIVE BAILOUT. LET FREEMARKETS TAKE THEIR COURSE. BAD BUSINESS PRACTICES AND MANAGEMENT SHOULD NOT BE REWARDED. I'M STILL LOOKING AND EXPECTING CHANGE FROM OUR GOVERNMENT AS WAS PROMISED DURING THE ELECTION. ALL I HAVE SEEN SO FAR IS MORE OF THE SAME.

    WE TAX PAYERS ARE CONSISTENTLY BAILING OUT OUR GOVERNMENT FOR THEIR WASTEFUL SPENDING AND ARROGANTS TOWARD THE USE OF OUR TAX DOLLARS,

    WE GAVE OUR GOVERNMENT 700 BILLION DOLLARS TO SPEND AND NOW THEY CAN'T EVEN TELL US WERE IT'S GOING.

    AGAIN, I AM AGAINST THE BALLOUT, BUT AS I WATCH THE NEWS AND HEARINGS CONCERNING THIS MATTER, I SEE OUR CONGRESS AND SENATE CRITICS OF THE BALLOUT SPOUTING OFF ABOUT WASTEFUL SPENDING AND MISGUIDED PROJECTS OF THE AUTO INDUSTRY,, WHILE THEY ARE AS BAD, IF NOT WORSE WHEN IT COMES TO WASTEFUL SPENDING AND MISGUIDED PROJECTS.

    I FULLY EXPECT MORE OF THE SAME AND THE CHANGE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE VOTED FOR WILL NOT BE FORTHCOMING.

    OUR PROBLEM IS POLITICIANS RUNNING THE COUNTRY AND NOT TRUE MANAGERS OF THE TAXPAYERS DOLLORS. AS LONG AS POLITICS GOVERNS SPENDING, WE ARE DOOMED

    RON
    VERY DISATISFIED!!!!!!

    November 20, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  47. Jonathan in England

    Richard

    You are spot on about the causes of this crisis, that is, the leaders who set the regulatory framework over the last few years.

    Our (Britain's) idiotic leader Gordon Brown is trying to pin all the blame on the US sub prime crash but we will pin him down soon. He allowed banks to pile these CDOs on their balance sheets without any hesitation as it all helped to fuel the bubble of economic growth he was so eager to boast about.

    He has also borrowed like crazy (despite 16 years of consecutive economic growth in the UK for which he was chancellor for ten) and so there is no fiscal spare capacity for a fiscal stimulus. He has conveniently brushed over the phrase in the G20 declaration "for those who can" and is prepared to go ahead with this despite the fact that every sane person knows that this will destroy the pound and send interest rates spiralling.

    I really hope no one takes him seriously in the US. He is a laughing stock here.

    November 20, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  48. wid thompson

    Read Kevin Kleins book:: "A FALSE PROPHET" , he explains the 'new world order plans which have recently taken on the name game title of "global". This isn't an unplanned event, it is obviously no coincidence that Brown and Sarkozy were involved in finance control before becoming presidents. At the risk of being called paranoid I will say tha Nicolas Sarkozy fits the criteria of the Antichrist, even down to his Jewis ancestory traced back to the tribe of Dan. Time will tell if I am right or wrong. One thing is agreed upon by most Christian Ministers, we are near the end of the generation that will witness the second coming of CHRIST before our generation passes away. That generation is described in Revelation as when Israel is brough back together as a nation (1948 was the start of that time). Laugh if you want,, it will be no laughing matter when the Antichrist reveals himself and requires all to worship him as GOD or be put to death.

    November 20, 2008 at 6:03 pm |
  49. Jeffry Kuperus

    The G20 is a laugh and to do something about the financial turmoil we can not be worsed placed than in a democracy. What we need now is a strong knowledgable leader who has the mandate to take action he/she sees fit to solve it. One of his first actions should be to take away every cent (asset) from every CEO broker and manager who ever sold a single piece of subprime related product. This will give those who are now so badly affected (maybe even bankrupt) at least the feeling that the "crooks" will not get away with it and will restore at least some trust in the system.
    Future rewards for CEO's etc should only exist in payments from long term profits and not short term share rise. These profit shares should only be paid out after e.g. 5 years if the company is still profitable
    I have numerous other ideas but that would make this email to long.
    If president elect Obama is interested he can mail me on his blackberry

    Rgds

    Jeffry

    November 21, 2008 at 12:22 am |
  50. Bayani Topacio

    To whom it may concern:
    I have a clear explanation for what is happening with all the 'bailouts'. As a special education teacher and now a foreign language teacher, I have always taught the "principle of natural consequences" to my students, whether learning disabled or not. Apparently, American company CEO's missed that lecture in economics class! I, for one, am against 'bailouts' for everyone. Already we as a country have enabled people to make excuses for why they are not responsible for their behaviors, by constantly bailing them out of sticky situations, it seems to be the national pastime now...do not even get me started on schools; people and companies need to live and manage their buisnesses within their means and deal with the consequences of bad decision making. Many Americans and American companies have acted greedily and are/were living beyond their means, and the economic troubles of today, are a result of those irresponsible actions and bad decisions. I say, you reep what you sow.
    How about spending all that bailout money on the newly unemployed by extending and offering tax free unemployment benefits, to those who have paid into the system, instead of providing billions of dollars to companies who have given unbelieveable bonuses to CEO's and executives and made such extraordinary profits in the last few years? How is it that the government can talk about 'bailouts' when for the past two decades, government has repeatedly stated the the Social Security System is bound for failure? Who is going to bail me out?
    I am not counting on it. I am planning for my retirement and living with means, by using my paltry teacher's salary frugally and teaching America's future to live with the natural consequences of the choices they make, bad and good.
    Sincerely,
    Mr. Bayani Topacio

    November 21, 2008 at 4:32 am |
  51. Uma in Liverpool, UK

    If Congress does not help the US Auto Industry, that will be IT. That is The Tipping Point. The radiatiating domino effect, worldwide, will be so catastrophic, that it might just put an end to all this witless opining, by passersby who can't change the situation.

    I feel as though I am standing on the pavement with binoculars, shouting up at a group of construction-workers, somewhere above the 100th floor, Don't DO that!! You'll bring the BUILDING down. I can't move my feet, to get out of the way, because I have this morbid compulsion to try to stop them, though I know the building will collapse, with me (and all the other passers-by, and tenants of the lower stories) in the rubble.

    Contrary to a smug posting by a chap who calls himself Darwin, we are not all responsible for this. In fact, the vast majority of people in the world have never heard of a 'stock market'. The vast majority of people in the world are poorer than I can imagine, and I live in England, on Benefits, which is to say hand-to-mouth, and day-to-day.

    I have never (and would never) gamble money. I haven't trusted the Stock Market, since before I understood it. I was raised not to buy anything I could not afford. My mother uses a debit card. My late father had a Diner's Club - which is not a credit card. You only buy what you can afford.

    Both my parents are from poor countries, from an era when the only 'moneylenders' were loansharks. Those poor countries are still largely poor, in largely poor to absolutely desperate Continents. Those people do not know 'greed'. They know splitting half a cup of rice four ways, so everyone survives.

    Blame yourself, by all means, Darwin, but do not blame me. Don't blame Africa. Don't blame most of India. Don't blame the world's poor, nor those who are actually responsible about money, for the misdeeds of the rich, which are only going to make the poor more numerous, and the rich... perhaps they'll jump out of buildings, or perhaps they'll get on the bread-lines with everyone else.

    November 21, 2008 at 4:41 am |
  52. Uma in Liverpool, UK

    Honestly, Mr Quest, I don't know whether anyone can 'do anything', at this point.

    With a recalcitrant lame-duck US President, a US Congress that is not going to help the big three Automotive Corporations, - mind you, I don't blame them for not wanting to help them, they're all the bad things folk have said, and then some - such that they may very well be history by year's end...

    With Japan's economy tanking... Actually, everyone's economy is tanking. There is nothing to hang onto. There is no security.

    If all the rich, greedy gits all over the world, dumped the contents of their Swiss Bank accounts, and Cayman Island accounts, and bonuses, and perqs, and freebies, and everything they have, over and above $500,000USD/yr (which is still very comfortably well off!), into the IMF (or some Wealth-Redistribution Mechanism)... including Russian Oligarchs, Indian Cricket-Team Owners, Business Billionaires, Sport Stars, Rock Stars, Supermodels, Shipping Magnates, Monarchs (and I'm a fan of the Monarchy, but sorry yer Maj, times is 'ard), Oil Billionaires, Clintons, Kennedys, Rockefellers, DuPonts, Cadburys, Lords & Ladies who've got something left... I mean all, and somebody counts up all the wealth that has just been sitting around, generating more wealth, but not circulating, and then every factory is made worker-owned, and infrastructure maintenance is made JOB 1 in the USA...

    If we had tatties, we could have tatties and eggs, if we had eggs.

    I resent those people whose money sits there, making money for them. I realise that is how it is possible for me to receive Benefits. I'm not doing it at poolside, in Dubai!

    November 21, 2008 at 5:05 am |
  53. Milton Sosa

    im sorry for the big 3 thay should be ashamed asking for a 25 billion dollar bailout . I am a us postal service employee . I sufered a industrial accident in 2006 and havent recieved no kind of compensation . I applyed for disabilty retirment and social security and havent recieved a cent I am a family man about to go insane my only income comes from food stamps .and your asking for a bailout .You should have seen your situation coming and taken mesures to aviod what you forsee .bankruptcy. why should the american people pay for your golden life styles.

    November 21, 2008 at 11:23 pm |
  54. Reader

    Who has consistently refused to regulate the investment market? Wasn't it Bush being pushed to do so in Germany just a year ago or so and refusing it until it was too late? The ones to blame first sit in the US, the one to pay, again, is the developing world!

    November 22, 2008 at 3:13 am |
  55. C in DC

    I don't think the answer to the financial crisis is to create another diplomatic entity to deal specifically with the crisis. It would have been best to just call it a conference. If there is a proliferation of international bodies on every issue, it will be difficult to accomplish anything. That being said, whether this meeting accomplished anything, it is too soon to tell. Reforms take time, and creating international governing systems also take time. I think the G20 did recognize the issues that have be dealt with and possible international solutions for prevention and regulations. These are, once again, international solutions, so it may be a while until we see any positive economic movement domestically. And Domestically, every country at the G20 has its own problems, that each leader must address separately. I think that is what should be the immediate focus on for the time being because in the end nothing will come out of reforms if the most developed countries and leaders of the G20 are not able to stabilize their own economies.

    November 23, 2008 at 8:41 pm |
  56. Troy

    The tipping point for the recession has come and gone months ago, what the G20 is doing now is trying to stop is the depression. The big bailaout for the financial sector stabalized the banks balance sheets but did nothing to get the real economy moving, just as another bailout for consumers will fail for the same reason, and that is that every person or company wants to be standing when the perfect storm passes. In other words just as the banks kept the bailout money so will the consumers, which in turn means that the money used for these bailouts will in the end will only slow the process but not stop it. Countrys will then see themselves with no further room for manouver as the traditional buyers of debt i.e. China, Japan, Middle East, would be hard pressed to buy more. The end result would be that the bailouts would only serve to bankrupt the country and its citizens.

    My advice, Keep the money,let the greedy fall by the wayside and use the money to only prop up important industry, to support the wokers loosing their jobs, invest in education, technology and renewable energy and infrustructure projects, make accounting and investments both transparent and simple.

    In my veiw this will be the only way that anybody will come out of this ready to meet the chalenges ahead. Sure it would require a lot of pain and collective resposability, but in the end was this not produced by collective irrisposability and greed?

    November 23, 2008 at 11:23 pm |
  57. Tom in Wisconsin

    How can so many smart people be so dumb. Don't give the billions to the banks and auto manufactorers. Give it to the people. Then put a value added tax on goods so the money goes back to the government. People would spend spend spend. Ourr economy would recover faster than all the tinkering the governments can do.

    November 25, 2008 at 12:19 am |
  58. Elaine Wickham

    It is logical that the CEOs of AIG and Citibank did such a poor job in running their companies, as would be done in any corporation, they should be fired and replaced with close scrutiny by our people who are bailing them out.

    November 26, 2008 at 1:36 pm |
  59. bigjoerice

    The real villains in the piece are the auditing firms that these companies used, who clearly rubber stamped the annual reports they signed off as accurate and reasonable, when not even hindsight can show it to be the case.

    When you consider how much they were paid for this service which government, investors, and the marketplace needed for checks and balances, people should be demanding their CEO heads on platters as much as the companies they audited.

    If you want a Mea Culpa, the audit companies and their ilk should be first in the long and lengthening line of sinners.

    December 5, 2008 at 8:44 pm |
  60. Tony Joseph

    Great capitalism does not override nationalism. The government has to put its "country/people first". Cheap goods from China and cheap L1/H1b workers from India are one of the root causes of down turn. If greedy corporatist wants to make huge profit by ditching USA then they should be regulated within the limits by law. Otherwise they should lose the chance of business in USA. So they will have the option and country has its option, is that too hard :-). The H1B and L1 visa pools are widely misused to get cheap labor and to have better control on the labor force. H1b and L1 visa is the lifeline for American corporate sweatshops in India. These sweat shops are very flexible, operates 24/7 and cheap down to earth. Recently Microsoft chairman Bill Gates advocating for more H1B to get 'talent' but it was purely for cheap technical labor and smooth functioning of its sweatshop in India. He denied it and claims all the migrants in his company gets more than 100000.00. But recent statistics from immigration dept reveals that average salary of green card applicant from Microsoft is below 45000. Remember they will be working for at least 5 years in US to apply Green Card. So its baseless if they say figure is the salary of an entry level Job. So US Govt. should stand by for its long term plans for its citizens. Not for its grass hopping corporations. Who knows corporate barons will dump US and buy huge land somewhere abroad and start their own country for more profitable operations

    December 6, 2008 at 7:29 am |
  61. JEANIE

    President elect Obama should make sure that any money going to mayors like Villaragosa in Los Angeles should INSURE that American citizens recieve those jobs. The job market in Los Angeles severely discriminates against english speaking tax paying citizens even when language would should not be a requirement deterent. I know of a job with the school district within the fiance department required that the applicant be spanish speaking. There are directors of parent centers that speak spanish only. We bear the cost of providing spansh speakers with opportunities. This trend has increased during Mayor Villaragosa's administration. We now need to require English speakers are treated fairly.

    December 8, 2008 at 6:43 pm |
  62. Jo Scannell

    John Jade (blog above: Dec. 3, 2008 2105 GMT) hit on the head what seems to me the big point: “Did they (Detroit) not see the Volkswagon Bug or the Japanese trouble-free Honda and Subaru?” - Add Toyota!

    Green, schmeen; TROUBLE-FREE!!

    I bought two consecutive Detroit cars, new, in the early 80’s that spent a lot of time in the shop (part of which was NEVER fixed). When I didn’t get a US Medal of Valor, I bought a used Toyota.

    Detroit could close 80-90% of their over-staffed dealers (and their expensive service departments) and THEN talk about innovation.

    December 10, 2008 at 7:10 pm |
  63. Barend Andrew Steyn

    Even to a World Economy ignoramus, like me, the recent / current financial disaster that the G20 caused is just another example of how a few political morons can manipulate events to create more excuses for their 'get- togethers' and planning more ways of trying to make themselves stay in power. Jo Scannell's last comment is very relevant to G20 countries.

    January 7, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  64. button_to new

    What words... super

    P.S. Please review our icons for Windows and windows13icons.

    September 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  65. Best icon make for W8

    Trifles!

    September 27, 2012 at 1:55 am |

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