G20, expected to be dud, instead rewrites rules of international finance


The G20 meeting this week will be viewed as epochal. One era, that of deregulation, has ended, and a new era with much stricter international regulation is beginning. Plus the US is no longer the sole predominant power and the beginnings of a world currency and banking system can be glimpsed. Sounds like a game changer to me.

This must have been planned for weeks, as there was no real arguments or protests. The specter of worldwide depression was the spur for change, and big change we shall have.


Global leaders took their biggest steps yet toward a new world order that’s less U.S.-centric with a more heavily regulated financial industry and a greater role for international institutions and emerging markets.

French President Nicholas Sarkozy said turned the page on the Anglo-Saxon model of free markets by placing stricter limits on hedge funds and other financiers. The leaders also pledged to triple the resources of the International Monetary Fund and to hand China and other developing economies a greater say in the management of the world economy.

“This is a major step forward and a reversal of the ideology of the 1990s, and at a very official level, a rejection of the ideas pushed by the U.S. and others,” said Stiglitz, an economics professor at Columbia University. “It’s a historic moment when the world came together and said we were wrong to push deregulation.”

Ding, dong, the neocons are dead. And so are the Randians and the bizarre belief, so popular with the Bushies, that a deregulated market will magically shower prosperity on us all while it polices itself. Right, that sure worked out well, didn’t it?

Have the G20 saved capitalism?

So whilst the global recession is far from over, the complete collapse of capitalism – ruefully predicted by free market ideologues and gleefully predicted by anti-capitalists and socialists – looks to have been averted.

Never underestimate the ability of capitalism to reinvent itself overnight, morphing into something else. Which is something the Left, I’m afraid, has trouble doing.

Objectively, conditions have never been as ripe in the West for the propagation of socialist ideas and a radical alternative to capitalism as they are now. Sadly, however, the crucial subjective factor in the form of a united, coherent socialist organisation required to press the cause of socialism effectively and forcefully does not yet exist.

That Saul Alinsky quote I found and posted yesterday really got me thinking. The Left, especially the socialist Left, persists in thinking that they must organize among the working class because, well, Marx said that’s where revolution must come out of. But in his day, the class differences were obvious. Factory workers. Owners. It was real clear.

But it’s not nearly so clear now. Besides, leaders of revolutions historically come from the upper middle and upper classes, not from workers. So, Marx was wrong. And Saul Alinsky was right. Here’s that quote again.

Alinsky advises his followers that the poor have no power and that the real target is the middle class: “Organization for action will now and in the decade ahead center upon America’s white middle class. That is where the power is. … Our rebels have contemptuously rejected the values and the way of life of the middle class. They have stigmatized it as materialistic, decadent, bourgeois, degenerate, imperialistic, war-mongering, brutalized and corrupt. They are right; but we must begin from where we are if we are to build power for change, and the power and the people are in the middle class majority.”

So, if you really want to change the country, then the middle class must be organized. Win them over and the rest is easy. Ignore or vilify them, as the Left too often does, then you remain on the fringe and politically powerless.

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  • In the recent Canadian elections (ok, end of last year) I had problems with all political parties, regardless of their spot on the spectrum. My problem with the NDP (left)? Clinging to dated ideology in favor of recognizing the current reality and attempting to realistically deal with the problems.

    Their entire platform revolved around railing against ‘big business.’ Their ‘solutions’ completely disregarded the realities of the current economic system. Pure ostrich. Their motivations certainly had merit. Their strategy did not.


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