"We've got two goals in the G20", US President Barack Obama said of the approaching London summit of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 of the world's largest national economies plus the European Union. "The first is to revive the capitalist system and the second is to agree on new regulations to save capitalism from itself."
Okay, I made up that second sentence. What Obama really said (which means the same thing) was:
"The first is to make sure there is concerted action around the globe to jumpstart the economy. The second goal is to make sure that we are moving forward on a regulatory reform agenda."
Over fancy meals and fine wines, in a grand mansion nestled in the green hills of West Sussex, the G20 finance ministers will meet to work out how many trillions they can cough up to save capitalism and, perhaps, they will even agree on some form of financial re-regulation.
When G20 came to Melbourne in 2006 it was heralded as the G20 summit that would make poverty history. Remember that? The rich countries could not even agree to raise their contributions to overseas aid to 0.7% of national wealth by 2015 — the modest request from NGOs like Oxfam and others in the Make Poverty History campaign.
Indeed, over the two days of the 2006 summit, it was estimated that more than 50,000 children died from poverty-related causes; 2800 women needlessly died in pregnancy or childbirth; and more than 16,000 people died as a result of HIV and AIDS.
The World Bank has reported that the poorest economies in the world will have their national incomes slugged by between US$270 billion and$700 billion this year because of falling prices for their exports (remember that the rich countries, through the IMF and World Bank, have forced the poor countries to make their economies export-oriented) due to the global capitalist economic crisis.
The World Food Program says it will need $6 billion this year, $1 billion more than in 2008. So far, it's only raised 10% of that.
Sonni Efron explained in a column in the March 12 Los Angeles Times:
"In slums and shacks around the world, hunger is gnawing again as job opportunities shrink but food prices do not. Global cereal prices are 71% higher than they were in 2005, according to the International Monetary Fund, but the wages of many workers are falling.
"This is a disaster for the bottom billion, the one out of six humans living on less than $2 a day. But as always, the poor have a problem getting our attention — especially when the rich have lost half their wealth."
G20 finance ministers don't even blink at the horrors of world poverty, but watch them jump through hoops to defend capitalist profits.
This week some of our readers will be receiving their latest instalment of the Australian government's stimulus package for capitalism.
We are asking readers to divert this stimulus away from the capitalist system that does not deserve to be rescued and use it instead to stimulate the movement to get rid of capitalism and replace it with a society based on solidarity, cooperation and environmental sustainability.
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