Punch in the Streets, Not in the Suites
Posted on: Monday, September 28, 2009
By Laura Flanders, MADRE Board Member
The G20 summit wrapped up in Pittsburgh Friday with pledges but little punch. Except in the streets.
On climate change, world leaders vowed "strong action" and on the economy, "balanced economic growth." The summit endorsed granting more voting rights at the IMF and World Bank to ‘underrepresented' countries like CHINA. With a billion people and the world's second largest economy - China may budge up from having 3.6% of all votes.
Underrepresented booming countries may get a bigger voice in global finance. Nice. But under-represented people? Well there's the rub.
Around 200 people were arrested during the two-day Pittsburgh summit. Heavy policing seems to be the only plan world leaders have come up with for shutting reality out.
Reality, for those in the streets, not the suites, of the world, is a whole new economy - way more than a downturn - and the prospect of long-term, possibly permanent, unemployment.
Read the papers, and the stats are all there. In the US, job seekers now outnumber job openings six to one. Official unemployment stands at 9.7 percent, its highest level in 26 years. If you're a teenager, it's over 25 percent. No reason there to shun protest for fear of ruining your job prospects, they're grim and only getting grimmer. That's if radicals like Paul Craig Roberts, a former officer of the Reagan Administration, are to be believed.
If measured according to the methodology used when he was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Roberts says "the unemployment rate today in the US is above 20%. Moreover, there is no obvious way of reducing it."
Consumer spending - the engine that drove 70% of the US economy and by extension much of the world's - isn't coming back. And that's just the way it's going to be, President Obama's chief economic adviser Larry Summers told the BBC (my sister, actually) in Pittsburgh.
"The US can't, shouldn't and won't continue to experience the consumption-led growth of the past few years." said Summers. And the world - and we - should just adjust...
The message is pledge-on! Endorse "strong action" on climate and "balanced growth." But all those poor people out of work? They'll just have to adjust.
While banks are doling out cash by the millions to kill any new regulation of Wall St. (which clearly has its heart set on making another buck off all that poverty...), there is one part of the economy that seems actually to be getting stimulated: Policing. If ever civil society finds a voice and decides actually to wield it, they'll be ready. How else to reign in reality, for lawd's sake?
Originally posted on GRITtv.
Archives"Press Room" Home February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 July 2006 June 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 April 2005 March 2005 November 2004 October 2004 April 2004 March 2004 January 2004 December 2003 October 2003 September 2003 June 2003 April 2003 January 2003 September 2002 June 2002 January 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 January 2001
Kat Noel, Website & Media Coordinator
PHONE: +1 212 627 0444
MADRE & Our Partners Make News
Haiti: the neoliberal model imposed on the country is failing its citizens (The Guardian, February 5, 2014)
Human rights group slams Iraq over treatment of women in prison (Miami Herald, February 2, 2014)
New Ways to Evaluate Impact (Stanford Social Innovation Review, January 24, 2014)
Poverty, Homelessness and Gender Violence Remains High Four Years After Earthquake (Uprising Radio , January 17, 2014)
Empowering Haiti's rape survivors (CNN, January 14, 2014)