Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009: Ordo Ab Chao?

This would seem to be the hope of Europe's leadership, that out of financial crisis comes the opportunity to forge a new global regime of financial governance.

Exhibit A: December 8

Ten Downing Street: Response to Global Financial Crisis

Some quotable quotes at their approximate time-stamps...

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown sketches the plan:
1:00 “we want to discuss how gov’t & business can work together…”
1:45 “to build the technological and environmental infrastructure of the 21st century”

Outgoing EU Council President Sarkozy says Europe will take the lead:
4:10 “we need to act in strong, speedy & coordinated terms”
5:15 “the credibility of these changes rests upon Europe’s determination to implement change in terms of world governance, economic governance…”

EU Commision President Barroso on the usefulness of crisis:
6:20 “there was a consensus [with business leaders] that for an unprecedented crisis we need an unprecedented level of ambition”
8:15 “in times of crisis we can make people accept some higher level of change”

Ah, but how sure are they of their grasp of the situation? Crisis may be useful, but collapse is another matter. 2008 was crisis, but as many prognosticators forebode, 2009 could be complete meltdown, bringing a period of chaos the likes of which we have only had fortastes in Iceland and in Greece, with predictions of Weimar-style worldwide hyperinflation, civil unrest & martial law in the USA, to the brink of a tumult unheard of since the American Revolution, only this time engulfing the world...

Are these European leaders really so confident they can tame this beast? At the Dec. 8 meeting, there was something of a white elephant in the room, namely the absence of a German representative.

9:30 “there seems to be a schism between Britain/France and Germany…”
Sarkosy responds in part saying:
10:55 “you have to imagine new ways of responding to a crisis that looks like none other. Now obviously you have to believe! and get others to believe with you”

Yes, well that seems to be a challenge with Andrea Merkel and her Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck, who are taking a skeptical view of the measures Britain for instance has been using in shoring up its financial institutions:

Steinbrueck went as far as to dub the British government's use of heavy borrowing to boost its economy as "breathtaking" and "crass Keynesianism," referring to 20th century British economist John Maynard Keynes who advocated governments should spend their way out of recession.

Exhibit B: December 12

The second prong of a global governance regime: the environment. Again, Europe takes the lead...

European Heads of State Have A Message For Obama On Climate Change

Alexander......Caesar.....Napoleon....Victoria......Hitler..... are we once again at the brink of an European attempt to take....
This Time the World!

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