[OPE] Patrick B on Global Financial Crisis (short press release)

From: Gerald Levy <jerry_levy@verizon.net>
Date: Sat Oct 11 2008 - 14:05:48 EDT

News Release
Global Financial Crisis
 October 10, 2008
 The G-7, International Monetary Fund and World Bank are meeting this
 weekend. On a short visit to the U.S., Bond is based in South Africa,
 where he is professor of development studies and director of the Center
 for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and has long
 scrutinized these institutions.
 Bond said today: "The global economy's vast financial sector expansion
 has occurred in the context of productive sector stagnation which dates
 back more than three decades.

"Thus far, since the early 1980s, the management of the crisis has
 increased the leading power brokers' capacity to 'devalue' large parts
 of the Third World, including major emerging market sites like South
 Africa -- as well as to write down selected financially volatile and
 vulnerable markets in the North (e.g. dot.com and real estate bubbles).
 In contrast to the early 1930s, this set of partial write-downs has not
 yet created such generalized panic and crisis contagion as to threaten
 the entire system's integrity. Shifting and stalling the crisis over the
 past decades has meant allowing idle capital to bubble up into
 speculative markets, and has also increased extra-economic coercion (the
 way Naomi Klein describes in her book 'The Shock Doctrine').
"The result is a world economy that concentrates wealth and poverty in
 more extreme ways, geographically, and brings markets and the non-market
 spheres of society and nature together in a manner adverse to the
 latter. Reform of the system is long overdue, but is hampered by severe
 bias in multilateral financial and development agencies, amounting to a
 neoliberal-neoconservative fusion. No 'global governance' initiatives
 appear to be succeeding, either with respect to financial imbalances,
 trade, United Nations reform, climate control or other crucial
 global-scale problems.
 "Moreover, there is constrained space and political will at national
 level in most states, requiring much more aggressive civil society
 activism, such as the email/phone swarm that intimidated the U.S. House
 of Representatives from approving Paulson's initial bailout.
 "In short, what this means is an urgent need for U.S. citizens to:
 a) transcend U.S.-centric understandings of the financial meltdown,
 especially those based on superficial epiphenomena (corruption,
 deregulation, greed, fraud, consumer overindebtedness);
b) think more deeply about the problems building in the U.S.-led world
 markets, going back several decades;
c) look realistically at the limited ability of world institutions --
 e.g. the Bretton Woods Institutions [IMF and World Bank] having their
 annual meetings in Washington this weekend -- to solve problems, given
 the adverse power balance and self-interested leadership;
d) consider whether any national state -- even the U.S. under an Obama
 administration -- will have the scope to generate solutions given how
 deep and wide the crisis has become; and
e) instead support various creative initiatives of civil society groups
 across the U.S. and the world, who have made history under similar
 circumstances of crisis and renewed social activism."
 Bond is author of the recent paper "The U.S. financial meltdown: What
 really happened? Roots of the economic crisis in overaccumulation,
 financialization and 'global apartheid.'" A Power Point presentation of
 his work is available here. Bond was formerly a Pacifica Radio economics
 correspondent and Washington correspondent for American Public Media's
 "Marketplace." He studied at Swarthmore, the Wharton School of Finance
 and Johns Hopkins and wrote more than a dozen public policies for Nelson
 Mandela's first democratic South African government. Bond's recently
 authored and edited books include "Looting Africa: The Economics of
 Exploitation," "Talk Left, Walk Right" and "Against Global Apartheid:
 South Africa meets the World Bank, IMF and International Finance."
 For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

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