[OPE] Sarkozy/Blair symposium on the new capitalism

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Thu Jan 08 2009 - 16:49:46 EST

The Sarkozy/Blair two-day economic symposium "New World, New Capitalism"
on 8-9 January 2009 was downgraded from a real "summit" to a
philosophical gathering because rather few world leaders showed interest
in attending. In addition to Mr Sarkozy, Mr Blair and Mrs Merkel,
Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was present however, as well as
many prominent social conscience-type liberal wonks from many countries,
including Prof. Amartya Sen and Prof. Joseph Stiglitz, WTO head Pascal
Lamy and the ECB's Jean-Claude Trichet. It is a state-of-the-art
liberal-progressive conference, and you can can watch the videos on the


Speaking at the conference, the European Competition Commissioner Neelie
Kroes (from the Netherlands) said "global rules" on government aid to
companies would be "helpful." "A closer network of competition systems
is slowly emerging after decades of work," she said.

Working from the (rather useless) press reports, Mr Sarkozy and Mrs
Merkel called for the "moralization" of the global capitalist system,
which they said needed to be re-examined by governments before the G20
summit in London in April.


The destruction of capitalism would be catastrophic, but the system had
to undergo an overhaul to stay viable, Mr Sarkozy said at the opening.
He said modern-day capitalism based on speculation had been "perverted"
and was "an immoral system". A new role should be created for
governments and moral values. "Either we re-found capitalism or we
destroy it," Mr Sarkozy said as he called for an economic system based
on the value of work rather than on finance. "Purely financial
capitalism has perverted the logic of capitalism," he said. "Financial
capitalism is a system of irresponsibility and ... is amoral. It is a
system where the logic of the market excuses everything."

Mr Sarkozy said the structure of a new system of regulation should be
agreed on before April's G20 summit in London, implying that the EU
would set the agenda. Mr Sarkozy and Mrs Merkel urged the US not to
stand in the way of tighter controls on world financial markets. "I've
always in my political life been a supporter of a close alliance with
the United States but let's be clear: in the 21st century, a single
nation can no longer say what we must do or what we must think," Mr
Sarkozy said. "We'll take our decisions on April 2 in London," he
added. "Perhaps the United States will join us in this change. I hope so
with all my heart because a new president will bring his intelligence,
dynamism and his open mind and we will change the world with the United
States. "But we will not accept the status quo, we will not accept


Mrs Merkel said: "No country can act alone in this day and age ... even
the United States, however powerful they may be." She called for the
establishment of a "charter for a long-term reasonable economy" similar
to the UN Charter on human rights. "Our response (to the economic
crisis) must be more than a few rules," Mrs Merkel said. "The crisis is
an opportunity to create an international architecture of institutions."
Mrs Merkel argued the International Monetary Fund could not regulate
global capitalism, and she called for the creation of a new
international economic authority to judge government policy. "It is
possible that alongside the (UN) Security Council, we could also have an
economic council that would have a different role from ECOSOC," Mrs
Merkel said, referring to the United Nations Economic and Social
Council. She singled out the US budget deficit and China's current
account surplus as bones of contention, and also called on politicians
to remain firm even after the crisis has been resolved. "There is a
risk that when everything is functioning normally again that the
financial institutions will tell politicians not to meddle," she
cautioned. "We must remain determined." Ms Merkel told the conference
that she would "react very strongly" if the financial community tried to
block government efforts to tighten regulation. "We must not repeat the
mistakes of the past," she said.


Mr Tony Blair, one of the co-sponsors of the symposium with Mr Sarkozy,
told participants in French that investment patterns must be changed.
"This economic crisis is the biggest, most complex, most delicate
economic challenge of our lifetime. It is the most tricky intellectual
challenge of any kind I have ever encountered and it is still evolving,"
Mr Blair said. "What is plain is that the financial system has altered
in its fundamentals and can never be the same again. "What is
unavoidable in the longer term is a recasting of the system of
international supervision. "We must invest in the future," Mr Blair
said, calling for funds to be put into renewable energy, science,
innovation and education. Mr Blair blamed financial speculators for
encouraging a system fueled on debt. He called financial capitalism
based on speculation "an immoral system" that has "perverted the logic
of capitalism." "It's a system where wealth goes to the wealthy, where
work is devalued, where production is devalued, where entrepreneurial
spirit is devalued," he said. "In capitalism of the 21st century, there
is room for the state," he said. Mr Blair called for a new financial
order based on "values other than the maximum short-term profit.". "The
greatest entrepreneur I had the chance to meet was passionate about what
he had created, not what he had accumulated," he said.

when will those clouds all disappear?
where will it lead us from here?
With no loving in our souls and no money in our coats
You can't say we're satisfied
But Angie, Angie, you cant say we never tried


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Received on Thu Jan 8 16:51:51 2009

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